February 19, 2014

Emotions – OB Perspective

Organizational Behavior Article Series

Emotions have received some attention in organization behavior literature.
Neal M. Ashkanasy et al., Emotions in the Workplace: Research, theory and Practice, Quorum, West Port, 2000.
Richard P. Bagozzi, “Positive and Negative Emotions”, in K.S Cameroon et al., Positive Organizational Scholarship, Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, 2003, pp. 241-258.

The best description of emotion would be how a person feels about something.
Emotions are reactions to an object. They are not traits. They are object specific.

Types of Emotions

Positive Emotions:  Love/affection, Happiness/joy,  Surprise
Negative Emotions: Fear, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, Shame

Emotions can be shown as a continuum.

Happiness - Surprise - Fear - Anger - Disgust.

Emotional Labor

Some employees have to put in emotional labor as they have to control their emotions in the presence of provocation and show the behavior that is expected from them because of the job they are performing.
Emotion labor has dysfunctional consequences for the employees doing it (e.g., stress and burnout) [Luthans, 2005]. Some companies try to hire only those with very positive personalities. They tend to express genuine positive emotions instead of positive emotion which is result of emotional labor.

Recently emotional intelligence became a popular concept. The topic ‘emotions’ is now part of OB texts as emotional intelligence emerged as an important concept in OB.

Emotional Intelligence

Peter Salovey and John Mayer are usually given credit for developing the theory and definition of emotional intelligence first. Salovey and Mayor defined emotional intelligence as "the subset of social intelligence that involves ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions.

Daniel Goleman, the author of "Emotional Intelligence" explains emotional intelligence as "the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships."
Goleman classified this emotional intelligence and skill into two components: one component is related to self and the other component is related to dealing with others.
In the component dealing with self, the stages are self-awareness,self-management and self motivation. In the component dealing with others the stages are empathy and social skills.

Goleman makes the positive statement that emotional intelligence and competence continues to develop and grow. In a study, if was found that, measured EI of college students increased in a range of 50 to 300 percent after a course designed to enhance their EI.

EI helps people to get along with others and also to manage themselves in highs and lows of life. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is some longitudinal research indicating EI to be a better predictor of life success than IQ.

Luthans, Fred (2005), Organizational Behavior, 10th Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York

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