Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Antecedents and Consequences of Emotions at Workplace: A Review and Research Agenda

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Antecedents and Consequences of Emotions at Workplace: A Review and Research Agenda

Article excerpt

Emotions act as an interface between environmental stimuli and behavioral output. Emotional states directly influence performance-relevant behaviors and cognitive processes, which in turn influence performance. An individual in an organization exhibits effective behavior if the individual is in right emotional state. The process of emotion regulation shows the way in which emotions influence performance in organizations. Emotions are defined as discrete, functional, bio-social action and expression systems in human beings (Fischer, Shaver, & Camochan, 1990). Emotions result in a sequence of events involving core affect, appropriate behavior with respect to the emotional stimuli, and emotional experience (Russell & Barrett, 1999). In the organizational context, Ashkanasy, Hartel, and Zerbe (2000) have defined emotions in terms of endogenous and exogenous inputs to neural systems, leading to internal and external manifestations of emotion. The internal manifestations of emotion include the subjective feelings experienced by the individual when subjected to emotion-eliciting stimulus, which the individual cognitively interprets. The external manifestations of emotion include facial expressions and posture. Importantly, it is the external manifestations of emotion that are subject to interpretation both by the individual affected and by others in the environment. As per Affective Events Theory (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996), emotional states at workplace are determined by the occurrence of discrete work events, especially the everyday problems and uplifts that everybody experience in their working lives. Basch and Fisher (2000) have demonstrated that employees experience almost the full range of emotions in their workplace, together with emotions that are specific to their work environment. They have also demonstrated that emotions in the workplace are tied to specific work events. The discrete emotions approach has identified basic or primary emotions, including joy, love, anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and surprise, each with a unique set of prototypical antecedents and consequences (Ekman, 1992).

Studies suggest that positive emotional state is associated with positive outcomes in organizations, including better job satisfaction (Connolly & Viswesvaran, 2000), less turnover (Shaw, 1999), more helping behaviors (Williams & Shiaw, 1999), and improved performance (Cropanzano & Wright, 2001). The dominant hypothesis about employee emotions is that happy workers ought to be productive workers (Staw, Bell, & Clausen, 1986). Affect is critical to explaining outcomes that concern managers in organizations. It has effects on performance, decision making, turnover, pro-social behavior, negotiation and conflict resolution behavior, and group dynamics. Affect permeates virtually every aspect of organizational life, even those areas that have been traditionally thought of as the exclusive province of cognitive behavior, such as decision making and task performance. When employees are unhappy, it shows in organizational behavior, because unhappy people are disconnected from their work (Frost, 2003).

It is believed that synthesizing various individual-level, group-level and organization-level variables through a model would be the logical step to understand their complex relationships with emotions in workplace. In this section, the theoretical underpinnings of the proposed model have been developed. For this purpose, an extensive literature review has been done to identify variables and the relationships among the variables. A conceptual framework has been developed incorporating all the variables. Abrief description of these variables and their relationships are given below.

Individual level antecedent factors

Social relations: Bourdieu (1997) states that social capital is the sum of the resources that accrue to an individual or a group by virtue of possessing a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition. …

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