(Emotion at Work Place)
CONTROLLING YOUR FEELINGS... BEFORE THEY CONTROL YOU
Shri Anil Anand Pathak
Associate Professor, Organizational Behavior Submitted By:
Management Development Institute Dhrubaji Mandal
Although the experience of work is saturated with emotion, research has generally neglected the impact
of everyday emotions on organizational life. Further, organizational scholars and practitioners
frequently appear to assume that emotionality is the antithesis of rationality and, thus, frequently hold a
pejorative view of emotion. This has led to four institutionalized mechanisms for regulating the
experience and expression of emotion in the workplace: (1) neutralizing, (2) buffering, (3) prescribing,
and (4) normalizing emotion. In contrast to this perspective, we argue that emotionality and rationality
are interpenetrated, emotions are an integral and inseparable part of organizational life, and emotions
are often functional for the organization. This argument is illustrated by applications to motivation,
leadership, and group dynamics.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Emotion ............................................................................ 3
The role of emotions .............................................................................. 4
Positive & Negative emotions ...................................................................... 4
Emotion in the Workplace ..............................……………………………… 7
Types of Emotion..................................................................................... 8
Emotion, Attitude, AND Behavior .......................................................... 9
How emotions influence attitudes and behavior............................................ 10
Emotional Labor ............................................................................. 11
Organizations requiring high Emotional Labour ..........…………………. 12
Emotional Dissonance................................... …………………………. … 13
Emotional Intelligence ................................. …………………………….. . 14
How to raise your emotional intelligence............................................... 14
Job Satisfaction and It Impact On Employee Emotion ....... ……………. 16
Conclusion and References .................................................................. 17
Introduction to Emotion
What Are Emotions?
Emotions are intense feelings that are directed at someone or something
In psychology and philosophy, emotion is a subjective, conscious experience that is characterized
primarily by psychophysiological expressions, biological reactions, and mental states. Emotion is often
associated and considered reciprocally influential with mood, temperament, personality, disposition,
and motivation,  as well as influenced by hormones and neurotransmitters such as
dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin, oxytocin, cortisol and GABA. Emotion is often the driving force
behind motivation, positive or negative. An alternative definition of emotion is a "positive or negative
experience that is associated with a particular pattern of physiological activity.
“Emotions normally are associated with specific events or occurrences and are intense enough to
disrupt thought processes.” Moods on the other hand, are more “generalized feelings or states that are
not typically identified with a particular stimulus and not sufficiently intense to interrupt ongoing
thought processes”. There can be many consequences for allowing negative emotions to affect your
general attitude or mood at work. “Emotions and emotion management is a prominent feature of
organizational life. It is crucial “to create a publicly observable and desirable emotional display as a part
of a job role.
The role of Emotions
Emotions play such a big role in our lives that there are more than 600 words in English to
describe them verbally, not to mention 43 facial muscles to express them physically. And
although human beings speak more than 6,000 languages, about 90 percent of people across
different cultures have no trouble figuring out if someone is registering happiness, surprise, or
disgust just by looking at the person’s face. We are supersensitive to the slightest shift in
people’s facial expressions, especially if they are registering fear or anger. We are not slaves to
emotional cues and triggers. We can use reason to evaluate our emotions, interpret them, and
even reassess our initial reaction to them. We can soften their impact or shift their meaning. In
other words, we can control our own emotions as well as the effect that other people’s emotions
have on us. In fact, the ability to detect, assess, and control one’s emotions is one of the
predictors of success in relating to the other.
So, somewhat paradoxically, connecting with the other depends on developing a deep
understanding of ourselves — what triggers our strongest emotions, and how the emotions we
show impact others. For example, an executive who understands that looming deadlines bring
out the worse in her won’t schedule an important meeting if she has work piling up. A manager
who knows that talking about certain subjects tends to get him angry will think twice before
reacting to an opinion that would normally set him off
Positive & Negative Emotions
Positive emotions at work such as high achievement and excitement have “desirable effect
independent of a person's relationships with others, including greater task activity, persistence and
enhanced cognitive function. “Strong positive emotions of emotionally intelligent people [include]
optimism, positive mood, self-efficacy, and emotional resilience to persevere under adverse
circumstances. “Optimism rests on the premise that failure is not inherent in the individual; it may be
attributed to circumstances that may be changed with a refocusing of effort
Negative emotions at work can be formed by “work overload, lack of rewards, and social relations which
appear to be the most stressful work-related factors”. “Cynicism is a negative affective reaction to
the organization. Cynics feel contempt, distress, shame, and even disgust when they reflect upon their
organizations” (Abraham, 1999). Negative emotions are caused by “a range of workplace issues,
including aggression, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, computer flaming, blogging, assertiveness
training, grapevines, and non-verbal behavior
Graphical view For Positive & Negative emotions
Positive Moods are Highest
At the End of the Week
In the Middle Part of the Day
Negative Moods are Highest
At the Beginning of the Week
And show little variation throughout the day
EMOTIONS IN THE WORKPLACE
Emotions have a profound effect on almost everything we do in the workplace. This is a strong
statement, and one that you would rarely find a decade ago in organizational behavior research or
textbooks. For most of its history, the field of OB assumed that a person’s thoughts and actions are
governed primarily by con- scions reasoning (called cognitions). Yet, groundbreaking neuroscience
discoveries have revealed that our perceptions, decisions, and behavior are influenced by both cognition
and emotion, and that the latter often has the greater influence. By ignoring emotionality, many
theories have overlooked a large piece of the puzzle about human behavior in the workplace.
Today, OB scholars and their colleagues in marketing, economics, and many other social sciences,
are catching up by making emotions a key part of their research and theories.2 so, what are emotions?
Emotions are physiological, behavioral, and psychological episodes experienced toward an object,
person, or event that create a state of readiness. There are four key elements of this definition.
First, emotions are brief events or “episodes.” Your irritation with a customer, for instance, would
typically subside within a few minutes.
Second, emotions are directed toward someone or something. We experience joy, fear, anger, and
other emotional episodes toward tasks, customers, public speeches we present, a soft- ware program
we are using, and so on. These contrasts with moods, which are less intense emotional states that
are not directed toward anything in particular.
Third, emotions are experiences. They represent changes in a person’s physiological conditions, such as
blood pressure, heart rate, and perspiration, as well as changes in behavior, such as facial expression,
voice tone, and eye movement. These emotional reactions are involuntary and often occur without our
awareness. When aware of these responses, we also develop feelings (worry, fear, boredom) that
further mark the emotional experience.
The experience of emotion also relates to the fourth element, namely, that emotions put people in a
state of readiness. When we get worried, for example, our heart rate and blood pressure increase to
make our body better prepared to engage in fight or flight. Emotions are also communications to our
conscious selves. Some emotions (e.g., anger, surprise, fear) are particularly strong “triggers” that
interrupt our train of thought, demand our attention, and generate the motivation to take action. They
make us aware of events that may affect our survival and well-being
TYPES OF EMOTIONS
Emotions play such a big role in our lives that there are more than 600 words in English to describe them
verbally, not to mention 43 facial muscles to express them physically. And although human beings speak
more than 6,000 languages, about 90 percent of people across different cultures have no trouble
figuring out if someone is registering happiness, surprise, or disgust just by looking at the person’s face.
We are supersensitive to the slightest shift in people’s facial expressions, especially if they are
registering fear or anger.
We are not slaves to emotional cues and triggers. We can use reason to evaluate our emotions,
interpret them, and even reassess our initial reaction to them. We can soften their impact or shift their
meaning. In other words, we can control our own emotions as well as the effect that other people’s
emotions have on us. In fact, the ability to detect, assess, and control one’s emotions is one of the
predictors of success in relating to the other. So, somewhat paradoxically, connecting with the other
depends on developing a deep understanding of ourselves — what triggers our strongest emotions, and
how the emotions we show impact others.
For example, an executive who understands that looming deadlines bring out the worse in her won’t
schedule an important meeting if she has work piling up. A manager who knows that talking about
certain subjects tends to get him angry will think twice before reacting to an opinion that would
normally set him off.
EMOTIONS, ATTITUDES, AND BEHAVIOUR
Emotions influence our thoughts and behavior, but to explain this effect we first need to know about
attitudes. Attitudes represent the cluster of beliefs, assessed feelings, and behavioral intentions toward
a person, object, or event (called an attitude object).7 Attitudes are judgments, whereas emotions are
experiences. In other words, attitudes involve conscious logical reasoning, whereas emotions operate as
events, often without our awareness. We also experience most emotions briefly, whereas our attitude
toward someone or something is more stable over time. Attitudes include three components—beliefs,
feelings, and behavioral intentions— and we’ll look at each of them using attitude toward mergers as an
Beliefs—these are your established perceptions about the attitude object—what you believe to be
true. For example, you might believe that mergers reduce job security for employees in the merged
firms. Or you might believe that mergers increase the company’s competitiveness in this era of
globalization. These beliefs are perceived facts that you acquire from past experience and other forms of
Feelings—Feelings represent your positive or negative evaluations of the attitude object. Some people
think mergers are good; others think they are bad. You’re like or dislike of mergers represents your
assessed feelings toward the attitude object.
Behavioral intentions—these represent your motivation to engage in a particular behavior with
respect to the attitude object. You might plan to quit rather than stay with the company during the
merger. Alternatively, you might intend to email the company CEO to say that this merger was a good
How emotions influence attitudes and behavior
The cognitive model has dominated attitude research for decades, yet we now know that it only partially
describes what really happens. According to neuroscience research, incoming information from our
senses is routed to the emotional center as well as the cognitive (logical reasoning) center of our
brain.10 We have already described the logical reasoning process, depicted on the left side of Exhibit
More specifically, the emotional center quickly and imprecisely evaluates whether the incoming
sensory information supports or threatens our innate drives, then attaches emotional markers to the
information. These are not calculated feelings; they are automatic and unconscious emotional responses
based on very thin slices of sensory information. Returning to our previous example, you might
experience excitement, worry, nervousness, or happiness upon learning that your company intends to
merge with a competitor.
.The influence of both logical reasoning and emotions on attitudes is most apparent when they disagree
with each other. Everyone occasionally experiences this mental tug-of-war, sensing that something isn’t
right even though they can’t think of any logical reason to be concerned. This conflicting experience
indicates that our logical analysis of the situation can’t identify reasons to support the automatic
emotional reaction should we pay attention to our emotional response or our logical analysis? This
question is not easy to answer because, as we just learned, the emotional and rational processes
interact with each other so closely. However, some studies indicate that while executives tend to make
quick decisions based on their gut feelings (emotional response), the best decisions tend to occur when
executives spend time logically evaluating the situation. Thus, we should pay attention to both the
cognitive and emotional side of the attitude model, and hope they agree with each other most of the
Emotional labor is a form of emotion regulation that creates a publicly visible facial and bodily display.
While emotion work happens within the private sphere, emotional labor is emotional management
within the workforce that creates a situation in which the emotion management by workers can be
exchanged in the marketplace.
Example professions that require emotional labor are: nurses, doctors, waiting staff, and television
actors However, as the U.S. economy moves from a manufacturing to a service-based economy, many
more workers in a variety of occupational fields are expected to manage their emotions according to
employer demands when compared to sixty years Ago.
Emotional labor is emotion management within the workplace according to employer expectations.
According to Hoch child (1983), the emotion management by employers creates a situation in which this
emotion management can be exchanged in the marketplace. Jobs involving emotional labor is defined as
1. Require face-to-face or voice-to-voice contact with the public.
2. Require the worker to produce an emotional state in another person.
3. Allow the employer, through training and supervision, to exercise a degree of control over the
emotional activities of employees
Organizations requiring high Emotional Labor
Every day, we demand that people display emotions they’re not feeling. Studies indicate that
emotional labor jobs require the worker to produce an emotional state in another person. For example,
flight attendants are encouraged to create good cheer in passengers and bill collectors promote anxiety
in debtors. Research on emotional contagion has shown that exposure to an individual expressing
positive or negative emotions can produce a corresponding change in the emotional state of the
observer. Accordingly, a recent study reveals that employees' display of positive emotions is indeed
positively related to customers' positive affect.
Positive affective display in service interactions, such as smiling and conveying friendliness, are
positively associated with important customer outcomes, such as intention to return, intention to
recommend a store to others, and perception of overall service quality. There is evidence that
emotion labor may lead to employee's emotional exhaustion and burnout over time, and may also
reduce employee's job satisfaction. That is, higher degree of using emotion regulation on the job is
related to higher levels of employees' emotional exhaustion, and lower levels of employees' job
There is empirical evidence that higher levels of emotional labor demands are not uniformly rewarded
with higher wages. Rather, the reward is dependent on the level of general cognitive demands required
by the job. That is, occupations with high cognitive demands evidence wage returns with increasing
emotional labor demands; whereas occupations low in cognitive demands evidence a wage "penalty"
with increasing emotional labor demand
Emotional labour can be challenging for most of us because it is difficult to conceal true emotions and to
display the emotions required by the job. The main problem is that joy, sadness, worry and other
emotions automatically activate a complex set of facial muscles that are difficult to prevent, and equally
difficult to fake. Our true emotions tend to reveal themselves as subtle gestures, usually without our
awareness. Meanwhile, pretending to be cheerful or concerned is difficult because several specific facial
muscles and body positions must be coordinated. More often than not, observers see when we are
faking and sense that we feel a different emotion.
Along with the challenges of hiding and displaying emotions, emotional labour often creates a conflict
between required and true emotions, called emotional dissonance. The larger the conflict between the
required and true emotions, the more employees tends to experience stress, job burnout, and
psychological separation from self (i.e., work alienation). These negative outcomes of emotional
dissonance occur when engaging in surface acting—modifying behavior to be consistent with required
emotions but continuing to hold different internal feelings. Deep acting, on the other hand, involves
changing true emotions to match the required emotions. Rather than feeling irritated by a particular
customer, you might view the difficult person as an opportunity to test your sales skills.
This change in perspective can potentially generate more positive emotions next time you meet that
difficult customer, who produces friendlier displays of emotion.30 Along with teaching employees how
to apply deep acting, companies minimize emotional dissonance by hiring people with a natural
tendency to display desired emotions.
For example, when Domino Pizza opens new stores, it looks for job applicants with a “happy, cheery”
attitude. The American restaurant franchise believes that it is easier to teach new skills than attitudes.
“We hire for attitude and train for skill,” says one of Cacti’s franchisees. In some respects, this also
means that Domino and other companies look for people with well-developed emotional intelligence.
The ability to express and control our own emotions is important, but so is our ability to understand,
interpret, and respond to the emotions of others. Imagine a world where you couldn't understand when
a friend was feeling sad or when a co-worker was angry. Psychologists refer to this ability as emotional
intelligence, and some experts even suggest that it can be more important than IQ. Learn more about
exactly what emotional intelligence is, how it works, and how it is measured.
Since 1990, Peter Salvoes and John D. Mayer have been the leading researchers on emotional
intelligence. In their influential article "Emotional Intelligence," they defined emotional intelligence as,
"the subset of social intelligence that involves the 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
Salvoes and Mayer proposed a model that identified four different factors of emotional intelligence: the
perception of emotion, the ability reason using emotions, the ability to understand emotion and the
ability to manage emotions.
Perceiving Emotions: The first step in understanding emotions is to accurately perceive them. In many
cases, this might involve understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.
Reasoning With Emotions: The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive
activity. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we respond emotionally to things
that garner our attention.
Understanding Emotions: The emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. If
someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of their anger and what it
might mean. For example, if your boss is acting angry, it might mean that he is dissatisfied with your
work; or it could be because he got a speeding ticket on his way to work that morning or that he's been
fighting with his wife.
Managing Emotions: The ability to manage emotions effectively is a key part of emotional intelligence.
Regulating emotions, responding appropriately and responding to the emotions of others are all
important aspect of emotional management.
According to Salvoes and Mayer, the four branches of their model are, "arranged from more basic
psychological processes to higher, more psychologically integrated processes. For example, the lowest
level branch concerns the (relatively) simple abilities of perceiving and expressing emotion. In contrast,
the highest level branch concerns the conscious, reflective regulation of emotion
How to raise your Emotional Intelligence
All information to the brain comes through our senses, and when this information is overwhelmingly
stressful or emotional, instinct will take over and our ability to act will be limited to the flight, fight, or
freeze response. Therefore, to have access to the wide range of choices and the ability to make good
decisions, we need to be able to bring our emotions into balance at will.
Memory is also strongly linked to emotion. By learning to use the emotional part of your brain as well as
the rational, you’ll not only expand your range of choices when it comes to responding to a new event,
but you’ll also factor emotional memory into your decision-making process. This will help prevent you
from continually repeating earlier mistakes.
To improve your emotional intelligence—and your decision-making abilities—you need to understand
and control the emotional side of your brain. This is done by developing five key skills. By mastering the
first two skills, you’ll find skills three, four, and five much easier to learn. Developing emotional
intelligence through five key skills:
Emotional intelligence (EQ) consists of five key skills, each building on the last:
The ability to quickly reduce stress
The ability to recognize and manage your emotions
The ability to connect with others using nonverbal communication
The ability to use humor and play to deal with challenges
The ability to resolve conflicts positively and with confidence
Job Satisfaction and It Impact On Employee Emotion
Job satisfaction, which is probably the most studied attitude in organizational behavior, represents a
person’s evaluation of his or her job and work context it is an appraisal of the perceived job
characteristics, work environment, and emotional experiences at work. Satisfied employees have a
favorable evaluation of their job, based on their observations and emotional experiences. Job
satisfaction is really a collection of attitudes and Emotion about different aspects of the job and work
An employee is critically affected by their behaviors in the workplace. An employee’s emotions and
overall temperament have a significant impact on his job performance, decision making skills, team
spirit, and leadership and turnover. What employees feel and how they express their emotions affects
their performance. Emotions directly influence decision making, creativity and interpersonal relations.
This research study analyzes the effects of emotions on employees’ job performance and investigates
the relationship between anger, interest, and trust of an individual in the work place with job
performance. Results showed that emotions in the workplace were considered important in relation to
employees’ well-being and job satisfaction only. Anger often leads to aggressions towards colleagues
while sadness leads to dissatisfaction with the job. An emotion like anger, interest trust is not
instantaneous, nor is it prolonged like a mood; rather emotion is a brief episode of synchronized
changes in mind and body which directly affects the employee’s performance.
Job satisfaction is how content an individual is with his or her job. Scholars and human resource
professionals generally make a distinction between affective job satisfaction  and cognitive job
satisfaction. Affective job satisfaction is the extent of pleasurable emotional feelings individuals have
about their jobs overall, and is different to cognitive job satisfaction which is the extent of individuals’
satisfaction with particular facets of their jobs, such as pay, pension arrangements, working hours, and
numerous other aspects of their jobs..
Conclusion & References:
Emotions are physiological, behavioral, and psycho- logical episodes experienced toward an object,
person, or event that create a state of readiness. Emotions are typically organized into a bipolar circle
based on their pleasantness and activation. Emotions differ from attitudes, which represent the cluster of
beliefs, feelings, and behavioral intentions toward a person, object, or event. Beliefs are a person’s
established perceptions about the attitude object. Feelings are positive or negative evaluations of the
Behavioral intentions represent a motivation to engage in a particular behavior with respect to the target.
Attitudes have traditionally been described as a process in which we logically calculate our feelings
toward the attitude object based on an analysis of our beliefs. Thus, beliefs predict feelings, which predict
behavioral intentions, which predict behavior. But this traditional perspective overlooks the role of
emotions, which have an important influence on attitudes and behavior. Emotions typically form before
we think through situations, so they influence this rational attitude formation process.
The extent to which we are expected to hide or reveal our true emotions in public depends to some
extent on the culture in which we live. Emotional labour can be challenging for most of us because it is
difficult to conceal true emotions and to display the emotions required by the job. It also creates
emotional dissonance when required and true emotions are incompatible with each other.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive and express emotion, assimilate emotion in thought,
under- stand and reason with emotion, and regulate emotion in oneself and others. This concept includes
four components arranged in a hierarchy: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and
relationship management. Emotional intelligence can be learned to some extent, particularly through
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D.R Caruso ”Emotional Intelligence “
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