Research Methods | Psychometrics
Interaction | Organisational
Psychology | Psychology
The role of affect (emotion) in the workplace
The role of
emotion in the workplace has been overlooked until recent times (but
see Hochschild, 1983). However there is increasing evidence that
emotion plays a fundamental role in important features of workplace
literature (see Peters, Vastfjall, Garling & Slovic (2006) for
a good start point) indicates that we have (at least) two independent
channels for processing decision-making tasks: a 'cold', logical
channel, which tends to be fact based and relatively slow, and a 'hot'
, affect-based channel, which is available relatively quickly, and
which we tend to think of as leading to irrational decisions. However
there is evidence that this second channel may not be entirely
irrational: affect may be a result of past learning about similar
circumstances or products, and therefore be informative. Equally, the
two 'hot' and 'cold' channels interact: we take both rational and
affect information into account.
also some evidence (e.g. Connolly & Butler, 2006; Montague &
Berns, 2004) that affect is the link beween choosing amongst dissimilar
items (e.g. making comparisons between three different types of
vehicle: there may be good factual reasons to choose one over the other
two, but in the end part of the coice may boil down to which vehicle
you 'liked to sit in' most).
influences how we communicate with one another! Evidence suggests that
affect can have either a positive or negative effect on interpersonal
interactions, depending on specific situationally specific factors
(e.g. Forgas 1995). Forgas (2002) suggests that affect plays a
crucial and instrumental role on relationship behaviour, group
behaviour and organisational behaviour.
effects of affect on productivity are not well established, however
indirect effects, such as those of motivation, organisational
commitment, the effects of organisational culture are present in the
literature, and from our own experience.
in the workplace -whether that is anger, frustration, distraction, or
other emotions that detract from the task at hand, are costly to the
organisation. The most common reason cited for people to leave their
job is related to the behaviour of their boss.
positive workplaces have less turnover, higher levels of organisational
commitment and more examples of citizenship (see Podsakoff, Whiting,
Podsakoff & Blume, 2009 for a meta-analysis of the relationship
between citizenship and productivity).
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