Social Functions of Emotion and Talking About Emotion at Work


Social Functions of Emotion and Talking About Emotion at Work

9781786434876 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Dirk Lindebaum, Professor in Management and Organisation, Grenoble Ecole de Management, France, Deanna Geddes, Professor in HRM, Fox School of Business, Temple University, US and Peter J. Jordan, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Australia
Publication Date: 2018 ISBN: 978 1 78643 487 6 Extent: 272 pp
What novel theoretical insights can be gleaned by comparing our theoretical understanding of emotion in relation to how we 'talk about’ emotion at work? Drawing from psychological and sociological thinking, leading emotion researchers respond to this question for ten common and powerful emotions at work. The chapters detail various conditions under which our study of emotions and our talk about them can be at odds or reinforce each other in organizations, and how these differences impact subsequent consequences for organizations and their members.

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Despite how much we know about emotion, Social Functions of Emotion and Talking About Emotion at Work uniquely examines the utility of emotion in organizations against the ways in which both individuals and groups talk about them. Drawing on psychological and sociological research, this book provides groundbreaking insights for understanding how emotions are used in the workplace.

Bringing together contributions from leading emotion researchers, this book features chapters focusing on 10 emotions, ranging from awe to shame. Through its exploration of the ways each emotion functions in relation to how we talk about them, this book injects fresh theoretical and practical momentum into how our discussions of workplace emotion can affect how emotional events are appraised over time and place. This, in turn influences the causes, expressions, and consequences of emotions in the workplace.

With its novel approach, this book will be an invaluable tool for academics researching emotion, as well as postgraduate students working in the social sciences seeking reference material on emotion. HR managers and general readers seeking greater insight into emotions at work will also find this book to be a useful tool.
Critical Acclaim
‘With its range of emotions studied, this book would be a valuable resource when discussing organizational behavior, leadership, management, workplace emotions, negotiation, and motivation, to name a few applications.’
– Academy of Management Learning and Education

‘This is a very important book that helps to fill a serious gap in the OB/Organizational Psychology literature on emotions. The editors have assembled a stellar collection of contributors and each and every chapter is worth studying. As a whole, the volume points to the social functions of discrete emotions and the way those emotions are communicated in work settings. Beyond that, the theme of the collection reminds us that the appropriate unit of analysis for human behavior is always people actively engaging with the world, including the social world.’
– Howard M. Weiss, Georgia Institute of Technology, US

‘Do emotions exist without words? Animals clearly feel and communicate emotions. But people, with their ability to speak, are much more eloquent in their emotions. People really “do” emotions, in large part, by talking about them. Work on emotional labor, in the 1980’s brought awareness of emotions as integral to organizational roles. This new set of essays, collected and edited by Dirk Lindebaum, Deanna Geddes and Peter Jordan, pushes forward the understanding that talking about emotion at work is integral to the social influence of emotion. Talking is integral to attributions and emotion regulation strategies of receivers (targets and observers) of anger expressions in the workplace. The discussed illegitimacy of talking about certain feelings – boredom, envy, fear, pride – means these feelings remain repressed and misreported. The essays are provocative, presenting functional and dysfunctional aspects to the norms of talking (or not talking) about emotional experiences. The book is stimulating in the discussion of emotions that are less obvious to organizational research, such as awe, boredom, and fear. And it provides new insights on more commonly discussed emotions, with a historical perspective on happiness and a functional analysis of sadness. Warmly recommended reading, as stimulation for new research, and as a window into one’s own emotional discourse, and its social implications.’
– Anat Rafaeli, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

‘Emotions are a powerful force in social and organizational life, not just through their effects on the self but also through their effects on others. Building on the fast-growing literature on the social effects of emotions, this book draws attention to the under-explored question of how the (dys)functionality of emotions in the workplace is shaped by how people think and talk about emotions. The diverse contributions collected in this volume illustrate the important notion that organizational norms and discourses profoundly influence the interpretation of emotion-eliciting events, emotional experience, emotion regulation, and the interpersonal dynamics of emotions at work. This original and intellectually stimulating book underlines the inherently social constitution of emotion and opens up important new avenues of research.’
– Gerben A. van Kleef, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Contributors: N.M. Ashkanasy, R.A. Baron, S. Connelly, M.T. Dasborough, C.D. Fisher, D. Geddes, P. Harvey, M.L.A. Hayward, P.J. Jordan, S.A. Kiffin-Petersen, H.C. Lench, D. Lindebaum, K.E. Moura, K.A. Perez, R.H. Smith, R.K. Smith, P.N. Stearns, A.C. Troth, M.R. Turner, K.L. Tyran, T.S.H. Wingenbach


1. Theoretical advances around social functions of emotion and talking about emotion at work
Dirk Lindebaum, Deanna Geddes and Peter J. Jordan

2. Inside Out: A Receiver’s Experience of Anger in the Workplace
Kathryn E. Moura, Peter J. Jordan and Ashlea C. Troth

3. Benefits of Awe in the Workplace
Kenneth A. Perez and Heather C. Lench

4. Boredom at Work: What, Why, and What Then?
Cynthia D. Fisher

5. Shaping Benign and Malicious Envy in Organizations
Rosanna K. Smith, Tanja S. H. Wingenbach and Richard H. Smith

6. Functional and Dysfunctional Fear at Work: Dual Perspectives
Shane Connelly and Megan R. Turner

7. Happiness at Work: a tension in contemporary history
Peter N. Stearns

8. Employee Pride and Hubris
Mathew L. A. Hayward, Neal M. Ashkanasy and Robert A. Baron

9. The Deeper Side of Sadness at Work: Why Being Sad is Not Always Bad
Kristi Lewis Tyran

10. Talking About Schadenfreude: Sharing Versus the Social Function
Paul Harvey and Marie T. Dasborough

11. Ashamed of Your Shame? How Discrepancy Self-Talk and Social Discourse Influence Individual Shame at Work
Sandra A. Kiffin-Petersen

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