Table of Contents

Research Companion to Emotion in Organizations

Research Companion to Emotion in Organizations

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Neal M. Ashkanasy and Cary L. Cooper

This Companion brings together many leading scholars to address a wide range of topics in 38 chapters, across five levels of organizational analysis – including within-person, between-person (individual differences), relationships, groups, and the organization as a whole. Chapters tackle structure and measurement of emotion, antecedents and consequences of positive and negative emotions, including effects on work satisfaction and performance. The expression, recognition, and regulation of emotion and the propagation of mood and emotion in groups are also dealt with. The Companion explores contemporary issues including leadership, organizational climate and culture, as well as organizational change.

Chapter 16: Emotion Scripts in Organizations: A Multi-level Model

Donald E. Gibson

Subjects: business and management, organisational behaviour


Donald E. Gibson Introduction A paradox of emotions is that they are simultaneously in our control and out of our control. ‘In our control’ implies that emotions tend to follow particular patterns and are thus amenable to prediction and regulation; ‘out of our control’ suggests that they are idiosyncratic, difficult-to-predict states. Experientially, this paradox is seen in the fact that strong feelings of anger may elude our control, but even in a fury we rarely break our most precious objects (Frijda, 1988). Our theorizing about emotion also illustrates this paradox. Emotions have been conceived as interruptions (Mandler, 1985), as ineffable bodily states (James, 1884), and as largely automatic responses out of our conscious control (Damasio, 1994; Bargh & Chartrand, 1999), yet emotions also follow predictable patterns, even ‘laws’ (Frijda, 1988), and current theories now focus on emotion regulation, emphasizing how commonplace emotion control is in daily life (see Gross, 1998). It is my contention that this in-control/out-of-control paradox can be fruitfully examined by conceiving of emotions as scripted responses. Emotions exhibit a script-like structure. They are seen, experientially (by laypeople) and conceptually (by researchers) as sequences of events based on an if–then goal-directed logic. At the same time, social norms, individual differences, and differing contexts produce infinite variations in these scripts. Thus, the existence of scripts suggests that control is possible, but variation sets limits on that control. This chapter examines emotional experience and expression from the perspective of script theory. I present a model...

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