New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Neal M. Ashkanasy and Cary L. Cooper
Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolﬀ* Introduction Work tasks are assigned to teams when team member information sharing and interaction are necessary for optimal performance. Many factors can inﬂuence the quality of team member information sharing and interaction – one of the most elusive is emotion. In fact, every interaction between and among team members produces emotion (Kemper, 2000). Moreover, within the team context, this emotion is contagious; it instantly and unconsciously spreads among team members and aﬀects subsequent team dynamics (Barsade, 2002; Sy et al., 2005). For the past ﬁve decades, researchers have been showing that emotion inﬂuences the quality of group interactions, the motivation of team members, and team performance (Homans, 1950; Boyd, 1964; Edmondson, 1999; Kelly, 2004). However, research and theory have seldom addressed how to turn emotion into an asset for a team. The primary focus of group theorists has been aimed at guarding against the negative aspects of emotion such as destructive conﬂict. In the 1970s and 1980s, group theorists argued that emotion should be managed by reducing the amount of member interaction during team decision-making processes (Delbecq et al., 1975) and through the use of strategies such as structuring discussion principles or appointing a ‘devil’s advocate’, that is, a person whose mission was to provide the negative feedback or raise the diﬃcult issues so that members would not fear having to disappoint or anger the group (ibid.; Janis, 1982). While these strategies are eﬀective at muting emotion in...
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