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 37: An Identity-based View of Emotional Ambivalence and its Management in Organizations

Lu Wang and Michael G. Pratt

Subjects: business and management, organisational behaviour


Lu Wang and Michael G. Pratt* I am very ambivalent about Wal-Mart. On the one hand, I recognize that they are not paying a livable wage. On the other hand, I have to recognize their business efficiency and their ability to drive down prices.1 Introduction Although many characterizations of employee attachment to organizations have tended to describe the individual–organization bond in terms of positive (e.g., affective commitment, identification, loyalty) or negative (e.g., low engagement, alienation) affect-laden terms, recent research suggests that the bond between employees and their organizations is often characterized by emotional ambivalence (Meyerson & Scully, 1995; Pratt & Doucet, 2000; Pratt & Rosa, 2003). Some might even argue that competing forces are at the heart of the individual–organizational relationship: employees want to satisfy their own needs, but also often need to subjugate these same needs for the good of the organization (e.g., Stewart, 1996; Magretta, 2002). Thus, the central aim of aligning individual and organizational interests may involve attempts to manage ambivalence. Notwithstanding these basic pressures, ambivalent attachments are likely to only become more common in the coming years. Such increases are likely to stem from emerging organizational practices and intensifying needs from employees. First, as the composition of groups comprising an organization’s internal and external constituencies become increasingly diverse, organizations may attempt to be ‘more things to more people’. The company in the epigraph is a good example. Central to how Wal-Mart defines itself is its aim to be a ‘low-cost provider’ that...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information