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Qian Yi Lee, Keith Townsend, Ashlea Troth and Rebecca Loudoun

All employees have a role or even multiple roles to play and in recent decades role theory has assisted a better understanding of how and why people behave in certain ways at work. In addition, their work role may potentially hold various ‘sub-roles’. This chapter explores the development of role theory as it pertains to organizational experiences for employees. Role theory literature in the workplace context is centred around some key concepts including role clarity, role conflict, role ambiguity, and role overload. Looking at the opportunities offered by role theory to address the guiding questions central to this chapter, the authors show that role theory helps understand the many and varied roles that employees play inside and outside the workplace and how interpretations and expectations around these roles influence individual and workplace outcomes.

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Kathryn E. Moura, Peter J. Jordan and Ashlea C. Troth

Anger is a common emotion at work. Although the major focus of research on anger has been on individuals expressing anger, a new stream of research is emerging which examines the reactions of individuals targeted by anger. The aim of our study is to identify the attributions and emotion regulation strategies of receivers (targets and observers) of anger expressions in the workplace. A total of thirty participants from the medical, mining, banking, legal and manufacturing sectors in Australia were interviewed about their experiences of encountering anger expressed at work. The main attributions given for sender anger were associated with sender anger frequency and its appropriateness. The principal emotion regulation strategies reported for dealing with anger expressions by receivers were four: situation selection, cognitive reappraisal, suppression, and expression strategies. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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Ashlea C. Troth, Peter J. Jordan and Kristie M. Westerlaken

Emotions trigger and result from conflict in the workplace. In this chapter, we consider the emotional nature of conflict with a specific focus on the emotion-related constructs of emotional intelligence and emotional regulation within dyads and groups. Taking a contingency-based approach, we present a model showing the moderating effect of emotional intelligence on the conflict–outcome relationship and subsequent mediation by emotional regulation strategies. The conflict-outcome moderated (COM) model informs the series of testable propositions we present. We also consider the impact of an organization’s display rules regarding the expected emotional expressions of employees. We argue that, although emotional intelligence typically strengthens the positive effects of task conflict and weakens the negative effects of relationship and process conflict on emergent and performance outcomes, these relationships are dependent on the strategic intent of employees.