Social Functions of Emotion and Talking About Emotion at Work
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Social Functions of Emotion and Talking About Emotion at Work

Edited by Dirk Lindebaum, Deanna Geddes and Peter J. Jordan

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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Chapter 6: Functional and dysfunctional fear at work: dual perspectives

Shane Connelly and Megan R. Turner

Abstract

Fear is a powerful emotion that seems incompatible with effective functioning and well-being in organizations. This assumption bears out in the relatively small amount of existing research on fear in the workplace and a general unwillingness to talk openly about fear at work. Despite any reluctance or attempts at avoiding discussions of fear at work, this basic human emotion has been adaptive in helping people escape, avoid, and face a wide range of threats. Additionally, given the persistent presence of fear in organizations due to the nature of some occupational work, affective events, and organizational climate, it is important to have a broader understanding of where it comes from, its effects, and its outcomes. This chapter explores dual perspectives on fear in the workplace, considering organizational research on functional and dysfunctional experiences and outcomes associated with this emotion. Fear has important implications for emotional well-being, social interactions, and performance, requiring employees and leaders to better understand fear by creating more dialogue about how to regulate and manage it.

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