Processes of Emotion and Stress in the Workplace

Processes of Emotion and
Stress in the Workplace
Thinking and Feeling
Emotion in the Workplace
 Traditional Approach
 Human Resources / Human Relations
 Organizational life is typically governed by
logic and rationality
 Since the 1990s, more attention has been
paid to emotion in the workplace.
– Stress and Burnout
Emotion in the West
 Privilege of rationality
– Need to “think on your feet”
– Cost-benefit analysis
– “Keep emotion out of it”
– Scientific Method
 Separate spaces for emotional expression
Feeling at Work
 Individual experience
– Emotional Labor
– Stress & Burnout
 Relational experience
Individual Experience- Emotional
 Genuine & managed emotions
– “Service with a smile”
 Emotional labor
Surface Acting: Displaying an emotion for the sake
of the job (i.e. servers in a restaurant smiling at the
Deep Acting: Displaying an emotion on the job that
one does not feel internally. This can lead to
emotional dissonance.
Implications of Emotional Labor
 Commodification of emotions
 Feeling rules
– Professionalism
 Mind-body dualism
Bounded Emotionality
 An alternative mode of organizing in which
nurturance, caring, community, supportiveness &
interrelatedness are fused with individual
responsibility to shape organizational experiences
(Mumby & Putnam, 1992)
 Challenges to bounded rationality & emotional
– Mind-body dualism
– Devaluation of physical labor
– Co-optation of emotional experience
Bounded Rationality & Bounded Emotionality
 Organizational
 Reduction of ambiguity
 Hierarchy – Meansend chain
 Mind-body dualism
 Fragmented labor
 Gendered &
occupational feeling
 Intersubjective
 Tolerance of ambiguity
 Heterarchy of goals &
 Integrated self-identity
 Community
 Relational feeling rules
Relational Experience-Feeling at
 Emotion as Part of Workplace Relationships
– Workplace bullying
– Tension between public and private
– Emotional “buzzing”
– Conflicting allegiances
 Emotion Rules & Emotional Intelligence
– Knowing when and how to implement a particular emotional
response in a given situation
 Stress & Burnout
Stress, Burnout, & Social Support
 Stress: stressors create strain on the
individual (burnout), which can lead to
negative psychological, physiological, &
organizational outcomes
Role conflict
Role ambiguity
Stressors outside the workplace
Emotional labor
 Emotional exhaustion
 Lack of personal accomplishment
 Depersonalization
Outcomes of Burnout
 Physiological—Stroke, Heart Attack, High
Blood Pressure
 Attitudinal—Sense of depersonalization,
Feeling a lack of accomplishment
 Organizational—Absenteeism, Turnover
Empathy, Communication and Burnout
 Research conducted on human service work (e.g.
healthcare, social work, teaching)
 “People oriented” careers feel a high degree of
empathy for others.
 Two kinds of empathy:
– Emotional contagion (parallel feelings towards how others
are feeling)
– Empathic concern (nonparallel emotional response)
 Emotional contagion= hinders communication (i.e.
emotional exhaustion)
 Empathic concern=helps communication
Coping with Burnout
 Problem-focused coping
 Appraisal-focused coping
 Emotion-centered coping
 Social support
Burning Out
Mary goes home late in the evening after a
long day of work time after time. Her work
as a nurse at the health clinic is beginning to
take its toll on her. Her health is worsening,
her sleep is fitful, and her fuse is short.
Sure, she wants to stay with her clinic, but
she is not sure how many more non-stop
days she can take.
How can Mary Cope?
 Problem-focused
 Work with supervisor
to reduce hours
 Delegate work
 Work with colleagues
to schedule breaks
How can Mary Cope?
 Emotion-focused
 Seek counseling
 Relaxation-techniques
How can Mary Cope?
 Appraisal-focused
 Reframe as helping
people out
 Think of herself as a
rare breed of civil
Social Support & Coping
Emotional Informational Instrumental
Friends &