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Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice. A developmental discussion workshop developed from: Iain Mangham (1998) ‘Emotional Discourse in Organisations’ in David Grant, Tom Keenoy and Cliff Oswick (eds) Discourse and Organisation. Sage.

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emotional display as organisational action implications for practice

Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice.

A developmental discussion workshop

developed from:

Iain Mangham (1998) ‘Emotional Discourse in Organisations’ in David Grant, Tom Keenoy and Cliff Oswick (eds) Discourse and Organisation. Sage

emotional display as organisational action implications for practice1
Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice

Central argument: that having and understanding emotions is essential to practical wisdom.

Common managerial perception that feelings have no place in institutions that are committed to considered judgement and rational action

  • they get in the way and cloud the issues
  • they may overwhelm us if left unchecked
  • indulging them may divert us from our purpose
  • they interfere with our judgement
emotional display as organisational action implications for practice2
Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice

This idea is in contrast to some earlier ideas:-

William James

‘My thesis is that the bodily changes follow directly the perception of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur is the emotion’

Hume

They are psychic feelings, produced by the mind, in and of themselves

emotional display as organisational action implications for practice3
Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice

Sartre

  • Emotions as a way of apprehending the world
  • Are the basis for a conscious strategy
  • A strategy to change situations and events
  • Emotions as action
  • Emotions as purposive action
emotional display as organisational action implications for practice4
Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice

Solomon

  • We actively choose and adopt one as a means to alter the state of affairs in the world
  • Emotions serve purposes, including frequently self deception
  • Emotions are judgements
  • Emotions are purposive
  • Emotions are actions - concerned not only with the way the world is, but also the way the world ought to be
  • Emotion as set of judgements, something we do
emotional display as organisational action implications for practice5
Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice

‘I can’t be angry if I do not believe that someone has wrongly offended me. Accordingly we might say that anger involves moral judgement....an appeal to moral standards and not merely personal evaluations. My anger is that set of judgements...an emotion is an evaluative ( or a ‘normative’) judgement, a judgement about my situation and about myself and /or other people’ Solomon

emotional display as organisational action implications for practice6
Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice

Harre and Gillett

  • Emotions are judgement and they constitute social acts
  • Display rules - the cultural conventions that determine how an emotion should be expressed
  • In particular cultures at particular times there are certain characteristic feelings and displays that express certain judgements and perform certain social acts. Each vocabulary of feelings and displays expresses a local taxonomy and theory of emotions
  • ‘ We must see emotions displays and feelings as discursive acts, based upon natural and inculcated patterns of bodily reactions but with meanings defined by their role in the discursive interactions of members of particular cultures’
emotional display as organisational action implications for practice7
Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice
  • Emotions are embodied and displayed in discursive acts
  • Emotions as situated contributions to a discourse - which depend for their effectiveness on not only the use of shared language but on a certain common background of knowledge and belief i.e. local understandings of how to ‘do’ emotions, and what ‘doing’ certain emotions means
  • People develop a vocabulary of emotions appropriate to their circumstances
  • Social actors are socialised into an understanding of the degrees of emotionality appropriate to particular situations
emotional display as organisational action implications for practice8
Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice

Hyper emotion

  • Which in itself indicates that an interaction is about to breakdown
  • In such circumstances there is little or no chance of an orderly pattern of exchange.
  • Most exchanges don’t breakdown because they are undertaken according to scripts that we have mastered for their performance.
  • Emotional feeling and its related display may be understood as a discursive phenomenon, an expression of judgement and the performance of a social act
emotional display as organisational action implications for practice9
Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice

Perinbanayagam

  • Emotions are important because they serve to embellish and illuminate social conduct
  • Affectless people can not apprehend half of what is going on
  • Being able to empathise with the emotions of others is important for making good judgements
  • The exercise of judgement is made possible by our possessing the ability to have certain emotions
  • Affectless people? - just damped down or suppressed?
  • Many of us wish our important activities and relations to be infused with emotions
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Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice

Vetlesen: the reflexivity of emotion

  • Emotions are active in disclosing a situation to us
  • Articulations of what we feel are never definite, never complete
  • Emotions are crucial for making us aware of ‘the particularly human reality of a specific situation’
  • Organisations create and maintain settings in which displays of emotions are suppressed to the point where - at best -they constitute nothing more than weak signals
  • In some circumstances displays of emotion may well be early warning signs of issues that need to be tackled
emotional display as organisational action implications for practice11
Emotional Display as Organisational Action: Implications for Practice
  • Do managers (and others) need emotional literacy? How could they get it? How do we know they’ve got it, how does the organisation accommodate it?
  • Do I, as a business psychologist, need to be emotional literate in different contexts? How do I know I am?
  • What happens when different cultural norms of ‘doing emotion’ meet? Where does it show in my practice? How does understanding what is happening in this way help me be effective?

Examples of good or poor emotional literacy.

Examples of well co-ordinated, poorly co-ordinated organisational emotion

Examples of hyper-emotion and social breakdown (organisation/group couldn’t go on)

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