The norms were generated by the organization and taught during orientation and training.
These two display rules appeared to emanate from organizational training rather than from professional occupational norms because respondents represented a variety of occupations and reported that these rules were communicated shortly after they were hired during initial training. The display rules were voiced consistently by respondents, even by those respondents with little or no professional socialization. They are exemplified by the following quote: “You are supposed to try and watch what you say around the [residents/patients]... If you are mad at someone …you go to your supervisor…” RB#91
The women’s health clinic and Singapore social work department also had clear and strong anger suppressing norms similar to the nursing home. For example, a women’s health worker reported, “It is not okay to knock down and drag out in this setting because we have patients sitting in the hall. It debases confidence in you—it’s not professional” BB#1. In the Singapore department workers reported suppressing anger expressions in front of clients/patients: “We have to learn [that it is] not so advisable to show anger… not in front of a patient or client” JS#8.
In some situations, the second display rule was not followed. This occurred primarily when the supervisor was the source of anger or occasionally when non-patient-related anger was directed toward a coworker. Several people mentioned a supervisor that was triggering anger among the staff. A respondent describes this: “There is a lot of frustration…with the supervisor…. It decreases morale” (RB#7). In the women’s health clinic, raising the conflict with the supervisor was also problematic because she was seen as unapproachable and punitive. As one staff member explained, “The problem is with [the supervisor] and the support staff….You would hope you could go and tell them, but we don’t.” In addition, when anger toward a coworker was not related to patient care, employees also appeared to abandon the rule of going to one’s supervisor. Respondents reported using other alternative responses to anger including: talking directly to the individual involved; discussing the issue with someone else; or walking away. A women’s health nurse reported, “I would go to others with the problem and propose an alternative to the
1 Letters and numbers following quotes indicate work unit and respondent number of each quote.