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Anger at Work:

Anger Expressions, Work Unit Norms and Outcomes

Abstract

We describe how positive and negative outcomes of anger expressions are influenced by the nature of the anger display rules within organizations. We use a qualitative theory-building approach to examine a range of organizations. From this work, we identify an anger context continuum (ACC) showing that anger norms vary among work units. We also develop a framework of anger outcomes. We find that anger expressions are likely to lead to negative individual outcomes in work settings with anger suppression norms. We find that anger expressions are likely to lead to positive social outcomes in work settings with anger legitimating norms, especially when anger expressions are controlled or authentically expressed. From our results, we develop a theoretical model that suggests the outcome of anger expressions as a product of professional and organizational socialization, national and organizational culture, and previous personal experiences. These, together with work unit norms and form of anger expression, influence outcomes.

Key Words: Anger, Emotion, Norms, Work units, Organizations, Organization Context and Outcomes  

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