norms that include: organizational and national cultures, occupational and organizational socialization, and previous life experiences. After we discuss the study in more detail, we use the data from this study to propose a model of anger expressions in work units.
We next identify contributions to theory by summarizing the findings related to each of the initial research questions that framed this study. Our first research question asks whether work units can be characterized by examining variations in the prescriptions regarding anger displays. Our results definitely reveal variations in type, strength, and clarity of display rules regarding anger expression as manifested in different work units. Three organizational anger contexts were distinguished based on whether norms were clearly articulated in the work unit through socialization or other means and the degree to which these norms encourage, permit or proscribe anger expression. Anger suppressing norms characterized settings in which anger expression was clearly deemed hurtful and, consequently, was explicitly proscribed. In these contexts, anger norms were generally clear, strong and directly connected to execution of the work unit’s tasks. In contrast, in contingent contexts, anger expression was generally discouraged, although in certain circumstances anger was considered beneficial. In legitimating contexts, anger norms were embedded in the culture and anger expressions were viewed as useful, particularly when they furthered the organization’s goals. These findings should stimulate additional research to explore extensions of this classification scheme to other work units, including their emotionology – the extent to which they are introduced through socialization into the work unit or organization (Stearns and Stearns, 1989). Our results provide insight into at least some reasons why such norms evolve differently in work units. Norms often crystallize from past experience. For example, there is clear evidence that aggression is related to previous exposure to aggressive environments (Bandura, 1973, Berkowitz, 1993, Douglas and Martinko, 2001, Geen, 1990). Similarly, being in environments where aggression or anger expressions are discouraged may condition subsequent suppression of anger. Additionally, these results suggest that the extent to which anger serves the purposes of the work unit contributes to both type and the strength of the norms adopted, consistent with functional accounts of emotions in organizational