Understanding our emotions at work

1. Emotions

Emotions are the signals for our decisions. All of our decisions are indirectly or directly connected with our emotions. Emotions are our responds in a particular context at a particular interaction with people or event. 

2. Emotions in organisations

Expressing emotions are not encouraged in working places. Expressing emotions are often seen as symptoms of weaknesses and may make us vulnerable. 

Emotions are also seen with negative aspects. Researchers have been developed different theories and seem to create more room for negative feelings rather than positive feelings. 

We may want to look at the emotions themselves in a particular contact but not social constructed terms. For example, anger can have a positive impact in terms of embracing changes and innovation. 

We may want to manage our reactions intentionally instead of impulsively emotionally. We don't need to and cannot stop our emotions but we can manage what we really response after having the emotions. Emotions themselves make us having feeling of belonging. Expressing emotions are considered as we can express our self.

Hence, organisation may want to create rooms for expressing emotions by being supportive by asking the reasons behind their emotions.  They also can give constructive feedback and give individuals more time to think about their decisions caused by their emotions. 

3. What and who influence emotions

Social constructionist theories have been more and more common compared to psychoanalytical theories. Our cultural and political context influence the emotions that we express, hide, and shape. Some culture aspects or gender, race, social class, city, etc also influence our emotions.

4. How to measure emotions

5. How to manage emotions 

We need to alter our emotional responses. 

Emotional intellegience has been a well-known theory for emotions management. 

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management 
  • Social awareness 
  • Relationships 

Two limitations are found in the theories:

  • Not coming from original research so does not clearly identify whether really an intelligence (stronger evidence to link to personality)
  • Difficulties with measuring due to subjectivity of emotions (measuring by asking people around the person)

  • EI depends on context

6. Emotional labour 

  • Example of call center staffs who always need to follow a script.
  • A hair dresser who always need to be friendly with customers.

People have to express the feeling that you may not want to or have to suppress the feeling that you want to. And there are normally penalty for not following emotional rules. For example, getting laid off or complaining from bosses. Most interestingly, your self questions you whether are you really you or not. 


The study of emotions is central to our understanding of organisational behaviour and an increasingly important topic that is linked with other topics (Culture, Change Management, Leadership, etc).

Consulting both psychoanalytic and social constructionist resources about emotions, links the unconscious and individual biography –your own identity, your personal history as an individual – to…. group, cultural, political processes. We may privately process emotions at work, and we may have to perform our emotions at work