Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Managers' affective expressions as determinants of employee responses to change: Valence, inappropriateness and authenticity
by Wells, Rachael Elwork, Ph.D., Columbia University, 2008, 134; 3317659
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation contributes to an understudied area in organizational change research: the effects of managers' affective expressions on employee responses to change. I build upon the psychological literature on resilience and the organizational literatures on affect and change to develop hypotheses based on the premise that resilient responses to change may be the result of social processes in addition to purely individual ones. Independent variables include emotional content (e.g., positive, high activation emotions), as well as emotional inappropriateness, authenticity, and the specific regulation strategy of suppression. To test hypotheses, I surveyed employees and managers from several organizations undergoing change, including a sub-prime mortgage lender, a luxury retail company, a governmental organization, a law firm, and a Fortune 500 internet company. Results featured a series of interactive effects of perceptions of managers' expressed positive emotions and their overall emotional inappropriateness and authenticity. Managers' positive emotional expressions were associated with enhanced employee change-related outcomes, when those managers were not perceived as inappropriate in their emotional expressions and when they were seen as authentic. Managers' effective use of humor also interacted with emotional authenticity and inexpressiveness in its relationship to improved outcomes. Contrary to predictions, humor was related to enhanced employee outcomes when managers were not perceived to be authentically emotionally expressive. Managers' emotional inappropriateness was found to be detrimental to employee outcomes. Finally, while managers' use of suppression was associated with worsened outcomes as compared with authentic emotional expression, the worst employee outcomes were associated with managers perceived to be faking the emotions they were expressing.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brockner, Joel
School: Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 69/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Management, Occupational psychology
Keywords: Affective experience, Authenticity, Emotion, Employee, Leadership, Managers, Organizational change, Resilience
Publication Number: 3317659
ISBN: 978-0-549-65755-2
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