Th-DEB-1 - Alliance Special Session: Fostering Emotional Work Climates Around The Globe

Thursday May 18   09:00 AM to 10:00 AM (1 hour)
Intel Theatre
Nai-Wen Chi, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan
Allison Gabriel, University of Arizona, USA
Karen Niven, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Anat Rafaeli – Technion, Israel Institute of Technology
Gerben van Kleef, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Mo Wang, University of Florida, USA 


This session focuses on international research in workplace emotional displays and affective climate.   Panelists will discuss their own research in this area, and then discuss how assumptions and outcomes vary based on national/cultural norms for emotions.  Implications for practices fostering emotional climates and conducting cross-cultural research will be discussed.
Description of Proposed Session:
Emotional displays influence others feelings and motives in ways that matter for workgroups and organizational success (Chi, Chung, & Tsai, 2011; Niven, Totterdell, & Holman, 2009; Van Kleef, 2009; Zhan, Wang, & Shi, 2015).  As such, work organizations may strategically foster emotional work climates given their different goals, values and identities (Barsade & O'Neill, 2016).  For example, online sales organization Zappos is known for quirky enthusiasm, whereas restaurant Chic-Fil-A strives for humility and courtesy. Positive emotions and climates are common, but enforcing positivity is not always effective in workplace interactions (Côté, Hideg, & van Kleef, 2013; Fineman, 2006).  Amazon was recently described as a fear-based culture that motivates long hours among its tech workers (Kantor & Streitfeld, New York Times, 2015). 
Furthermore, emotional norms vary by culture, with some socialized toward expressing positivity and valuing social harmony, and others toward expressing felt emotions even if negative (Allen, Diefendorff, & Ma, 2014; Gordon, 1989).  Though national cultures vary in expressive norms, the expectations for customer service seem to require positive displays (Grandey, Rafaeli, Ravid, Wirtz, & Steiner, 2010). Emotional climates are fostered with human resource practice such as selection (e.g., for affective disposition, emotional intelligence), socialization (e.g., training for certain displays, mentoring), formalized socializing (e.g., pep rallies before work, happy hours after), and recognition/consequences (e.g., leader praise/punishments, employee-of-the-month plaques) (Gabriel, Cheshin, Moran, & Van Kleef, 2016; Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987), but these may work differently in cultures for whom such displays are incongruent with national norms. This creates incongruence and business challenges as shown in cases like New Seasons hotels opening in France (Hallowell, Bowen, & Knoop, 2002), EuroDisney, and McDonalds in Russia.
Overall, we propose the need to more systematically consider how to foster emotional climate – and the differential outcomes – when studied cross-culturally and around the world. Panelists will present their own research on workplace emotional climate, and then discuss how practices may differ around the globe given variations in national cultural norms for emotion.
Panelists: The scholars assembled have conducted extensive research on emotional climates and requirements at work in European, Middle Eastern, Asian, and American contexts. Each scholar will present for about 5 minutes about their research, followed by 15 minutes of discussion.

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