Working Papers

Emotion in Organizations

A Review in Stages


Emotion has become one of the most popular—and popularized—areas within organizational scholarship. This chapter attempts to review and bring together within a single framework the wide and often disjointed literature on emotion in organizations. The integrated framework includes processes detailed by previous theorists who have defined emotion as a sequence that unfolds chronologically. The emotion process begins with a focal individual who is exposed to an eliciting stimulus, registers the stimulus for its meaning, and experiences a feeling state and physiological changes, with downstream consequences for attitudes, behaviors, and cognitions, as well as facial expressions and other emotionally expressive cues. These downstream consequences can result in externally visible behaviors and cues that become, in turn, eliciting stimuli for interaction partners. For each stage of the emotion process there are distinct emotion regulation processes, that incorporate individual differences and group norms and that can become automatic with practice. Although research often examines these stages in relative isolation from each other, I argue that each matters largely due to its interconnectedness with the other stages. Incorporating intra-individual, individual, interpersonal, and organizational levels of analysis, this framework can be a starting point to situate, theorize and test explicit mechanisms for the influence of emotion on organizational life.