Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Effect Of Emotions On Job Performance

There was a time when emotions in the workplace were considered important in relation to employee well being and job satisfaction only. In recent years, the organizations have realized that employee emotions are pervasive in the workplace. The emotions are not only a deep-seated part of work life but have an important role to play in one's job performance. An employee's emotions and overall temperament have a significant impact on his job performance, decision making skills, team spirit, leadership and turnover. Its is believed that employees bring their feelings of anger, fear, love and respect with them when they come to work. An employee's emotions are essential to what happens in an organization. Emotions matter because they drive one's performance.
Emotions at work place, generally, fall into the category of positive (good) and negative (bad) emotions. Positive emotions are those feelings of an individual that are favorable to the attainment of organizational goals while negative emotions are those that are perceived to be destructive for the organization. To classify them further, emotions can be categorized as discrete, dispositional and as moods. Discrete emotions reflect short lived emotions like joy, anger, fear and disgust which arise from the occurrence of a particular event; while dispositional define an employees overall approach towards life like cheerful, negative, etc. Moods, however, are long lasting as compared to discrete emotions.

The impact of emotions, whether positive or negative, is well researched on. Studies suggest that negative feelings have adverse effects on job performances. Anger often leads to aggressions towards colleagues while sadness leads to dissatisfaction with the job. Envy or conflict with peers also leads to frequent fights and in turn results absenteeism. It is not always that only bad emotions lead to bad results. Office romance, despite being a positive feeling, can have negative effect on others. However, emotions can have positive effects as well. Positive emotions increase creativity, encourage helping behavior and cooperation and reduce aggression both against the organization and against people. Research suggests that positive people have better cognitive abilities and tend to do better in the workplace and with accuracy.

Emotions influence the task on which an employee is working, the efforts he puts and how he influences other employees around him. In other words, what employees feel and how they express their emotions affects their performance.
Effect on decision making : Studies have shown that positive mood leads to better and efficient decision making. However, this doesn't mean that decisions taken in a bad mood are disruptive. Studies have also found that negative emotions can lead to more effective decision making. Negative emotions, sometimes, may lead to more concentrated, detailed, and analytic processing of the facts.
Emotions and absenteeism: Positive mood is associated with reduced absence and intention to quit the job while negative mood increase absenteeism, intention to turnover, and actual turnover.
Effects on creativity: Positive emotions influence creativity positively as it creates a content state of mind which is open to all ideas. It also leads to a more complex and flexible thinking.
Interpersonal relations: Positive feelings induce helping behaviors while feelings of jealousy of hatred lead to poor relations with colleagues.
Managing emotions
Emotions directly influence behavior, so one has to manage emotions while at work. Some jobs simply cannot be done, if emotions are not dealt with first. Imagine how employees whose jobs asks compulsion towards specific emotions, like the front desk people or customer care executives, manage their emotions. This is where the concept of emotional labor comes in to play. Emotional labour or emotion work is the effort, planning and control needed to express desired level of emotions while on work. Emotional labor is a form of regulation in which workers are expected to display certain emotions as part of their job and to promote organizational goals. When interacting with coworkers, customers, suppliers, and others, employees are expected to abide by such rules.

There are two main ways of managing emotions at work - surface acting and deep acting. In surface acting, employees are required to show emotions that they actually might not feel. For example an employee may fake a smile for his client even if in actual he is unhappy because of some personal reasons. This method of managing emotions may lead to discrepancy between what employee expresses and what he actually feels and result in job dissatisfaction. This leads to emotional dissonance, which refers to a state of disagreement between internal expression of emotions and publicly displayed emotions. Emotional dissonance is often accompanied by high emotional exhaustion, low organizational commitment, and low job satisfaction .

In deep acting, instead of expressing fake emotions, employees try to experience the emotions that they are supposed to express. This method of requires more effort but leads to greater job satisfaction. Thus, the containment of unpleasant emotions decreases job satisfaction and increases intentions of quitting the job.


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