Rewarding and Punishing Emotional Expressions in Groups: The Role of Responder Status

19 Pages Posted: 21 May 2010 Last revised: 29 Oct 2015

See all articles by Jennifer Carson Marr

Jennifer Carson Marr

Georgia Tech; London Business School

Niro Sivanathan

London Business School

Stephan Thau

London Business School

Date Written: June 9, 2010

Abstract

A functionalist perspective on status suggests that the norm of expressing status-consistent emotions simplifies interactions within groups and aids group functioning. Group members respond to this norm by rewarding status-consistent, and punishing status-inconsistent emotional expressions. However, we suggest this view neglects individual status-striving motives within groups (Barkow, 1989; Goffman, 1969). High-status members are motivated to maintain the hierarchy, but low-status members are motivated to ascend the hierarchy. Thus, the decision to reinforce status-consistent expressions crucially depends on the status of the responder. Two studies tested this prediction. As expected, while high-status responders allocated more rewards for status-consistent (Study 1), and excluded members for status-inconsistent emotional expressions (Study 2), low-status responders allocated more rewards for status-inconsistent (Study 1), and excluded members for status-consistent emotional expressions (Study 2). We discuss the importance of individual status motivations in reinforcing norms designed to promote stability in status hierarchies.

Keywords: status, emotion expression, rewards, punishment

Suggested Citation

Marr, Jennifer Carson and Sivanathan, Niro and Thau, Stephan, Rewarding and Punishing Emotional Expressions in Groups: The Role of Responder Status (June 9, 2010). IACM 23rd Annual Conference Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1612364 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1612364

Jennifer Carson Marr (Contact Author)

Georgia Tech ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Niro Sivanathan

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Stephan Thau

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

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