Respectful or Rude? How Small Differences in Negative Emotional Expression Affect Individuals in Teams and Team Viability
39 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2011
Date Written: 2011
Teamwork has advantages (e.g., coordination), but also presents challenges of interdependence (e.g., social loafing), which can make teamwork frustrating. Expressing frustration (a negative emotion) with another team member can motivate better performance, but can also backfire, triggering outcomes with serious implications for the team’s viability, such as withdrawal and reduced cooperation. We argue that how negative emotions are expressed in these contexts can mitigate the potential negative consequences for the team’s viability. In two studies (one vignette and one interactive group experiment) we investigate how expressing one’s frustration respectfully (versus rudely) triggers affective and inferential processes that differentially influence team member reactions (withdrawal, evaluations, willingness to work together) to the expresser as well as to other team members uninvolved in the dyadic emotional interaction. Our findings suggest that expressing negative emotions respectfully can convey both frustration and dissatisfaction while mitigating the potential negative consequences for team viability.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation