Collective Emotion Regulation in an Organisation – A Plural Agency with Cognition and Affect
Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 28 Iss 5 pp. 832-871, 2015
41 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2015
Date Written: October 27, 2015
Purpose – While emotions and feelings arise in the singular personality, they may also develop a normative dimensionality in a plural agency. The authors identify the cybernetic systemic principles of how emotions might be normatively regulated and affect plural agency performance. The purpose of this paper is to develop a generic cultural socio-cognitive trait theory of plural affective agency (the emotional organization), involving interactive cognitive and affective traits, and these play a role within the contexts of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A).
Design/methodology/approach – The authors integrate James Gross’ model of emotion regulation with the earlier work on normative personality in the context of Mindset Agency Theory. The agency is a socio-cognitive entity with attitude, and operates through traits that control thinking and decision making. These traits are epistemically independent and operate on a bipolar scale; with the alternate poles having an auxiliary function to each other – where the traits may take intermediary “balanced” states between the poles.
Findings – Processes of affect regulation are supposed to go through three stages: first, identification (affective situation awareness); second, elaboration of affect is constituted through schemas of emotional feeling, which include emotion ideologies generating emotional responses to distinct contextual situations; third, execution: in the operative system primary emotions are assessed through operative intelligence for any adaptive information and the capacity to organize action; and turned into action, i.e. responses, through cultural feeling rules and socio-cultural display rules, conforming to emotion ideologies.
Research limitations/implications – This new theory provides guidance for framing multilevel interaction where smaller collectives (as social systems) are embedded into larger social systems with a culture, an emotional climate and institutions. Thus, it is providing a generic theoretical frame for M&A analyses, where a smaller social unit (the acquired) is to be integrated into a larger social unit (the acquirer).
Practical implications – Understanding interdependencies between cognition and emotion regulation is a prerequisite of managerial intelligence, which is at demand during M&A processes. While managerial intelligence may be grossly defined as the capacity of management to find an appropriate and fruitful balance between action and learning orientation of an organization, its affective equivalent is the capacity of management to find a fruitful balance between established emotion expression and learning alternate forms of emotion expression.
Social implications – Understanding interdependencies between cognition and emotion is a prerequisite of social, cultural and emotional intelligence. The provided theory can be easily linked with empirical work on the emergence of a cultural climate of fear within societies.
Keywords: Managerial cognition, Agency theory, Organizational climate, Emotional climate
JEL Classification: D23, Z1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation