Interpersonal Emotion Regulation in the Workplace: A Conceptual and Operational Review and Future Research Agenda
21 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2018
Date Written: April 2018
Employees need to regulate their own emotions as well as the emotions of others to enhance the quality of interactions with their colleagues. How well this is achieved has important outcomes for both employees and the organizations in which they work. In the field of organizational science, however, differing approaches have emerged regarding the conceptualization and operationalization of emotion regulation (ER) particularly in terms of interpersonal interactions. The present review examines contemporary theoretical perspectives of ER and its measurement with a view to resolving the confusion that currently exists around interpersonal ER in a workplace context. To understand how this field of research has developed so diversely, the authors begin by demonstrating the influence of three major individual‐level ER models on interpersonal‐level approaches: (1) the ER process model; (2) emotional labor; and (3) emotional intelligence. Moreover, to make sense of the range of interpersonal‐level research underpinned by these theories, the authors present a 2×2 categorization, developed by Zaki and Williams (2013), which shows how workplace researchers have variously approached interpersonal ER as an intrinsic vs. extrinsic process, with activation of either response‐dependent or response‐independent categories. This categorization broadly shows interpersonal ER theory used in work contexts tends to fall into four groupings as: (1) a purely extrinsic process; (2) a differentiation of extrinsic interpersonal from intrinsic individual ER; (3) co‐occurring intrinsic and extrinsic interpersonal ER; or (4) interpersonal coregulation. This paper also discusses the measurement of interpersonal ER and concludes by highlighting emerging research directions.
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