Emotions and psychophysiological responses in organizational social interaction

Mikko Salminen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

Abstract

Emotions have various effects on work life and organizational social interaction.
Daily work events evoke emotional reactions, which are communicated, either
intentionally or unintentionally, to colleagues and clients. These communicated
emotions may evoke corresponding affective responses in the perceiver, thus making
the emotions social. An existing emotional state may affect the performance of work
tasks such as decision-making. It may also affect social interaction, regardless of
whether it happens face-to-face or is mediated by some communication technology.
The hierarchical nature of organizations may often also result in implicit rules
regarding the expression of certain emotions, depending on one’s social status.
This dissertation uses self-reports and psychophysiological measurements to
study emotions in organizational social interaction, in both controlled laboratory
experiments and field studies in actual work settings. The four studies of the
dissertation focus on two research lines: 1) The dispositional effects of personality
and trait emotional intelligence on emotions during dyadic face-to-face social
interaction, and 2) Emotional processes during technology-mediated social interaction
when conducting work tasks such as planning and decision-making.
The current dissertation focuses on the emotions on four of the five
organizational levels of Ashkanasy’s (2003) model, namely the Within-person level,
Between-person level, Interpersonal interaction level, and Group and team level. The
work is organized into six research questions, which address the relationship between
emotional expressions and internal motivation state, behavior in a social decisionmaking
task, the role of trait emotional intelligence and personality in emotional
processes during organizational face-to-face social interaction, emotional contagion
and emotion regulation in technology-mediated social interaction, and the effects of a
technology-mediated group emotional state on the individual.
Regarding the first research question, the research showed how during a social
decision-making task with a computer-controlled virtual character, the participant’s
facial muscle activation, which is indicative of negative valence emotional
expressions, was related to their decision to defect the possibility of cooperation. This
defection enabled a higher pay-off in the task; the frontal asymmetry of the
electroencephalogram, indexing approach motivation, was related to the anticipated
high pay-off achievement rather than to establishing cooperation. During a
performance review discussion, both trait emotional intelligence and the matching
5
levels of the Extraversion personality dimension was related to self-reports and
physiological activity, indicating a positive valence emotional state, thus contributing
to the second and third research questions. As regards the fourth research question,
the results showed that emotional contagion occurred from a virtual character, as well
as within a distributed group, via a technology-mediated cue of group emotional state.
We also observed emotion regulation in the participant when they interacted with a
virtual character, thus contributing to the fifth research question. Finally, the sixth
research question was addressed by showing that contagious negative group
emotional state had detrimental effects on confidence in the group.
In sum, this dissertation contributes to the field of organizational social
psychology by showing the viability of the quantitative method of psychophysiology
in the study of organizational behavior in real-life contexts.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • University of Helsinki
Award date28 Sep 2018
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-951-51-4489-8
Electronic ISBNs978-951-51-4490-4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2018
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Keywords

  • Emotion in the workplace
  • Social interaction
  • Psychophysiology
  • EEG
  • EMOTION
  • Leadership

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