An Emotion-Based Perspective on Learning in Client-Facing Work

Suvi Helin, Timo Vuori

Tutkimustuotos: Artikkeli kirjassa/konferenssijulkaisussaAbstractScientificvertaisarvioitu


This paper examines learning in a strategy consulting agency. A two-year ethnographic study examines how BraveCo Ltd. influenced its employees’ ability to perform in an extremely demanding environment: consultants were required to learn challenging tasks in a fast-paced environment while simultaneously managing the continuous emotional pressure of client-facing work. BraveCo used two seemingly contradictory mechanisms to manage employees’ ability to learn and perform successfully. Enforcing practices created an environment with high expectations through which consultants routinely became cognizant of new areas where they needed to provide superior abilities. Through these practices, the consultants learned to use their self-awareness to spot gaps between their current knowledge and client expectations, and through shame management, they were mindfully prepared in their work not to feel ashamed of these gaps. Protective practices preserved the consultants’ confidence by limiting their exposure to information that pointed to their weaknesses, which enabled them to maintain confidence to sell new projects. A cognitive perspective would predict that practices that expose individuals to more information about the factors influencing their performance benefit learning, but our emotional perspective suggests that such practices can undermine learning because they reduce the confidence necessary to enact the actual experiences that generate learning.
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 2019
OKM-julkaisutyyppiEi oikeutettu
TapahtumaAcademy of Management Annual Meeting: Understanding the Inclusive Organization - Boston, Yhdysvallat
Kesto: 9 elok. 201913 elok. 2019
Konferenssinumero: 79


ConferenceAcademy of Management Annual Meeting


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