How emotions and moods can be used at work to improve organisational outcomes? Essay Example

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Mood and Emotions (7)

Organisational Behaviour

How emotions and moods can be used at work to improve organisational outcomes?


Management theories before were not interested in discussing the positive impact of emotions at work as it is normally viewed harmful to rational decision making (Nelson & Quick 2010, p.129). It is intense and typically directed to a person or things and can turn into moods that can last longer (Robbins 2009, p.193). Moreover, emotions at work can greatly influence performance as well as the outcome of such work (Woods et al. 2010, p.88). In similar manner, negative mood can affect the perceptions and attitude of workers as well as health problems (Feldman 2008, p.9). However, some studies suggest that emotions and moods are not all about negative outcomes and disappointing consequences as they can also generate beneficial results particularly the positive types. The following section discusses in detail how emotions and mood can be used at work to improve organisational outcomes.

Using Emotions and Moods at Work to Improve Organisational Outcomes

Understanding the Impact of Human Emotions and Moods

Studying the positive impact of emotions and mood on organisation outcomes requires a better understanding of the nature both such as their distinction and relationship to each other. Emotions often emerged in a distinct form such as anger, joy, jealousy, and others while moods signifies common positive or negative feelings and last longer than emotions such as being confused, frustrated, lonely, nervous, tense and so on (Woods et al. 2010, p. 88).

Similarly, there are negative and positive emotions and moods. Negative emotions like fear generate imbalances that make an individual response irrationally while depressed mood decrease enthusiasm, facilitates unfriendly behaviour, and increased chances of illness (Cohn 2008, p.28). Positive emotions and moods on the other hand can widen a person’s thought and action such as joy, love, contentment, and so on which according to Dai & Sternberg (2004) is linked to an individual’s tendency to explore, enhance his physical, social, and problem solving skills (p.65). Moreover, a person with positive mood is more motivated and tendencies to be involved in good and productive activities (Ashkanasy & Cooper 2008, p.144).

Negative emotions can be very unproductive as it often leads to workplace deviance or actions beyond accepted cultural norms (Nelson & Quick 2010, p.130). For instance, an employee’s extreme anger can lead to hostility towards his co-employees or to his superior in worse cases. Another problem with emotions, positive or not, is its transferability as in the theory emotional contagion wherein a person can “catch” (Robbins 2009, p. 206) emotions from others like cold or communicable virus. In contrast, an employee may be down or in a bad mood but it rarely affects their work and get things done accordingly (Landy & Conte 2009, p.427). Employee’s negative emotions influence the quality of their work and eventually, such prolonged negative feelings can lead to reduced job satisfaction, exhaustion, and significantly poor and undesirable performance (Robbins 2009, p.206).

Positive, emotions and moods can be very productive as a number of study shows that successful products selling, customer satisfaction, and so on are associated with positive emotions and moods (Briner 1999, p.350). According to Briner (1999), emotional labour is good since most customers wants to deal with people with agreeable emotions such as polite waitress, patient bank teller or a stewardess who look at them in the eye (p.350). Positive moods are associated with sincerity and openness particularly at work in the form of cooperative attitude towards other workers, deep concern about the organisation, offering useful suggestions, and personal improvements valuable to the performance of the organisation as whole (Gooty 2007, p.61).

Improving Organisational Outcomes

Using emotions and moods in improving organisation outcomes requires a number of steps. First, instigators of these human expressions at work must be identified in order to reduce the likelihood of such unproductive behaviour. Second, appropriate control measures for negative emotions and moods in particular must be established to facilitate the equilibrium between emotionally productive and expressively destructive. Third, determine the role of each individual in the workplace in preventing the occurrence of such behaviour as well as encouraging the positive ones in workplace.

According to Sander & Scherer (2009), the most common reason triggering negative emotions in the workplace (anger and hate for instance) is injustice instigated by either co-workers or acts of management. In contrast, success or achieving one’s goal contributes to workers greater pride, happiness, confidence, and enthusiasm to improve further (p.415). Equality and fairness therefore should rule or dominate the workplace like a manager valuing the importance of his workers’ hard work and encouraging them to take a short rest or providing them with additional resources that can make their working life easier (Hiam 2003, p.73). Since employees are in part motivated by the people around them such as the need to maintain his dignity in front of his co-employees or conform to norms and expectations (Murray et al., p.71), managers should never let them down. This is because embarrassment for instance has sensitive cultural connections that may trigger unwanted emotions (Ginsberg & Davies 2007, p.21).

When sources of negative behaviours are identified and reduced, control measures for negative emotions and moods should be put in place. By analysis, such control measures should reduce the occurrence of negative behaviours and at the same time allowing positive ones to spread around the workplace. These can be in the form of inducement such as provisions for entertainment, occasional awarding or gift giving, sports, and others that can inspire positive mood among workers (Ashkanasy & Cooper 2008, p.105).

Similarly, control and improved organisational outcomes can be achieved by evaluating and enhancing the conduciveness of the workplace such eradicating sources of stress, uncertainties, and encouraging social interactions in the form of informal activities that can induce or increase positive moods (Robbins 2009, p.198). More importantly, there is a strong correlation between job satisfaction and positive emotions thus good job characteristics such autonomy, participation, genuine concern from managers or supervisors, and fair amount of workload should be incorporated in the strategy (Whitbourne & Whitbourne 2010, p.224).

As mentioned earlier, the common instigators of injustices resulting to negative emotions and moods are the bad behaviours of workers themselves and offensive acts from management. Similarly, poor working environment and the lack of facilities to encourage positive working behaviour intensify existing frustration. However, it seems difficult if not impossible to give each worker a role in preventing negative or encouraging positive emotions and moods in the workplace. As people with varying preferences, it does not make any sense to individually approach them for this purpose. The management on the other hand has the authority, power, and resources to make things possible thus the responsibility or role should be given to them.

With the knowledge acquired from the previous discussions, management’s primary role in acquiring the benefits of positive emotions and moods is to persistently encourage such behaviour throughout the workplace. This can be done by providing additional supervisory or managerial training designed to provide the participants with full understanding of these behaviours, regulatory techniques, and appropriate interpersonal performance. Management should also provide the required resources such as provisions for motivational package mentioned earlier. More importantly, as the theory of emotional contagion suggest, management commitment to the welfare of employees should be genuine and not mere cosmetic because they can also transfer negative or positive emotions to their employees.


Emotions and moods in the negative form can be very destructive particularly in a workplace where efficiency and good performance is a critical factor. In contrast, positive emotions and moods can greatly enhance a worker’s creativity, innovativeness, decision-making ability, well-being and health thus beneficial to the organisation. However, with genuine commitment, planning, and resources, organisations can reduce the incidence of these negative behaviours and if correctly applied, emotions and moods can greatly improve organisation outcomes.


Ashkanasy N. & Cooper C., 2008, New Horizons in Management, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cornwall, UK

Briner R., 1999, Emotion at Work: A Special Issue of the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, Psychology Press, UK

Cohn M., 2008, Positive emotions: Short-term mechanisms, long-term outcomes, and mediating processes, ProQuest, Michigan, US

Dai D. & Sternberg R., 2004, Motivation, emotion, and cognition: Integrative perspectives on intellectual functioning and development, Routledge, New Jersey, US

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Ginsberg R. & Davies T., 2007, The Human Side of Leadership: Navigating Emotions at Work, Greenwood Publishing Group, Connecticut, US

Gooty J., 2007, Development and test of a model linking emotions and work behaviours, ProQuest, Michigan, US

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Robbins S., 2009, Organisational Behaviour: Global and Southern African Perspectives, Pearson, South Africa

Sander D. & Scherer K., 2009, The Oxford Companion to Emotion and the Affective Sciences, Oxford University Press, New York, US

Spielberger C., 2004, Encyclopaedia of Applied Psychology, Academic Press, US

Whitbourne S.K. & Whitbourne S.B., 2010, Adult Development and Aging: Biopsychosocial Perspectives, John Wiley and Sons, Us

Woods S, West M, & West A, 2010, The Psychology of Work and Organisations, Cengage Learning, US