36th EGOS Colloquium
Organizing for a Sustainable Future:
Responsibility, Renewal & Resistance
University of Hamburg
July 2–4, 2020
36th EGOS Colloquium
July 2–4, 2020
Recent research on emotions in institutions and organizations has developed our knowledge of the functioning of social
emotions (Creed et al., 2014) and moral emotions (Wright et al., 2017). As a result, we have come to better understand the
role emotions play in institutional and organizational dynamics. We know that shame, for example, shapes actors’ adherence
to institutional arrangements, and can trigger identity work (Creed et al., Creed et al., 2010). Feelings of anger and betrayal,
in response to the violation of institutional norms, can threaten actors’ identification with organizations and institutions
(Petriglieri, 2015), and inspire institutional work (Toubiana & Zietsma, 2017). Fear can lead to institutional maintenance
(Gill & Burrow, 2018), and also prevent actors from engaging in desired institutional work (Wijaya & Heugens, 2018).
Conversely, positive emotions can lead to emotional investment in institutions or organizations and one’s desire to defend
them (Fan & Zietsma, 2017). Recent work has also demonstrated a recursive influence between social structure and emotions,
whereby reflexive engagement with emotions “can alter understandings and facilitate new structural arrangements”
(Ruebottom & Auster, 2018: 468).
Foundational work in the study of emotions in institutions and organizations focussed on the way in which positive and negative emotions have been separated, to emphasise, for example, positive affect on one side and negative affect or emotional toxicity on the other. More recently, a vibrant stream of research has emerged that studies the impact of ambivalence – the simultaneous experience of positive and negative emotions – in organizational settings (Pratt, 2000; Ashforth et al., 2014; Petriglieri et al., 2018). In this sub-theme we encourage work on emotion, organizations and institutions that broadens this existing work by engaging with the intersection of positive and negative emotion. In doing so we hope to generate a more nuanced view of emotional dynamics, both individual and collective, within organizations and institutions.
Papers might explore how and why negative consequences are embedded in seemingly positive emotions; or explore positive responses to hatred and negative emotions. For example, this would include the harm that our helpfulness can cause (Vince, 2002); the organizational consequences of a ‘hated self’ within organizational roles (Petriglieri & Stein, 2012); the violence that can be the consequence of our detachment from emotions (Vince & Mazen, 2014); or the compassionate responses to human pain in organizations (Dutton et al., 2006). We also encourage papers that adopt a systems psychodynamic perspective to study the effects of unconscious emotions, social defences, and ‘structuring fantasies’ (Vince, 2018) on institutions and organizations. Mixed feelings may not always operate at the conscious level, and thus adopting a systems psychodynamic perspective can allow us to identify the implicit relational processes that construct persons within their roles; and to understand the unconscious functioning of roles and relations within and for the organization. Such papers might connect with unconscious dynamics associated with the emotional impact of complex and conflicting organizational roles and relations. Papers might also explore the inevitable interplay between emotions and power relations.
Our sub-theme fits into the overall theme of the EGOS Colloquium 2020 by asking scholars to consider the varied emotional dynamics that are associated with and inform both ‘social, economic, and environmental disruptions’ and ‘how to resist harmful, unfair, or discriminatory practices’. The purpose of this sub-theme is to continue to build on our previous explorations of emotions in social contexts. We welcome both theoretical and empirical submissions that contribute to the further development of social and moral emotions.
In this sub-theme, we will seek to address such questions as:
What are the mixed emotions that characterise, undermine or support our organizational and/ or institutional work?
What are the benefits and problems of addressing positive and negative emotions simultaneously?
How and why certain emotional rules, registers, norms or cultures come to dominate within specific contexts? When might these emotional guidelines be disrupted or altered?
What are the impacts of intersecting and conflicting emotions on organizational behaviour and action, or in relation to the reproduction of institutional norms and patterns of domination?
How are negative consequences rooted in positive emotions, or conversely how do negative emotions link to motivation, agency and action?
How do actors navigate complex and conflicting emotional registers or rules associated with the organizations and institutions they inhabit?
What can systems psychodynamic perspectives offer organizations and institutions in support of understanding the intersection between emotions and the political systems in which these emotions are embedded?
How can we study unconscious dynamics in organizations and institutions? What are the methods we need to make such research possible?