Expressing distress at work can have negative consequences for employees: observers perceive employees who express distress as less competent than employees who do not. Across five experiments, we explore how reframing a socially inappropriate emotional expression (distress) by publicly attributing it to an appropriate source (passion) can shape perceptions of, and decisions about, the person who expressed emotion. In Studies 1a-c, participants viewed individuals who reframed distress as passion as more competent than those who attributed distress to emotionality or made no attribution. In Studies 2a-b, reframing emotion as passion shifted interpersonal decision-making: participants were more likely to hire job candidates and choose collaborators who reframed their distress as passion compared to those who did not. Expresser gender did not moderate these effects. Results suggest that in cases when distress expressions cannot or should not be suppressed, reframing distress as passion can improve observers' impressions of the expresser.
To what extent our unethical behavior a product of dispositional, or situational forces? We argue that unethical behavior should be understood in terms of the dynamic interplay between dispositional factors – such as one’s ability and willpower, personality traits, and motivations and identity, and trait-relevant situational factors.
Previous research on unethical behavior in organizations suggests that employees who engage in such behavior are motivated by the desire to advance their own self-interest, often acting selfishly at the expense of their own organizations. However, such behaviors may also be motivated by envy resulting from upward social comparison processes. In this article, we provide a framework that shows how an experience of envy may motivate unethical behavior that is costly to co-workers in the same organization. We discuss the consequences of such interpersonal unethical behavior in organizational settings. We also examine the interaction of these emotional reactions to social comparisons with characteristics of an organization’s structure, related to performance goals and pay for performance pay and performance goals. Finally, we discuss the implications for future theory development.
Research suggests that dishonest acts may be embodied. That is, when a person anticipates or acts dishonestly, the choice or behavior is not only reflected in the mind but also in the brain and body. While recent summaries of virtuous acts suggest that truth, altruism, and fairness confer a suite of psychological and health benefits to the benefactor, we suggest that lying, cheating, and stealing may do the opposite. We review research literatures on the neuroscience, psychophysiology, and endocrinology of dishonesty and suggest that, over time, dishonest behavior may be bad for our health.
Globally, fraud has been rising sharply over the last decade, with current estimates placing financial losses at greater than $3.7 trillion dollars annually. Unfortunately, fraud prevention has been stymied by lack of a clear and comprehensive understanding of its underlying causes and mechanisms. In this paper, we focus on an important but neglected topic – the biological antecedents and consequences of unethical conduct – using salivary collection of hormones (testosterone and cortisol). We hypothesized that pre-performance cortisol would interactwith pre-performance levels of testosterone to regulate cheating behavior in two studies. Further, based on the previously untested cheating-as-stress-reduction hypothesis, we predicted a dose-response relationship between cheating and reductions in cortisol and negative affect. Taken together, this research marks the first foray into the possibility that endocrine system activity plays an important role in the regulation of unethical behavior.
This paper examines how making deliberate efforts to regulate aversive affective responses influences people’s decisions in moral dilemmas. We hypothesize that emotion regulation — mainly suppression and reappraisal — will encourage utilitarian choices in emotionally charged contexts and that this effect will be mediated by the decision maker’s decreased deontological inclinations. In Study 1, we find that individuals who endorsed the utilitarian option (vs. the deontological option) were more likely to suppress their emotional expressions. In Studies 2a, 2b, and 3, we instruct participants to either regulate their emotions, using one of two different strategies (reappraisal vs. suppression), or not to regulate, and we collect data through the concurrent monitoring of psycho-physiological measures. We find that participants are more likely to make utilitarian decisions when asked to suppress their emotions rather than when they do not regulate their affect. In Study 4, we show that one’s reduced deontological inclinations mediate the relationship between emotion regulation and utilitarian decision making.
It is by now well known that political attitudes can be affected by emotions. Most earlier studies have focused on emotions generated by some political event (e.g. terrorism or increased immigration). However, the methods used in previous efforts have made it difficult to untangle the various causal pathways that might link emotions to information processing. In contrast, we focus on emotions incidental (i.e., irrelevant) to the decision process, allowing us to cleanly trace and estimate the effect of experimentally-induced anxiety on political beliefs. Further, we build upon innovative new work that links physiological reactivity (Oxley et al., 2008a) to information processing by using skin conductance reactivity as a measure of emotional arousal. We found that anxiety – generated by a video stimulus –significantly affected physiological arousal as measured by tonic skin conductance levels, and that higher physiological reactivity predicted more anti-immigration attitudes. We show that physiological reactivity mediated the relationship between anxiety and political attitudes.
People believe that weather conditions influence their everyday work life, but to date, little is known about how weather affects individual productivity. Most people believe that bad weather conditions reduce productivity. In this research, we predict and find just the opposite. Drawing on cognitive psychology research, we propose that bad weather increases individual productivity by eliminating potential cognitive distractions resulting from good weather. When the weather is bad, individuals may focus more on their work rather than thinking about activities they could engage in outside of work. We tested our hypotheses using both field and lab data. First, we use field data on employees’ productivity from a mid-size bank in Japan, which we then match with daily weather data to investigate the effect of bad weather conditions (in terms of precipitation, visibility, and temperature) on productivity. Second, we use a laboratory experiment to examine the psychological mechanism explaining the relationship between bad weather and increased productivity. Our findings support our proposed model and suggest that worker productivity is higher on bad rather than good weather days. We discuss the implications of our findings for workers and managers.
Cognitive scientists, behavior geneticists, and political scientists have identified several ways in which emotions influence political attitudes, and psychologists have shown that emotion regulation can have an important causal effect on physiology, cognition, and subjective experience. However, no work to date explores the possibility that emotion regulation may shape political ideology and attitudes toward policies. Here, we conduct four studies that investigate the role of a particular emotion regulation strategy – reappraisal in particular. Two observational studies show that individual differences in emotion regulation styles predict variation in political orientations and support for conservative policies. In the third study, we experimentally induce disgust as the target emotion to be regulated and show that use of reappraisal reduces the experience of disgust, thereby decreasing moral concerns associated with conservatism. In the final experimental study, we show that use of reappraisal successfully attenuates the relationship between trait-level disgust sensitivity and support for conservative policies. Our findings provide the first evidence of a critical link between emotion regulation and political attitudes.