OB Applications on Emotions and Moods

In this article we are confining our discussion of emotions and moods by considering their specific application to OB. In this article, we assess how an understanding of emotions and moods can improve our ability to explain and predict the selection process in organizations, decision making, creativity motivation, leadership, interpersonal conflict, negotiation, customer service, job attitudes and deviant workplace behaviors. We also look at how managers can influence our moods.


One implication from the evidence to date on Emotional Intelligence (EI) is that employers should consider it a factor in hiring employees, especially in jobs that demand a high degree of social interaction. In fact, more and more employers are starting to use EI measures to hire people. A study of US Air Force recruiters showed that top performing recruiters exhibited high levels of EI. Using these findings, the Air Force revamped its selection criteria, A follow up investigation found that future hires who had high EI scores were 2.6 times more successful than those who didn’t. By using EI in selection, the Air Force was able to cut turnover rates among new recruiters in one year by more than 90 percent and save nearly $3 million in hiring and training costs. At L’Oreal, salespersons selected on EI scores outsold those hired using the company’s old selection procedure. On an annual basis, salespeople selected on the basis of emotional competence sold $91,370 more than other salespeople did, for a net revenue increase of $ 2,558,360.


People who are in good moods are more creative than people in bad moods, say some researchers. They produce more ideas, others think their ideas are original, and they tend to identify more creative options to problems.

It seems that people who are experiencing positive moods or emotions are more flexible and open in their thinking, which may explain why they’re more creative. Supervisors should actively try to keep employees happy because this will create more good moods. Employees like their leaders to encourage them and provide positive feedback on a job well done, which in turn leads people to be more creative.

Some researchers, however, do not believe that a positive mood makes people more creative. They argue that when people are in positive, moods, they may relax. If in a good mood, things must be going OK, and must not need to think of new ideas and not engage in the critical thinking necessary for some forms of creativity. However, this view is controversial. Until there are more studies on the subject, we can safely conclude that for many tasks, positive moods increase our creativity.

Motivation: Motivation theories propose that individual’s are motivated to the extent that their behavior is expected to lead to desired outcomes. The employee essentially trades effort for pay, security promotions, and so forth. But as the Affective Events theory demonstrated, people aren’t cold, feeling machines. Their perceptions and calculations of work events are filled with emotional content that significantly influences how much effort they exert. Moreover, when see people who are highly motivated in their jobs they’re emotionally committed. People who are engaged in their work become physically, cognitively, and emotionally immersed in the experience of activity in the pursuit of a goal.

Leadership: The ability to lead others is fundamental quality that organizations look for in employees.

Corporate executives know that emotional content is critical if employees are to buy into their vision of their company’s future and accept change. When higher-ups offer new visions especially when the visions contain distant or vague goals, it is often difficult for employees to accept those visions and the changes they’ll bring. So when effectively leaders want to implement significant changes they rely on the emotion framing and mobilization of emotions.

By arousing emotions and liking them to an appealing vision leaders increase the likelihood that managers and employees alike will accept change.

Interpersonal Conflict: Few issues are more intertwined with emotions than the topic of interpersonal conflict. Whenever conflicts arise between coworkers, you can be fairly certain that emotions are surfacing. A manager’s success is in trying to resolve conflicts.

Job attitudes: Ever hear the advice “Never take your work home with you, meaning that people should forget about their work once they go home? As it turns out, that’s easier said than done. Several studies have shown that people who had a good day at work tend to be in a better mood at home that evening. And people who had a bad day tend to be a bad mood once they’re at home. Evidence also suggests that people who have a stressful day at work have trouble relaxing once they get off work.

Even though people do emotionally take their work home, by the next day, the effect is usually gone. So, though it may be hard or even unnatural to never take your work home with you, it doesn’t appear that, for most people a negative mood resulting a bad day at work carries over to the next day.