Emotions and moods are an important part of human lives, especially work lives. But how do emotions and moods influence job performance and satisfaction? A model called affective events theory (AET) has increased our understanding of the links. AET demonstrates that employees react emotionally to things that happens to them at work and that this reaction influences their job performance and satisfaction.
The theory begins by recognizing that emotions are a response to an event in the work environment. The work environment includes everything surrounding the job – the variety of tasks and degree of autonomy, job demands, and requirements for expressing emotional labor. This environment creates work events that can be hassles, uplifts, or both. Examples of hassles are colleagues who refuse to carry their share of work, conflicting directions by different managers, and excessive time pressures. Examples of uplifting events include meeting a goal getting support from a colleague, and receiving recognition for an accomplishment.
These work events trigger positive or negative emotional reaction. But employees’ personalities and moods predisposes them to respond with greater or lesser intensity to the event. For instance, people who score low on emotional stability are more likely to react strongly to negative events. And their mood introduces the reality that their general cycle creates fluctuations. So a person’s emotional response to a given event can change depending on mood. Finally, emotions influence a number of performance and satisfaction variables such as organizational citizenship behavior, organizational commitment, level of effort, intentions to quit, and workplace deviance.
Characteristics of the job
Requirements for emotional labor
Job Satisfaction/ Job performance:
In addition, tests of the theory suggest that (1) an emotional episode is actually a series of emotional experiences precipitated by a single event. It contains elements of both emotions and mood cycles. (2) Current emotions influence job satisfaction at any given time, along with the history of emotions surrounding the event. (3) Because moods and emotions fluctuate over time, their effect on performance also fluctuates. (4) Emotion driven behaviors are typically short in duration and of high variability. (5) Because emotions, even positive ones, tend to be incompatible with behaviors required to do a job they typically have a negative influence on job performance.
Let us look at this example applicable during the last decade: You work as an automobile engineer for GM. Because of the downturn in the demand for Luxury cars, you’ve just learned that the company is considering laying off 10,000 employees. This layoff could include you. This event is, likely to make you feel negative emotions, especially when it comes to losing your job. The primary source emotions especially fear that you might lose your job and primary source of income. And because you’re prone to worry a lot and obsess about problems, this event increases your feelings of insecurity.
It also to place a series of smaller events that create an episode: You talk with your boss and he assures you that your job is safe; you hear rumors that your department is high on the list to be eliminated; you run into a former colleague who was laid off six months ago and still hasn’t found work. These events, in turn, create emotional ups and downs. One day you’re feeling more upbeat and that you’ll survive the cuts. The next day, you might be depressed and anxious. These emotional swings take attention away from your work and lower your job performance and satisfaction. Finally, your response is magnified because this is the third largest layoff that GM has initiated in the last three years.
Emotions provide valuable insights into understanding employee behavior. The model demonstrates how workplace hassles and uplifts influence employee performance and satisfaction. Employees and managers shouldn’t ignore emotions and the events that cause them, even when they appear to be minor, because they accumulate.