Tit for tat: Using negative emotions strategically to address negative feedback at workplace

By | 3 décembre 2018

When supervisors have to provide employees with negative feedback, the situation can easily turn into an interpersonal conflict. To prevent such conflicts, it is useful to identify factors that facilitate the communication of negative feedback. Together with Pinar Çelik and Nils Myszkowski, Professor Martin investigated how negative emotions expressed by an employee in response to negative feedback from his/her supervisor can facilitate supervisor-employee interactions.

According to functional theories of emotions, each emotion possesses specific functional properties. For instance, anger is an energetic emotion that tends to communicate agentic intentions. On the contrary, sadness is a more passive emotion that tends to communicate communal intentions. One could therefore argue the social value of expressing anger or sadness depends on the content of the negative feedback.

In two experimental studies, we found that targets who expressed sadness (vs. anger) in response to negative warmth evaluations, as well as targets who expressed anger (vs. sadness) in response to negative competence evaluations contributed to more fluent supervisor-employee interactions, and were perceived as more persuasive by supervisors. Our findings suggest that targets of negative feedback could strategically use negative emotions to achieve better outcomes in social interactions.

 

To read the original article:

Çelik, P., Storme, M. & Myszkowski, N. (2016). Anger and sadness as adaptive emotion expression strategies in response to negative competence and warmth evaluations. British Journal of Social Psychology, 55(4), 792-810. 

 

Professor Storme is one member of ICoN. You can find more information about ICoN team members here:

ICoN Team

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts/articles are those of the author (s) alone and do not represent those of IÉSEG School of Management /ICON. ICON welcomes all feedback and comment on articles posted on this blog: icon@ieseg.fr.

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