The place and role of (moral) anger in organizational behavior studies
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Abstract© 2015 The Authors Journal of Organizational Behavior Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The aim of this article is to conceptually delineate moral anger from other related constructs. Drawing upon social functional accounts of anger, we contend that distilling the finer nuances of morally motivated anger and its expression can increase the precision with which we examine prosocial forms of anger (e.g., redressing injustice), in general, and moral anger, in particular. Without this differentiation, we assert that (i) moral anger remains theoretically elusive, (ii) that this thwarts our ability to methodologically capture the unique variance moral anger can explain in important work outcomes, and that (iii) this can promote ill-informed organizational policies and practice. We offer a four-factor definition of moral anger and demonstrate the utility of this characterization as a distinct construct with application for workplace phenomena such as, but not limited to, whistle-blowing. Next, we outline a future research agenda, including how to operationalize the construct and address issues of construct, discriminant, and convergent validity. Finally, we argue for greater appreciation of anger's prosocial functions and concomitant understanding that many anger displays can be justified and lack harmful intent. If allowed and addressed with interest and concern, these emotional displays can lead to improved organizational practice. © 2015 The Authors Journal of Organizational Behavior Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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Expressive Language as a Prospective Predictor of Externalizing Behaviors: Profiles of Preschool-aged Children's Competencies as Moderating InfluencesDrabick, Deborah A.; Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy; Kendall, Philip C.; Marshall, Peter J.; McCloskey, Michael S.; Weinraub, Marsha (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)Relations between preschool-aged children’s expressive language ability and externalizing behaviors remain poorly understood and may be moderated by other influences, including child sex, temperamental anger/frustration, receptive language, and adaptive communication skill (i.e., “real-world” usage of language). The present study used person- and variable-centered approaches to (a) identify meaningful classes of children based on these attributes, and (b) test for class-specific differences in the relation between expressive language and later externalizing behaviors. Participants were 144 preschool-aged children (M = 47.43 months; 51% male) who were recruited from semirural Head Start centers and assessed at two time points, approximately five months apart. Latent class analysis identified three classes of children: (a) the Typical Language/Higher Anger class (average language/communication abilities and higher anger/frustration), (b) the High Communication/Average Anger class (only female children with high adaptive communication and otherwise average attributes), and (c) the Verbally Competent/Lower Anger class (high language/communication abilities and lower anger/frustration). Expressive language negatively predicted Time 2 externalizing behaviors more strongly among the High Communication/Average Anger class, compared to the Typical Language/Higher Anger class. Across the entire sample, there was a negative predictive relation between expressive language and Time 2 externalizing behaviors, which was moderated by anger/frustration and adaptive communication. Overall, among children with competent skills in expressive language and at least one additional domain (e.g., higher adaptive communication, lower anger/frustration), higher expressive language more strongly predicted lower levels of Time 2 externalizing behaviors, relative to children with fewer concurrent competencies. Higher levels of expressive language were not related—or were less strongly related—to later externalizing behaviors among children with fewer concurrent competencies. Results underscore the proximal role of temperamental and adaptive communicative attributes in supporting expressive language usage and suggest different intervention strategies for children with different configurations of attributes.
A Model of Workplace Anger Response CyclesGeddes, Deanna; Deckop, John Raymond; Blau, Gary J.; Gibson, Donald E. (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)Anger is considered a basic emotion, evoked typically by something that interferes with the person's execution of plans or attainment of goals, as well as the perception of harm and unfair circumstances or behavior (Shaver, Schwartz, Kirson, & O'Connor, 1987). Research examining anger is largely focused on negative individual and organizational outcomes, such as raised blood pressure and heart disease, decreased productivity, reduced job satisfaction and increased job stress, and aggressive responses (Geddes & Callister, 2007; Gibson, Schweitzer, Callister, & Gray, 2009). However, the paradoxical nature of anger--having the capacity of both negative and positive consequences--is increasingly acknowledged by influential scholars (Geddes & Callister, 2007; Gibson & Callister, 2010; Miron-Spektor & Rafaeli, 2009). For instance, both theory and data point out that anger expression can have important adaptive functions such as signaling that goals are blocked, communicating to others that their actions are viewed as threatening, and mobilizing protective actions when dealing with a perceived threat (Averill, 1983; Izard, 1993; Tafrate, Kassinove, & Dundin, 2002). In addition, most research on consequences of anger expression in the workplace focuses on individuals' characteristics and the intensity of the expression of anger. This focus, however, doesn't capture the significant social components of emotions including how their expression shapes the emotions, thoughts and behaviors of others (Hareli & Rafaeli, 2008; Parkinson, Fischer, & Manstead, 2005). The goal of this dissertation is to advance understanding of the complexity of workplace anger expression, focusing specifically on outcomes and social components of emotions. To do this, the dissertation proposes a Model of Workplace Anger Response Cycles (WARC). The model shows that the outcomes of anger expression are influenced by the interaction of the expresser and a social partner and the context where this interaction occurs--e.g. organizational culture, emotional climate, and anger expression tolerance. In addition, the model proposes that these interactions form emotional cycles and identifies factors that affect the association of anger expression and its positive or negative outcomes, namely, intensity of the message, characteristics of the individuals involved and their relationship. Given the complexity and number of variables included in the WARC model, only some were studied empirically for this dissertation. The empirical study reported here involved collection of data from full and part time employees (n=177) through on-line surveys, which were analyzed using Partial Least Square Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM). The results show the salience of relationship quality, observer response, power, and gender in the explanation of outcomes of anger expression in the workplace. In particular, results support existing evidence that female expressions of anger are negatively judged compared to those by male (e.g., Brescoll & Uhlmann, 2008; Gibson, Schweitzer, Callister, & Gray, 2009; Lewis, 2000). Furthermore, findings indicate that even in organizations where anger expressions are more accepted, in general, expressions of anger by females are less welcome than those from males. Additionally, this study provides further evidence that when anger is expressed to a lower power individual, results are more positive--i.e., anger feelings are reduced and problematic situations improve--than when anger is expressed to a higher power individual (Fitness, 2000; Kuppens, Van Mechelen, & Meulders, 2004; Van Kleef & Côté, 2007). Finally, findings of this study show that relationship quality among the interactants is critical to explain the outcomes of anger expression. Furthermore, results show that relationship quality effects are partially mediated by observer response, and moderated by zone of anger tolerance. Thus, results confirm the underlying general hypothesis of this work, that emotional experiences and consequent related interactions are strongly tied to context characteristics. Therefore, to truly understand this type of phenomena and be able to predict results, consideration of multi-level variables must be integrated to the analysis.
The Time Course of Anger: An Experimental InvestigationMcCloskey, Michael S.; Giovannetti, Tania; Drabick, Deborah A.; Fauber, Robert L.; Efran, Jay S.; Schaffer, Matthew (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)Conceptualizations of anger have suffered from a lack of research investigating the temporal dynamics of anger episodes. Furthermore, though some studies have provided valuable insights into the time course of anger, no study to date has utilized a standardized laboratory paradigm designed to mimic an interpersonal provocation. The purpose of this study was to characterize the time course of the affective, physiological, and behavioral components of anger in response to a standardized provocation. Our second aim was to assess potential effects of trait anger, trait aggression, trait hostility, and emotion regulation deficits on the time course of the different components of anger. Participants (n = 82) engaged in the Modified Taylor Aggression Paradigm (MTAP), a laboratory measure of anger/aggression in which provocation is manipulated by varying electric shocks selected for the participant by an (unbeknownst to the participant) fictitious opponent. This study utilized a modified version of the classic TAP that simulated an acute interpersonal provocation that one might encounter in the “real world.” Subjective anger, physiological arousal (as evidenced by heart rate [HR], galvanic skin response [GSR], and high-frequency heart rate variability [HF HRV]), and the behavioral expression of anger (aggression) were measured throughout the task before, during and after provocation. Consistent with previous research, results showed that the rise time to peak levels of most outcome variables was significantly faster than the return time from peak back to baseline. Additionally, results showed that the majority of the time course variables were not correlated with one another providing evidence for the idea that different components of anger have independent time courses. Contrary to our hypotheses, trait variables were largely unrelated to time course variables. The current study provides further evidence for the relationship between the rise time and return time in the time course of subjective, physiological and behavioral manifestations of anger using a standardized and ecologically valid provocation task.