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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4532||2011||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 116, Issue 1, September 2011, Pages 2–16
Emotions carry social influence, as evident by emotion contagion – an unconscious process attributed to mimicking of non-verbal cues. We investigate whether emotion contagion can occur in virtual teams; specifically, the emotional influence of text-based and behavior-based cues on participants’ emotion in 4-person virtual teams. In a 2 × 2 design a confederate textually communicated anger or happiness, while behaving in a resolute or flexible pattern. The team task required negotiation offering a performance based reward. We demonstrate that emotion contagion occurs in teams even when communication is only text-based. We show that behaviors are perceived as emotionally charged, resolute behavior interpreted as a display of anger, and flexibility as a display of happiness. Moreover, we demonstrate that incongruence between text-based communication of emotion and emotionally charged behaviors elicits negative emotion in fellow teammates. Our findings extend the boundaries of emotion contagion and carry implications for understanding emotion dynamics in virtual teams.
Emotions are known to have social influence in domains such as leadership, negotiation, and conflict (e.g., Parkinson, 1996 and Van Kleef, 2009). One way in which this influence occurs is through the phenomenon of emotion contagion – a powerful and fundamentally unconscious process (Hatfield et al., 1992 and Neumann and Strack, 2000) commonly attributed to automatic mimicking of non-verbal cues (e.g., Hatfield et al., 1992 and Totterdell, 2000). Emotion contagion has been documented in individual and group interactions (e.g., Barsade, 2002, Neumann and Strack, 2000 and Pugh, 2001), but the boundaries within which it is likely to occur are unclear. Our broad research question deals with the dynamics of emotional influence in the absence of non-verbal cues. Specifically, we address three related questions: (1) Can emotion contagion occur when communication is only text-based? (2) Do individuals interacting in mediums with limited non-verbal cues interpret behaviors of others as conveying emotional cues? (3) Can emotional effects of behaviors change the effects of direct, text-based communication of emotion? All of our analyses deal with dynamics in teams, where people work together on a team goal and depend on others for both individual and team performance. Below, we first briefly discuss the meaning of emotion as operationalized within this paper, and the ways in which it both differs from and overlaps with the related concepts of affect and mood. We follow this with an overview of what the literature can tell us about emotion contagion in text-based (rather than face-to-face) communication. Next, we suggest that emotion can be communicated through both language and behaviors that are emotionally charged, and we consider what happens when there is incongruence between emotions communicated through text and through behavior. We then present a test of our predictions using an experimental simulation of virtual teams. We show that anger and happiness can be transferred to others through emotion contagion even in text-based communication. We further show that resoluteness and flexibility are read as expressions of anger and happiness, and that incongruence between language and these emotionally charged behaviors evokes negative emotions in team members.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study addressed three research questions: (1) Can emotion contagion occur when communication is only text-based? (2) Do interpersonal behaviors influence the emotions people attribute to others? (3) How is the emotion of others influenced by the congruence (or incongruence) between the emotions conveyed in text-based communication and behaviors that are perceived to be emotionally charged? Our empirical study of virtual teams working on a negotiation task demonstrates that emotion contagion does occur when communication is only text-based, that behaviors of others are assessed as conveying emotion, and that incongruence between verbal and behavioral cues to emotion has a negative influence on several aspects of team emotion. These findings challenge but also extend the presumption that non-verbal cues are the critical mechanism for the communication of emotion. The challenge lies in that we position text-based communication as fully able to inspire emotion contagion. The extension lies in that we highlight aspects of behavior that on the surface seem completely divorced from emotion – resoluteness and flexibility – as potential cues to emotion. To our knowledge, this study is the first to show contagion to occur in teams relying only on text-based electronic communication. Our results show that both happiness and anger can spread in teams communicating via text, despite previous findings that individuals overestimate their ability to convey emotion in text-based communication (Kruger et al., 2005). Emotion contagion has previously been documented in computer-mediated communication (Hancock et al., 2008); however, that work focused on dyads in particular, and involved richer communication options (synchronicity) which were not present in our study. We tested a more impoverished communication channel (Daft & Lengel, 1986) – asynchronous text-based email – and we focused on four-member teams, in which the emotion of one member (a confederate) was “caught” by the other members. Comparison to a control condition, where all teammates were naïve and all emotional expressions were authentic and spontaneous, confirms that one individual on a team can increase the negative or positive affect of fellow members and of the team as a whole. Our results promote the understanding of affect dynamics in computer-mediated communication (Byron, 2008 and Hancock et al., 2008) and beyond. As noted by Staples and Webster (2008) and Webster and Wong (2008), the use of electronic means of communication, and more specifically email, is not characteristic of virtual teams alone, but is present today in any form of teamwork. Therefore, our findings regarding emotion contagion based on textual communication and the emotional charge of behavior are relevant to all teamwork. Building on Epstude and Mussweiler (2009) and Parkinson and Simons (2009), it may be that in the absence of non-verbal cues, people naturally compare themselves to others and use these comparisons as cues for their own emotions. That is, when facing a novel situation, like the participants in our experiment, people search for cues about how they ought to feel. The absence of non-verbal cues triggers a spontaneous process of social comparison (Mussweiler and Epstude, 2009 and Mussweiler et al., 2004) based on whatever sources of information are available – in this case, the affective tone of others’ text-based communication and/or behavior. A key strength of our study is the use of multiple level measures of emotion contagion. In addition to the traditional measures of individual-level NA and PA, we used both a “bottom-up” measure of group affect (aggregated individual responses) and a group-level measure (coding of all interactions among members). The results were similar with all three measures, adding reliability to our findings. One technique we did not employ in this study is the “top-down” perspective, in which outside observers provide top-down ratings of overall group affect (see Barsade, 2002, Barsade and Gibson, 1998 and Bartel and Saavedra, 2000). This is clearly an important angle, but we must leave it for future research. A finding we did not expect is the increased participant NA at Time 2 in all of the experimental conditions, including the control. It may be that participants felt greater negative affect at the end of the session because they felt the task was overly complex or frustrating. But the increased negative affect may also be a reflection of the negativity bias mentioned by Byron (2008), wherein negative email communications draw readers’ attention and so have a stronger effect than positive messages. We did find that a happy team member can enhance the happiness of fellow team members. But our results suggest that relying solely on written communications from people working on a complex task is likely to lead to negative emotions. Emotionally charged behaviors as cues to others’ emotion Our study advances the classic notion that emotions and behaviors are intertwined (Frijda, 1988 and James, 1884), taking this concept to another realm. We look at the social aspect of emotion and show that people infer the emotions of others based on observation of their behavior. In this, our study furthers the traditional notion that non-verbal cues convey emotion (Mehrabian, 1972). Our theory and results identify behavioral styles that have an “emotional charge,” at least in terms of the emotion attributions and reactions they evoke in other people. Specifically, we show that in a negotiation setting, behavior that is resolute inspires an assessment that others are angry, while flexible behavior conveys an impression of happiness. Our study shows that the influence of these behaviors is distinct from the effects of textual communication of emotion. Thus, behaviors may now be viewed as indirect expressions of emotion, additional to direct verbal communications. Ekman’s work (Ekman, 2009 and Ekman et al., 1976) has long showed facial, body and voice cues to be valuable indirect indicators of emotion. We extend this to suggest that general patterns of work behavior, such as resoluteness or flexibility in a negotiation situation, are also read as cues to emotion, or at least also influence the emotion attributed to others (Hareli & Rafaeli, 2008). Our results further show that others’ behavior can enhance or interfere with the effects of the verbal text they use to convey emotion. Specifically, an incongruence of behavior and text elevates observers’ negative affect. Put simply, people have a hard time when others’ actions do not match their words. It seems intuitive that such incongruence engenders anger or frustration in face-to-face interactions. We show that such negative emotions surface when confusion is created by mismatched verbal and behavioral cues even in interactions involving only text-based communication. In this regard, it is interesting that at the individual level, participants’ negative affect increased more in the Angry Flexible than in the Angry Resolute conditions. This seems counter-intuitive, as one might assume that the key issue for participants in our trading game should have been whether needed resources were difficult or easy to obtain. This would be captured most by the confederate’s behavior (holding firm vs. easy agreement), meaning that under this assumption, negative affect should have been greatest when a resolute behavioral style was augmented by verbal communication of anger. However, that is not what we found. It may be that the incongruence effect discussed earlier is sufficient to explain this finding. However, we may also look for insight from another area – namely, the availability of cognitive resources. Van Kleef and colleagues (2004b) found that when individuals were less motivated or were working under time constraints, they paid less attention to the emotions of others. In our case, it may be that the Angry Resolute condition was more cognitively taxing than the Angry Flexible condition, and that participants therefore paid less attention to emotional signals from their negotiation partners. Under the Angry Flexible condition, by this reasoning, participants would have had more available cognitive resources, and therefore were able to pay more attention to emotional signals. Limitations Our study has several limitations that call for further research. First, the design of our study did not allow us to unravel whether what we were observing had to do more with the detection or the attribution of emotion. Detection of text-based, computer-mediated emotion has been documented (e.g., Hancock et al., 2008). To our knowledge there has been no research on the detection of emotion from charged behaviors. This was also outside the scope of the current research, since we did not measure how participants displaying resolute or flexible behavior actually felt. We only know that when people (both the confederate and other participants) displayed resoluteness they were viewed as angry, and when they displayed flexibility they were viewed as happy. Second, for convenience and to ease the analysis process, our study involved a single type of electronic communication and limited scope for non-verbal cues. Future research might explore whether our findings hold up in contexts involving richer media options and greater room for non-verbal signaling (Daft & Lengel, 1986). Third, the groups we studied were not truly virtual teams. All participants were in the same lab together, and although they did not interact face-to-face during the experiment, they were physically in the same room. Additionally, the team interaction we studied was condensed and relatively rapid, hardly the case in many virtual teams, where geography (e.g., differences in time zone) tends to slow down communication, and where tasks may take days, weeks or months to accomplish. The interactions in our study were longer and less controlled than in many lab studies, extending the external validity of our findings. Here as well, however, further research with real-world teams would be an important extension of our effort. A fourth potential limitation is that the Resolute conditions by default generated more interactions, which may have given rise to a sense of greater time pressure in participants. We know, for example, that reaching an agreement with a resolute confederate took longer than with confederates in the Flexible conditions. This could not be avoided, as negotiating with a partner who stands his or her ground – the definition of resoluteness – by nature requires repeated attempts at persuasion. However, we are certain that participants in all conditions had ample time to complete the task, so that even if some participants had a subjective sense of time pressure, this was not an objective limitation to task performance. Finally, we could not, within the scope of this study, examine the effects of the emotion dynamics we depict on task performance. Emotion has been shown to influence group performance when non-verbal cues are available (e.g., Barsade, 2002 and Totterdell, 2000). We provide evidence that emotion spreads in virtual teams, and that behavior in such teams has emotional effects. A critical next step is to examine effects of these emotion dynamics on individual and team performance.