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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Emotional fit in the workplace : its psychological and behavioural outcomes Ozcelik, Hakan

Abstract

Prior research has looked at emotions in organizational life mostly at the individual level, providing us with little information about their role as a contextual factor in organizations. In this dissertation, I sought to fill this gap by developing the concept of emotional fit which I define as the congruence between the activation levels of an employee's affective trait and the emotional climate of their workplace environment. Drawing on a number of streams of research including the circumplex model of affect, activation theory, emotional exhaustion, psychological safety, and ego depletion theory, I developed and empirically tested a model analyzing how emotional fit affects an employee's psychological and behavioral engagement at work. The model proposes that emotional fit is positively related to an employee's connection with others, connection with work, and performance through the mediating effects of emotional exhaustion and psychological safety. To test the theoretical model, I conducted a cross-level field study. The research design is cross-level in that one component (i.e. emotional climate) of the independent variable (i.e. emotional fit) was analyzed at the level of the workplace context and then was compared with the other component (i.e. affective trait), measured at the level of the individual employee. I collected data from 257 employees within 40 work units across a variety of companies operating in sectors such as trade, forestry, high-tech, finance, and courier service. The data regarding the task and role performance of employees were collected from supervisors. Overall, the results show that an employee's degree of emotional fit is positively related to his/her psychological engagement at work with regards to connection with others and connection with work, but not task and role performance. In terms of connection with others, emotional fit was positively related to commitment and negatively related to surface acting. As for the connection with work domain, emotional fit was negatively related to psychological withdrawal behaviors and intention for turnover. Supporting the theoretical model, these relationships were mediated by emotional exhaustion and psychological safety.

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