Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions,
and can never pretend to any other office than to serve
and obey them.
— David Hume
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
Differentiate emotions from moods.
Discuss the different aspects of
Discuss the impact emotional labor
has on employees.
Identify the sources of emotions and
Discuss the case for and the case
against emotional intelligence.
Apply concepts on emotions and
moods to OB issues.
Describe external constraints on
Emotions Can Be Powerful
teve Wynn, the famous hotel
on the grounds of his flagship hotel and
mogul, is an emotional person.1
casino, The Mirage. At the same time,
He is known for his infectious
while Wynn was in charge of the
enthusiasm, as well as his temper. He once
Mirage, it was high on Fortune’s
shot off his index finger in his office. And
list of America’s Most Admired
when describing his new $2.7 billion hotel,
which he named after himself, he broke
Interestingly, in contrast
into a song from a musical.When have you
to Wynn’s volatile person-
ever seen a CEO do that? Wynn’s also given
ality, his new hotel is
to making outlandish statements. He said
meant to appeal to peo-
of his new hotel, “This building is more
ple’s desire for calm-
complex than any other structure in the
ness. Gone are the
history of the world.” He also once com-
exotic public displays,
mented, smiling, that “Las Vegas is sort of
like how God would do it if he had money.”
and caged tigers, that
Many regard Wynn as the most power-
ful man in Nevada, largely because he can
hotels. He even says
both inspire and scare people. One politi-
that he’d get rid of the
cian stated, “Steve Wynn’s control over
casinos if he could. No
politicians is all-encompassing. It’s over-
casinos in a Las Vegas
whelming. Either you work for him or he
hotel? Could Steve Wynn
tries to get you out of office.”
be bluffing? ■
Those who know Wynn say his temper
can erupt as fiercely as the volcano he put
t’s probably safe to assume that most of us are not as given to emotional extremes as Steve Wynn. If we were, could we be as successful as he in our professions? Given the obvious role that emotions play in our work and everyday lives, it might surprise you to learn that, until recently, the field of OB has given the topic of emotions little or no attention.2 How could this be? We can offer two possible explanations.
The first is the myth of rationality.3 Since the late nineteenth century and the rise of scientific management, the protocol of the work world has been to keep a damper on emotions. A well-run organization was one that didn’t allow employees to express frustration, fear, anger, love, hate, joy, grief, and similar feelings. The prevailing thought was that such emotions were the antithesis of rationality. Even though researchers and managers knew that emotions were an inseparable part of everyday life, they tried to create organizations that were emotion-free. That, of course, wasn’t possible.
The second explanation was the belief that emotions of any kind are disruptive.4 When researchers considered emotions, they looked at strong, negative emotions—especially anger—that interfered with an employee’s ability to work effectively. They rarely viewed emotions as constructive or able to enhance performance.
Certainly some emotions, particularly when exhibited at the wrong time,...