Anger in the workplace

An emotion script approach to anger episodes between workers and their superiors, co-workers and subordinates

Julie Fitness*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

254 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The overall aim of this study was to investigate laypeople's accounts of the causes, features, and consequences of workplace anger episodes and to examine similarities and differences amongst superiors', co-workers' and subordinates' anger experiences. One hundred and seventy-five respondents participated in structured interviews about a work-related anger episode with a superior, co-worker, or subordinate. Various features of the anger episodes differed according to the status of the respondent, with superiors angered by morally reprehensible behaviors and job incompetence, co-workers angered by morally reprehensible behaviors and public humiliation, and subordinates angered by unjust treatment. Subordinates were less likely than superiors to confront the anger target and more likely to consider the incident unresolved. Humiliating offences elicited more intense hate than non-humiliating offences; hate was also negatively associated with situational power and with a perceived successful resolution of the anger-eliciting event. Theoretical implications of the results are discussed in relation to the role of power in the experience and expression of anger in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-162
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Volume21
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000

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