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Emotions at work: what do people feel and how should we measure it?

Cynthia Fisher

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Cynthia D. Fisher (1997) Emotions at Work: What Do People Feel and How Should We Measure It?

School of Business Discussion Paper ; No. 63, Feb. 1997

© Copyright Cynthia D. Fisher and the School of Business, Bond University

Abstract

Affect at work is of increasing interest to organisational researchers. Prior research on felt affect at work has focused almost exclusively mood rather than emotion. As yet we have little knowledge about which emotions are felt or how frequently they are felt in the workplace, or of what their causes or consequences might be. There has not even been an instrument available for measuring emotion at work. This paper reports on a preliminary study designed as a lead-in to further research on emotion at work. One hundred sixteen people reported on the frequency with which they had experienced 135 different emotions while at work. Differences in the emotional experiences of female and male employees, part time and full time workers, and employees in five different job categories are explored. The data on emotion frequency, together with literature on typologies of emotions, are then used to construct a short self report instrument for assessing real-time emotional experiences at work. This instrument is presently being used in experience sampling research on emotion by the author.