Consequences of employee attributions in the workplace: The role of emotional intelligence

Consequences of employee attributions in the workplace: The role of emotional intelligence,Paul Harvey,Marie T. Dasborough

Consequences of employee attributions in the workplace: The role of emotional intelligence   (Citations: 6)
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attributions, emotional reactions, and subsequent behaviors. Our theoretical model is based on past research on attribution theory and recent work on emotional intelligence. Specifically, we suggest that the relationship between attributions, affect, and behavioral outcomes may be moderated by an individual's level of emotional intelligence. We begin by providing an overview of research on attribution theory, the relationship between attributions and emotions, and emotional intelligence. We then present our theoretical model of affective reactions to workplace events. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of this process for several facets of organizational research, including motivation (empowerment and learned helplessness), stress, deviance, and aggression. In order to manage the scope of the paper, our discussion will focus on employees' perceptions of negative outcomes. We reason that these outcomes are of heightened interest for two reasons. First, as noted by Adams (1965) and Festinger (1957), negative outcomes are more likely than positive ones to trigger an in-depth cognitive evaluation process because they are less likely to be anticipated. For this reason, the attributional framework developed in this paper may be less relevant when positive outcomes occur. Second, the psychological and behavioral ramifications, including stress, workplace deviance, and aggression, resulting from negative outcomes can be far more severe than those cued by positive outcomes (Martinko & Gardner, 1987). We present a theoretical model of attributions and emotions, and the behavioral and psychological con- sequences of these in the workplace.Expanding on Weiner's (1985) framework, we argue that emo- tional intelligence plays a moderating role in the attribution-emotion-behavior process. Specifically, the emotional intelligence dimensions of perception, facilitation, and understanding emotion are posi- ted to moderate the relationship between outcome-dependent affect and attribution formation. Further, the emotion management dimension of emotional intelligence is argued to moderate the relationship between attributions and subsequent emotional responses. These emotional responses are then argued to influence behavioral, motivational, and psychological consequences in the workplace. Consecuencias de las atribuciones de los empleados en el lugar de trabajo: el papel de la inteligen- cia emocional. Presentamos un modelo teórico de las atribuciones y emociones, y las consecuencias psicológicas y comportamentales de ambas en el lugar de trabajo. Ampliando el marco propuesto por Weiner (1985), sugerimos que la inteligencia emocional juega un papel moderador en el proceso de atribución-emoción-conducta. Específicamente, para las dimensiones de inteligencia emocional per- cepción, facilitación y comprensión de las emociones proponemos su papel moderador entre la rela- ción del estado de ánimo dependiente de los resultados y la formación de atribuciones. Más aún, para la dimensión de inteligencia emocional manejo de las emociones proponemos su papel moderador en la relación entre las atribuciones y las respuestas emocionales posteriores. La influencia de estas res- puestas emocionales en las consecuencias comportamentales, motivacionales y psicológicas en el lu- gar de trabajo es justificada.
Published in 2006.
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