An investigation of emotion experiences at work : a critical incident technique approach
Orientation: Emotions at work have been considered as an important facet of employees’ work life. However, research regarding the investigation of the emotion experiences at work per se has been lacking. Research Purpose: The general objective of this study is to critically investigate what emotion events are experienced and how these events are appraised for them to result in specific emotions. Motivation for the study: Currently a lack of research regarding emotion experiences as a process exists. Research design, approach and method: To investigate emotion experiences as a process a Qualitative study was conducted among one hundred (n=100) professional mining employees using The Critical Incident Technique Approach. Main findings: 84% of the participants experienced negative emotion events and a mere 14% of participants experienced positive emotion events at work. Negative emotion events were appraised as negative and participants indicated not having control or power over the events, yet adaption was possible. Negative emotions included: anger, disgust and sadness. Positive emotion events were appraised as positive even though the participants reported not having control or power over the situation. Participant did report being able to live with the consequences. Positive emotions provoked included joy, pleasure and pride. Practical/managerial implications: When the emotion experiences of employees are investigated as a process, better understanding of emotions will be gained which will enable the implementation of the most appropriate interventions to fulfil individual needs and reaching organisational goals. Contribution/value-adding: Existing research on the emotion experience as a process has been lacking especially in the South African context. This study will thus contribute to research regarding the investigation of the emotion experience as a process and not mere independent components.