Emotion meaning and emotion episodes in the Setswana language group in the North West Province
Mojaki, Lerato Pamela
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Emotions are the very heart of people's experiences. Moreover, emotions determine people’s focus because they influences people’s interests and define dimensions of people’s worlds across cultures. However, past research on emotions has argued about the meaning of basic emotions being relative or universal cross cultures. It seems as if researchers are avoiding the issues regarding the meaning of negative and positive emotions and how these emotions are expressed within a cross-cultural context. One of the biggest concerns is that if the descriptions of people’s positive and negative emotions are not understood, it becomes difficult for people from different cultural backgrounds to maintain healthy relationships and relate their emotions with one another. Apart from the lack of research regarding the meaning of emotions across cultures, emotion and emotion experiences in the extrinsic and intrinsic level to the employee, especially within the cross cultural context, is also an under researched topic in South African organisations. The reason for this is that organisations view emotions as a complicated subject to understand and tend to focus more on maintaining positive emotions at work rather than creating a stable emotional climate in an organisation for employees. The lack of creating a stable emotional climate within an organisation and addressing adverse discrete emotions and emotional experiences could have harmful effects on employees’ mental health and physical well-being. Furthermore, the absence of measuring instruments to investigate the emotions and emotional experiences of employees may result into experiencing painful personal incidents, lack of pride in one’s accomplishments, lack of engagement and commitment, negative behaviour and attitudes, and intentions to quit. These experiences might trigger any negative emotions such as anger, hate, irritation, disappointment, despair and frustrations. The above problem statement gave a reason to investigate whether the meaning of emotions differs across cultures or is the same cross culturally, to identify the meaning structure of emotions and to identify the emotions and emotion experience of the employees within the work environment’s extrinsic and intrinsic level experience to the individual. Therefore, the Componential Emotions Theory was a relevant theory to determine the meaning of emotions within the Tswana speaking group. The theory of determining emotions and emotion episodes by the Affective Events Theory was followed as a way of determining emotions and emotion experiences comprehensively in the Setswana speaking language group. The Componential Emotion Theory was adapted to provide a clarification of how people across cultures describe their emotion terms. According to the Componential Emotion Theory, emotion terms across cultures can be described through cognitive appraisal, subjective feelings, facial expressions, verbal expressions, gesture, bodily sensations, action tendencies and emotion regulation. Regarding the Affective Events Theory (AET), the theory suggests that emotion episodes at work can cause or be generated by either positive or negative emotions at work. The theory represents an understanding of how employees emotionally respond to certain emotion episodes that occur in various organisational settings. The following research objectives were formulated based on the above-mentioned description of the research problem. The research objectives were addressed into two research articles where study 1 (the meaning of emotion) was the first research article and study 2 (studying the emotion episodes and associated emotions) was the second research article. The objectives of study 1 were to determine the meaning of emotions as conceptualised in a literature review with specific reference to emotion dimensions; to determine how emotions and culture are conceptualised in a literature review with specific reference to the Setswana language group; to describe the Componential Emotion Theory in the literature as an approach to study the meaning of emotion in cultural contexts; to determine if the 24 emotion terms as measured by the Grid instrument, will refer to all components by revealing the meaning of an emotion structure in Setswana; to determine if the Meaning Grid will display acceptable alpha coefficients when compared with internationally studies having a value of 0, 80 and higher; to determine if the x meaning of emotion (as measured in the context of the Componential Emotion Theory approach) in a Setswana-speaking students sample will include the evaluation-pleasantness dimension; to determine if the meaning of emotion (as measured in the context of the Componential Emotion Theory approach) in a Setswana-speaking students sample will include the potency-control dimension; to determine if the meaning of emotion (as measured in the context of the Componential Emotion Theory approach) in a Setswana-speaking students sample will include the activation-arousal dimension; to determine if the meaning of emotion (as measured in the context of the Componential Emotion Theory approach) in a Setswana-speaking students sample will include the unpredictability dimension; and to draw conclusions and suggest future research about the meaning of emotion in the Setswana language group. In this part of the study, the sample consisted of (N=122) and was taken from a higher education institution in the North-West Province. A Setswana translated version of the shortened form of the Meaning Grid instrument was administered. Four pilot studies were conducted (Meaning Grid) which consisted of (N=28) and the data gathering was held in a higher education institution in the North West Province. After all four pilot studies had been conducted, the shortened form of the GRID (Translated in Setswana) was then administered using the paper and pencil method (61 emotion features). Furthermore, by utilising the SPSS program, Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was executed to determine the number of factors and indicate the emotion dimensions present in the Setswana language group. In terms of inter-rater reliability, the Cronbach-alpha for each respondent was calculated on their rating of emotion terms. A cut-off point for each item - total correlations of at least 0,20 - was used for inclusion for the final determination of reliability. In essence, it means that unreliable rates were dropped in order to keep the reliability high. The Componential Emotion Theory of Scherer (1987) was applied and indicated a four-factor model that should first be extracted namely: evaluation-pleasantness, activation-arousal, potency-control and unpredictability. However, examination of a three and four factorial extraction was not interpretable. The two emotion words, namely sadness and shame, were eliminated because they were outliers in the rotations done. Further inspection of the Scree-plot indicated that a two factor solution should be extracted. A principal component analysis (PCA) xi (done on the mean corrected scores) were therefore computed for two factors after a varimax rotation – which was interpretable as Evaluation-pleasantness and potency-control dimensions. The results and the interpretation of the two components (dimensions) are based on their relationship with the 61 emotion features. A further analysis was done to determine the component loadings of the 24 Grid emotion term on each factor. This gave an indication of the position of the emotion terms on the specific factors (evaluation-pleasantness and potency control dimensions). Furthermore, the positions of each emotion term in relation with other emotions were graphically represented in a scatter plot. The objectives of study 2 were to conceptualise emotions at work as from a literature research; To determine the relevance of discrete emotions, emotion episodes and the use of the Affective Events Theory for the work context as presented in the research literature; to determine emotion episodes that are experienced in the workplace by Setswana employees; to determine emotion episodes and associated emotions reported on an extrinsic level of Setswana speaking working adults; to determine emotion episodes and associated emotions reported on an intrinsic level of Setswana speaking working adults; and to draw conclusions and make suggestions for future research about the emotion episodes and related emotions of Setswana employees. Within this part of the study a non-probability availability sample (N= 120) was taken from the mining industry, tourism industry, and community services including the government, manufacturing, agriculture, construction and the infrastructure industry. A pilot study was utilised as a prerequisite for the successful execution, and completion of this research study allowed the researcher to acquire thorough background knowledge about specific problems that the researcher intended to investigate. Thereafter, the Tswana employees understood the questions and could report without effort on emotion episodes at work that they experienced. Data collection was done through the Episode Grid, and two questions on emotion episodes were used for collecting emotion episodes in Setswana namely: the participants had to report their most intense emotion episode that they have experienced within their workplace in detail, for example, what happened? How did the episode begin? How did it evolve? How did it end? Secondly, the participants were asked to describe the three most important emotions or feelings xii that were experienced in the particular event. The described episodes were then categorised into different categories on intrinsic and extrinsic level experienced to the individual. Furthermore, the specific episodes were divided into two types of category levels namely extrinsic emotion episodes and intrinsic emotion episodes. The categories that were found on the extrinsic level concerning emotion episodes at work were acts of management, acts of colleagues, company procedure/company policy, acts of customers, work procedure, external environment and acts of subordinates. Concerning the intrinsic level about emotion episodes at work, the categories that were found included task problems/making mistakes, personal incidents, goal achievement, receiving recognition, physical incidents, discrimination, workload and lack of control. The emotions that were experienced on the extrinsic level comprised emotion terms such as anger, disappointment, anxiety, hurt, irritation, disgust, annoyance, fear, sadness, despair, worry, frustration, embarrassment, shame, hate, stress and anxiety. Regarding the emotions experienced on the intrinsic level, the emotion terms that were described included anger, disappointment, anxiety, hurt irritation, fear, sadness, despair, frustration, hate, pride, stress, compassion, guilt and happiness.