Emotion Regulation in the Workplace: A Cultural Perspective

Mathai, Mariya (2022) Emotion Regulation in the Workplace: A Cultural Perspective. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Emotions are central to social relationships and their expression is a way of participating in the social world. In times of globalization, where organizations are increasingly transnational in nature, it is crucial to study emotions at work in an intercultural context. The participants of this study are Indian employees working in Western Multinational Corporations (MNCs) in India. The Indian culture and western cultures have differences in the level and acceptance of hierarchy, and the social framework. The difference in both cultures can lead to a collision of values and an uncomfortable sense of discord, disharmony, confusion, or conflict (cultural dissonance) for the employees. The aim of the research is to examine the factors that influence emotion regulation in this specific research context, understand the experience of cultural dissonance, the emotion regulation implications of cultural dissonance, and the strategies to reduce it. Data was collected from 41 semi-structured interviews using Critical Incident Technique (CIT). The interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Findings confirmed that factors such as cultural values, gender, leadership, and professional expectations had a profound impact on the emotional regulation process. In addition, job insecurity also influenced the emotion regulation process. Findings on cultural dissonance showed employees in Western MNCs in India experience two different types of cultural dissonance: the first type of cultural dissonance is when employees identified with the national culture, but the group identified with the organizational culture (type1), and the second type of cultural dissonance was when employees identified with the organizational culture, but the group identified with the national culture (type 2). Findings also suggested that organizational socialisation was an effective dissonance reduction strategy for the first type of cultural dissonance. On the other hand, individuals who experienced the second type of cultural dissonance usually experienced an emotional dissonance. Drawing from self-affirmation theory and self-consistency theory, when participants’ culturally valued sense of self was threatened and they cannot immediately affirm this aspect of their self, it led to another form of dissonance.

Key words: Emotion regulation, culture, cultural dissonance, cross-cultural management

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2023 09:41
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2023 09:41
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/91526

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