The Message is on the Wall? Emotions, Social Media and the Dynamics of Institutional Complexity

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Academy of Management Journal, 2017
Issue Date:
2017-06-01
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In this paper we explore how emotions influence organizations in situations of institutional complexity. In particular we study members’ and leaders’ emotive responses and influence activities in response to a disruptive event that led to a violation of expectations. Our findings show that when people’s expectations of an organization’s actions are violated it can trigger a process of emotional escalation that leads to the destabilization of the organization through the emotional-laden influence activities of shaming and shunning. The violation in our case resulted in strong negative emotions expressed on Facebook. Facebook acted as an emotional echo chamber where negative emotions were amplified and led to members’ emotion-driven influence activities eventually triggering regret and adaptation by the organization. We discuss implications for the study of emotions in institutional dynamics
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