People are not robots. As much as people and employers might want to create a façade of emotionless work, it is denying the reality of humanness, which could hinder work performance. Nevertheless, many displays of emotion at work are considered taboo. Laura, a 22-year-old customer service worker, spoke of fear and anger to have the most impact in controlling her work environment (Judge & Robbins, 2012, p. 124). The range of acceptable emotional expression is narrow, but anger seems to be preferable to sadness. For women hoping to succeed in business, crying is not an option. Laura adheres to these unspoken rules for fear of being thought of as weak or unable to do her job.
According to research, coworkers and management have a greater negative impact emotionally on employees than customers (Judge & Robbins, 2012, p. 124). Furthermore, 88 percent of employees believe that being sensitive to the emotional needs of their coworkers would benefit the workplace. If this is the case, why is it still a norm to keep emotional expressiveness to a minimum?
The problem employers face is whether encouraging freedom of emotional expression will invariably lead to a higher number of outbursts, which could also deter productive behavior on the job (Judge & Robbins, 2012, p. 124). Employees generally feel compelled to exercise restraint when they feel like crying or expressing another unfavorable emotion; employers want to keep the workplace as productive as possible and believe that expressing emotion could help employees feel more comfortable but at the cost of their individual employee performance. Therefore, displays of emotion such as crying are still considered taboo.
Organizations are ineffective at managing emotions because they are unwilling to fully acknowledge the potential benefits of encouraging open expression. I believe that employers should adopt an open-door policy for employees to voice their concerns without being fearful of damaging their reputation. This can build trust, cohesiveness, and a greater willingness to work together because they believe their feelings are important to management and coworkers. Covering true emotions can have negative effects in the long-term, such as ignoring any unresolved issue in daily life. It can consume people and prevent them from accomplishing the tasks set forth by themselves and their bosses.
Judge, A., S., & Robbins, P., S. (2012) Organizational behavior. Upper Saddle River: New Jersey: Prentice Hall.