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Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 363–374 | Cite as

Emotional Contagion and its Relevance to Individual Behavior and Organizational Processes: A Position Paper

  • V. Vijayalakshmi
  • Sanghamitra Bhattacharyya
Article

Abstract

Purpose

Emotions and emotional contagion are being increasingly recognized as crucial variables influencing individual behavior and organizational functioning. This position paper serves the function as a ready reckoner by reviewing and consolidating existing literature in the field of emotional contagion. The review is categorized into three broad headings: (a) individual, (b) interpersonal, and (c) contextual factors, based on their relationship with emotional contagion.

Design/Methodology/Approach

The article focuses on analyzing and critiquing studies of emotional contagion conducted in several streams such as psychological processes, personality, organizational behavior, marketing, and consumer behavior. A conceptual framework of emotional contagion is presented, supplemented with research propositions.

Findings

The phenomenon of emotional contagion in workplace and its effects on personal and group outcomes has emerged as a critical area of research. It has been firmly established in literature that spread of emotions, if not properly managed, is bound to influence work effectiveness.

Implications

Importance of understanding the effects of transfer of emotions, for both academicians and practicing managers is one of the critical take-aways of this article. Suitable interventions are the need of the hour in order to ensure proper management of emotions.

Originality/Value

The contribution of the article is expected to be fourfold, in terms of: (a) presenting a structured and comprehensive review of literature on emotional contagion, (b) identifying gaps in the existing literature, (c) proposing a conceptual framework, and (d) developing propositions for future research.

Keywords

Emotional contagion Individual factors Interpersonal factors Contextual factors Individual behavior Organizational processes 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank our reviewers for providing valuable inputs to improve this article. We also place our immense gratitude to Dr. K. Gopalakrishnan for his continued support and encouragement in improvising the contents of the article.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management StudiesIndian Institute of Technology MadrasChennaiIndia
  2. 2.Feedback FoundationNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.ChennaiIndia

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