SWG 13: Emotions in Social Contexts: Relational, Organizational, Institutional Implications


Bryant A. Hudson, IESEG School of Management, Paris, France
Madeline Toubiana, University of Alberta, Canada
Russ Vince, University of Bath School of Management, United Kingdom
Maxim Voronov, Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada
Charlene Zietsma, Smeal College of Business, Pennsylvania State University, USA

Emotions are an integral part of social life, permeating and motivating our everyday actions and experiences within organizations and other social spheres (Goodwin & Pfaff, 2001; Voronov & Vince, 2012). Our aim with this SWG is to call attention to a lacunae in organizational scholarship that highlights the social, relational, and institutional elements of emotions. We envision this Standing Working Group as a space in which researchers from a variety of traditions and perspectives can explore how emotions might fit into their theorization, cross-fertilizing insights and speeding the development of emotion-inclusive theorizing.

Emotions play a substantial role in social contexts. Yet, while research in psychology has studied emotions for many years, it has treated emotions as individual level constructs, mainly divorced from organizational and societal contexts (Fineman, 2004; Haidt, 2012).

However, there is a growing stream of organizational research that conceptualizes emotions in social context (e.g., Voronov & Vince, 2012; Creed et al., 2014; Huy et al., 2014; Massa et al., 2017; Toubiana & Zietsma, 2017; Wright et al., 2017; Fotaki et al., 2012; Thompson & Willmott, 2016) and studies emotions as social (“emotions that pertain to the state of social relations”, Creed et al., 2014: 276) and relational (“conscious and unconscious emotional levels of connection that exist between and shape selves and others, people and systems”, French & Vince, 1999: 7).

In this SWG 13, we aim to build on this work and generate scholarly insights into emotional dynamics within social contexts, as well as how individual and collective emotional dynamics contribute to structure, agency, power and change.
The role of emotions in social contexts addresses a number of key themes that will be at the center of the four-year program of SWG 13:

  • The role of distinct social emotions in organizations and institutions

  • The social potency and interplay of emotions and power in the functioning of collective and group emotions within political and social contexts (Thompson & Willmott, 2016)

  • The emotional and political relatedness created consciously and unconsciously through authority (and other) relations and its impact on organizational and institutional dynamics (Gabriel, 1997; Stavrakakis, 2008)

  • The rejuvenated interest in values and the emotions that underlie persons’ passionate identification with them (Gehman et al., 2013; Vaccaro & Palazzo, 2015; Wright et al., 2017)

  • The role of emotions in struggles, contestation, and settlements over meaning, and in institutional maintenance, disruption, and creation

  • The unique role played by emotions in making organizations and institutions personally meaningful to people, and how people develop a stake in such arrangements

  • The extent to which institutional logics normalize or suppress certain emotional experiences in various organizational and field-level domains

  • Contributions of emotions to the understanding of the lived experience of institutional complexity, organizational change, stigma, injustice, inequality and other phenomena

  • Conceptual, methodological, and empirical challenges in studying social emotions

SWG 13 is designed to encourage a deeper engagement with these questions and to directly connect varied traditions. As such, we expect the SWG to stimulate significant scholarship and make a substantial contribution to the field of organization studies across multiple streams of literature.


  • Creed, W.E.D., Hudson, B.A., Okhuysen, G.A., & Smith-Crowe, K. (2014): “Swimming in a Sea of Shame: Incorporating Emotion into Explanations of Institutional Reproduction and Change.” Academy of Management Review, 39 (3), 275–301.
  • Fotaki, M., Long, S., & Schwartz, H.S. (2012): “What Can Psychoanalysis Offer Organization Studies Today? Taking Stock of Current Developments and Thinking about Future Directions.” Organization Studies, 33 (9), 1105–1120.
  • French, R., & Vince, R. (eds.) (1999): Group Relations, Management and Organization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Gabriel, Y. (1997): “Meeting God: When Organizational Members Come Face to Face with the Supreme Leader.” Human Relations, 50 (4), 315–342.
  • Gehman, J., Trevino, L.K., & Garud, R. (2013): “Values Work: A Process Study of the Emergence and Performance of Organizational Values Practices.” Academy of Management Journal, 56 (1), 84–112.
  • Goodwin, J., & Pfaff, S. (2001): “Emotion Work in High-Risk Social Movements: Managing Fear in the U.S. and East German Civil Rights Movements.” In: J. Goodwin, J. Jasper & F. Polletta (eds.): Passionate Politics: Emotions and Social Movements. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 282–302.
  • Huy, Q.N., Corley, K.G., & Kraatz, M.S. (2014): “From Support to Mutiny: Shifting Legitimacy Judgments and Emotional Reactions Impacting the Implementation of Radical Change.” Academy of Management Journal, 57 (6), 1650–1680.
  • Massa, F.G., Helms, W.S., Voronov, M., & Wang, L. (2017): “Emotions Uncorked: Inspiring Evangelism for the Emerging Practice of Cool-Climate Winemaking in Ontario.” Academy of Management Journal, 60 (2), 461–499.
  • Stavrakakis, Y. (2008): “Peripheral Vision. Subjectivity and the Organized Other: Between Symbolic Authority and Fantasmatic Enjoyment. Organization Studies, 29 (7), 1037–1059.
  • Thompson, M., & Willmott, H. (2016): “The social potency of affect: Identification and power in the immanent structuring of practice.” Human Relations, 69 (2), 483–506.
  • Toubiana, M., & Zietsma, C. (2017): “The Message is on the Wall? Emotions, Social Media and the Dynamics of Institutional Complexity.” Academy of Management Journal, 60 (3), 922–953.
  • Vaccaro, A., & Palazzo, G. (2015): “Values against Violence: Institutional Change in Societies Dominated by Organized Crime.” Academy of Management Journal, 58 (4), 1075–1101.
  • Voronov, M., & Vince, R. (2012): “Integrating Emotions into the Analysis of Institutional Work.” Academy of Management Review, 37 (1), 58–81.
  • Wright, A.L., Zammuto, R.F., & Liesch, P.W. (2017): “Maintaining the Values of a Profession: Institutional Work and Moral Emotions in the Emergency Department.” Academy of Management Journal, 60 (1), 200–37.

About the Coordinators

Bryant A. Hudson is Professor of Management at IESEG School of Management, Paris, France. He received his PhD from the University of Texas at Dallas, USA. He studies organizational stigma, shame, scandal, and taboos in a variety of contexts, including gay and lesbian organizations, abortion service providers, and major national industries. His work appears in the Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, Journal of Management Inquiry, International Studies in Management and Organization, and Organization.
Madeline Toubiana is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Management and Organization and a Southam Faculty Fellow at the University of Alberta School of Business, Canada. Her research focuses on the role emotions, complexity and stigmatization play in processes of social change. Some of her previous and current work examines this topic in the context of social entrepreneurship, academia, social media, the Canadian prison system and the sex trade. Her research has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy Management Review, Organization Studies, Journal of Management History and Management Learning, among others.
Russ Vince is Professor of Leadership and Change and Director of the Centre for Strategic Change and Leadership at the School of Management, University of Bath, UK. He is Honorary Professor of Management at the University of St Andrews. His research has focused on learning and reflection in organizations, emotions, management education, leadership development, and the psychodynamic study of organizations. He has published in Academy of Management Review, Human Relations, Organization Studies, Journal of Management Studies, British Journal of Management, Management Learning and Academy of Management Learning and Education. Russ is a former Editor-in-Chief of the international academic journal Management Learning, and he is currently an Associate Editor with the Academy of Management Learning and Education (AMLE) journal.
Maxim Voronov is Professor of Organization Studies at the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada. He is interested in institutional stability and change, emotions and the construction and use of cultural resources. Maxim’s work appears in such leading management journals as Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies, Human Relations, and Organization, among others. He is on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Review and Journal of Management Studies.
Charlene Zietsma is an Associate Professor, Smeal College of Business, Pennsylvania State University, USA. She studies social emotions in institutional work, institutional change processes, social and sustainable entrepreneurship and social movements. Her work has been published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, Organization Studies, Journal of Business Venturing, among others. In 2016, she was awarded the ASQ Scholarly Contribution Award for making a significant impact on the field of organization studies. She is a Senior Editor for Organization Studies, has guest-edited special issues/sections in Organization Studies, Business & Society, Research in the Sociology of Organizations and Strategic Organization, and serves on the editorial board for several other journals.