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Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, Second Edition by MARJORIE A. LYLES, MARK EASTERBY-SMITH

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Organizations, Management, and Emotion

Most perspectives agree that emotion contributes to ‘seeing things differently’ (Hochschild, 1983) and plays a significant part in rational thought and action (Williams, 2001). Asking questions about the ways in which emotions are connected to rational decisions raises opportunities for new knowledge and action and helps to redress the traditional imbalance whereby ‘emotion is routinely subordinated to rationality’ (Ten Bos and Willmott, 2001). It has thus been argued that the tendency of many managers to rationalize emotion creates additional emotional dynamics which provide opportunities for reflection, both in terms of understanding organizing processes and revealing the politics of managerial actions (Vince, 2006). Attempts to rationalize away emotions are themselves an exercise of political power which generates opportunities for further thought, critique, and development; they are themselves elements of the emotional dynamics of organizations. Emotion is a continuous and integral aspect of organizing, but this does not mean that emotions should be studied separately from the various rationalizations that relate to them. While studies of emotion challenge the dominance of rationalist assumptions, it is important to avoid, first, reversing this emphasis by privileging emotion at the expense of rationality (Ten Bos and Willmott, 2001) and, second, creating a fixed dichotomy or binary opposition which locks emotion and rationality into a ...

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