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The Electronic Journal of Communication / La Revue Electronique de Communication


Special Issue: Emotions and Organization

Issue Editor:
Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik
North Dakota State University

Traditional research in organizations is premised on a rational picture of organizational life. When emotion is considered, typically such consideration is oblique and masks emotion, subsuming it within terms such as communication satisfaction, stress, burnout, and high-quality leader-member exchange. Since the publication of Arlie Hochschild’s (1983) The Managed Heart, the book first coining the term emotional labor, research exploring the inevitably emotional side of human organizing has expanded considerably. Much of it comes from the fields of management and psychology.

Communication scholarship considering emotion and organizations has grown over the past decade, albeit in small pockets, much of which comes from early efforts to conceptualize, theorize, and document the experience of emotion in organizational life. Others who have explored the place of emotion in organizational life have coined the term bounded emotionality as a fruitful theoretical lens for considering organizations and organizing. Research focusing on emotion has crossed methodological lines as investigators have pursued studies of stress, burnout, and emotional labor from a critical communication perspective as well as discursive perspectives. An important caveat to all this work is the recognition that emotional experience in organizational life, which is often related to abuse, may also be quite positive for organizational members.

The communication field has a unique perspective, one that is productive for understanding relationships between emotions and organizing. One such perspective is that communication not only reflects what happens during organizing processes but creates the very meanings and interpretations that humans use to organize. This special issue of EJC invites communication scholarship that considers emotion from a variety of topical and theoretical perspectives. Particularly welcome would be manuscripts that cover a range of constructive and destructive emotional processes and organizational life. Contributions might address, but are not limited to,

  • State-of-the-art literature review of past communication research on emotion and organizing—where have we been, where should we go (or a specific sub-topic on an emotion)?

  • Extensions or applications of the bounded emotionality lens for theorizing organizations’ emotional life; review of past applications or extensions

  • Research focusing on the constructive (positive, uplifting, affirmative) force of emotions in organizational life as well destructive consequences

  • Explorations of how work might evoke specific emotions and in turn how these emotions may affect work behaviors

  • How emotion at work might “bleed over” into non-work life; what bleed-over looks like, effects of bleed-over on family communication and relationships, are certain emotions more likely to bleed over than others

  • Deconstruction of the scientifically masked but emotionally charged concepts associated with organizing and working (e.g., job satisfaction, communication satisfaction, stress, burnout, high-quality leader-member exchanges, emotional intelligence, etc.: Are organizational members’ judgments of these concepts based on specific emotions? If so, which and in what way?

  • Pieces extending the concept of emotional labor (e.g., how and why paid work to display certain emotions might have consequences for well-being; range of consequences associated with emotion labor; state-of-the art literature reviews of communication’s contribution to understanding emotion labor [e.g., updates of Steinberg & Figart’s (1999) Emotion labor since “The Managed Heart”])

Deadline: Submit manuscripts through EJC's online submission system at by March 15, 2014 for consideration. Please be sure to submit to the journal section entitled Special Issue: Emotions and Organizations.

Format: Papers should be in APA 6th Ed. Style. Remove all author-identifying information from the main manuscript for blind review. Manuscripts should be single spaced with tables/figures inserted where they belong; double-space between headings, subheadings, and adjacent sections; avoid breaking tables across pages. Please send manuscripts in .doc, .docx, or .rtf formats (not html).

Questions: Please address any questions to the Special Issue Editor, Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik, email