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Session Overview
RN11_05b_P: Emotion in Organizations II: Emotion Management and Emotional Labour
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Yvonne Albrecht, University of Kassel
Location: PB.2.5
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: B, Level: 2.

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Collegial Emotional Labour in Nursing Homes and Day Care Institutions

Merete Monrad

Aalborg University, Denmark

The paper discusses collegial emotional labour through a study of care work in day care institutions for children aged 0-6 years and in nursing homes. Based on 27 qualitative interviews with frontline workers, the article elucidates the collective nature of emotional labour in care work. In the paper, collegial emotional labour is discussed as a resource in care work and it is shown that the emotions of colleagues can be important in coping with work. It is suggested that this resource can be understood as a collective emotional capital in the work team. In addition, the paper analyzes how colleagues relate to each other’s emotional labour and how emotional expressions are implicitly related to professional status and hence to processes of distinction between colleagues. Finally, the paper discusses the interplay between the working environment and collective emotional capital. Some workers describe that they experience that collegial discussions of work-related frustrations diminish the collective emotional capital. Based on these experiences, the article raises the concern that work-related frustrations are displaced to individual and private conversations to preserve the collective emotional capital.

Emotion Management and the Professional Culture of Administrative Social Workers in Russia: The Common Standards of Emotion Work and the Moral Mission of Social Care

Olga Simonova

Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation

I examine emotion work among administrative social workers in Russia, an activity vital to the on-going emergence of their professional culture. This examination focuses on administrative social workers, a particular group within the occupation who are, in the main, office-bound social workers who help people process the required documents needed to receive social assistance and benefits. Firstly, I offer an overview of existing research on the sociology of emotions and professions, with a special focus on those studies exploring emotion management. The conclusion emerging from this review is that analyzing emotion work in the field of social work can lead to a deeper and more complete understanding of its specific character and the ethical rules operating within it. Secondly, transcript analysis of administrative social worker interviews was conducted as part of a larger research project on the professional culture of this occupation. This analysis was completed with help of NVivo software and reveals that interviewees are not only clearly aware of emotion work, but also seek to reduce emotional expenditure in their communication with clients and strive to standardize how they work with their emotions. Carrying out emotion work has a key function in supporting a professional identity among administrative social workers and the furthering the development of a professional culture. On the other hand, the emotional expenditures involved and the challenge of ‘making the profession worth it’ are alleviated by the sense that one’s work fulfills an important ‘moral mission’ in providing social care and assistance.

Emotions and bureaucracy – interactive dynamics in the academic work place

Erika Andersson Cederholm

Lund University, Sweden

An increasing proportion of people's working hours are devoted to administrative tasks, visible among professional groups such as doctors, teachers and academics. This often entails emotional expressions of sighs and grumbles about “bureaucracy” in everyday working life, in tandem with the critique voiced in social science literature analysing consequences of New Public Management and of the “audit society”. In an ethnographic study of university departments, we highlight the everyday interaction among and between academics and other staff members concerning administrative tasks. As these tasks have become accentuated, so have conflicts become visible in division of labour concerning everyday tasks with documents and meetings. Conflicts may be triggered by for example meeting competition and exclusion and inclusion in various groups and committees. In this study, we highlight emotional expressions in relations to these administrative concerns. These may take the form of general annoyance with bureaucracy, open or constrained anger directed towards specific matters or persons, shame of administrative incompetence, or pride, joy and gratefulness in relation to administrative competence. In this paper, we focus on interactions in both face-to-face meetings and e-mail correspondence. In particular, we aim to shed light on the emotional commitment involved in bureaucratic tasks by focussing on the interactional dynamics played out through the role of a third part, such as an authority referred to, for instance as “cc” in an e-mail, or a specific document such as a protocol from a meeting.

How working with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) can become a frustrating commitment

Ludovic Joxe

Paris Descartes (Sorbonne Paris Cité), France

Having observed that some MSF expatriates suffer from frustration in their field of intervention, I try to sociologically understand the process of this phenomenon.

I show that ‘career-oriented’ expatriates are less inclined to be frustrated. They expect a salary from the organization, a career evolution that MSF actually provides. There is no space for disappointment. However, ‘committed’ expatriates have a potential profile to be frustrated. They expect MSF to have a political impact, to save lives and to be ‘efficient’. Depending on the control of Croziers's ‘zones of uncertainties’, such as the interpretation of the charter, the workload, the team spirit, or the communication with local authorities, two ‘committed’ expatriates can come back from their mission with opposite feelings: one enthusiastic and another depressed. I then show how frustration is actually linked to power and information control.

My research brings together different fields of sociology such as life course studies, sociology of organizations, sociology of emotions, work sociology and management sociology. It also considers African, Asian, and South American expatriates that today represent around 30% of MSF expatriates and have not been studied so far. The variety of political contexts of MSF interventions, the multiplicity of nationalities of MSF expatriates, and the emergency of the crises make MSF a complex organization. This complexity finally questions the importance recently given to ‘psychosocial hazards’ in our societies, since frustration seems to be inherent to a ‘normal’ MSF functioning.

My communication relies on fifty interviews with MSF expatriates and notes taken during nine missions on three continents.

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