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Emotion as soft power in organisations

Emotion as soft power in organisations Adopting the critical sensemaking (CSM) lens to the micro-level interaction between leader and employees, the article offers a theoretically informed example of leading with soft power and positive emotions that blurs boundaries in democratic organisations.Design/methodology/approachThe research methodology involves videography and interpretive analysis of video-recorded interactions that combines focused ethnography with video analysis. The analysis focuses on face-to-face meeting interactions between a leader and employees in a small service firm.FindingsThe findings illustrate how restoring the sense of the democratic organisation is an accumulating and complex phenomenon where explicit and implicit organisational rules and changing identity positions are enacted by constructing affective loyalties, moral and reflex emotions that serve as soft power capacities helping the leader and employees to enact meanings attached to a democratic rather than hierarchical organisation.Practical implicationsThe article provides new insight for human resources practitioners and leaders who want to build resilient organisations and pay attention to shared, distributed and relational leadership practices, co-creative work and collective decision-making processes.Originality/valueThe power explored in previous sensemaking studies has been power over, which is most often associated with the negative aspects of power, such as domination and suppression, in the pursuit of specific performance. The applications of videography method linking ethnography and interpretive analysis of video-recorded interactions are still rare in organisation studies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance Emerald Publishing

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2051-6614
DOI
10.1108/joepp-08-2019-0085
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Adopting the critical sensemaking (CSM) lens to the micro-level interaction between leader and employees, the article offers a theoretically informed example of leading with soft power and positive emotions that blurs boundaries in democratic organisations.Design/methodology/approachThe research methodology involves videography and interpretive analysis of video-recorded interactions that combines focused ethnography with video analysis. The analysis focuses on face-to-face meeting interactions between a leader and employees in a small service firm.FindingsThe findings illustrate how restoring the sense of the democratic organisation is an accumulating and complex phenomenon where explicit and implicit organisational rules and changing identity positions are enacted by constructing affective loyalties, moral and reflex emotions that serve as soft power capacities helping the leader and employees to enact meanings attached to a democratic rather than hierarchical organisation.Practical implicationsThe article provides new insight for human resources practitioners and leaders who want to build resilient organisations and pay attention to shared, distributed and relational leadership practices, co-creative work and collective decision-making processes.Originality/valueThe power explored in previous sensemaking studies has been power over, which is most often associated with the negative aspects of power, such as domination and suppression, in the pursuit of specific performance. The applications of videography method linking ethnography and interpretive analysis of video-recorded interactions are still rare in organisation studies.

Journal

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and PerformanceEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 2, 2020

Keywords: Democratic organisation; Critical sensemaking; Soft power; Productive power; Emotion; Formative context; Rules; Discourse; Agency; Face-to-face interaction; Meeting; Videography; Video ethnography

References