Emotion cycles: On the social influence of emotion in organizations

Shlomo Hareli, Anat Rafaeli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Human emotion is typically studied as a within-person, one-direction, non-repetitive phenomenon; focus has traditionally been on how one individual feels in reaction to various stimuli at a certain point of time. But people recognize and inevitably react emotionally and otherwise to expressions of emotion of other people. We propose that organizational dyads and groups inhabit emotion cycles: Emotions of an individual influence the emotions, thoughts and behaviors of others; others' reactions can then influence their future interactions with the individual expressing the original emotion, as well as that individual's future emotions and behaviors. People can mimic the emotions of others, thereby extending the social presence of a specific emotion, but can also respond to others' emotions, extending the range of emotions present. People can also draw attributions and extract meanings from others' emotions. Emotion cycles can involve both intended targets of or partners to an original emotion and third parties who were not the intended targets or partners. Emotion cycles are sensitive to various moderating factors, including demographic variables (e.g., gender or race) and situational variables (e.g., relative power of participants). Pertinent organizational and psychological research that supports the idea of emotion cycles is reviewed and shown to suggest a wide arena for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-59
Number of pages25
JournalResearch in Organizational Behavior
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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