Emotional influence at work: Take it EASI

Gerben A. Van Kleef, Astrid C. Homan, Arik Cheshin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on emotions in organizations has traditionally taken an intrapersonal approach, examining how an organization member’s emotions influence his or her own cognitions, attitudes, and behavior. We argue that a full understanding of the role of emotions in organizations requires a complementary focus on their interpersonal effects—that is, how one worker’s emotions influence the feelings, cognitions, attitudes, and behavior of others. We advance Emotions as Social Information (EASI) theory, which posits that emotional expressions exert interpersonal effects by triggering affective reactions and/or inferential processes in targets, depending on the target’s information processing and the perceived appropriateness of the emotional expression. We review evidence from four domains of organizational behavior: customer service, group decision making, negotiation, and leadership. We call for new research that examines emotions in greater detail (discrete emotions, intensity, authenticity), studies different settings (organizational change, personnel selection), and considers temporal dynamics (frequency, long-term outcomes).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-339
Number of pages29
JournalOrganizational Psychology Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2012.


  • Conflict and negotiation
  • Customer service
  • Emotions and moods
  • Groups/teams
  • Leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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