Getting Worse or Getting Better? Understanding the Antecedents and Consequences of Emotion Profile Transitions During COVID-19-Induced Organizational Crisis

Jerel E. Slaughter, Allison S. Gabriel, Mahira L. Ganster, Hoda Vaziri, Rebecca L. MacGowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

While some organizations are thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic, many are experiencing a crisis—a threat to organizational longevity, time pressure, and inadequate resources. Building on prior work examining emotions during times of crisis and changes that people undergo during major life transitions, as well as media accounts suggesting that employees have had positive and negative emotions tied to aspects of working duringCOVID-19, we adopt a person-centric view to examine profiles of monthly emotions regarding organizational reopening. Additionally, we consider how employees transition from one profile of emotions to another acrossmonths. In so doing, we consider whether feelings of hope, gratitude, fear, and resentment co-occur for employees; how employees transition across profiles from one month to the next as a function of perceptions of organizational leaders’ trustworthiness and their handling of theCOVID-19 crisis; and howchanges in profile membership relate to employee well-being, work outcomes, and prevention behaviors to avoid contracting COVID-19. Using 1,422 total measurements from August 2020 to November 2020 from employees at a single university during two monthly transitions with significant crisis-related events (i.e., return to in-person teaching, students living on campus, announcement of pay cuts and furloughs, and the subsequent announcement that some of those conditions would change), we identified four profiles ofmonthly emotions, with perceived leader trustworthiness and handling of the pandemic being critical features of why employees belonged to different profiles between August–September and October–November. Further, we found implications of monthly transitions for work and COVID-related outcomes

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1118-1136
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume106
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Emotions
  • Latent transition analysis
  • Organizational crisis
  • Performance
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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