Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 39 Issue 10 (October 2009), Pages 2275-2540

Workplace Expression of Emotions and Escalation of Commitment (pages 2396-2424)

These studies examined the effects of expressions of anger and guilt in the workplace on escalation of commitment. Study 1 examined the relationship between employees' reports of coworkers' emotion expressions and continued investment in a poorly performing subordinate. Study 2 tested the effects of leader expressions of anger and guilt on continued investment in a failing project. Results of both studies demonstrate that expressions of anger lead to greater escalation of commitment, while expressions of guilt lead to de‐escalation. Experimental results indicate that the effects of emotion expressions on escalation are strongest when individuals are collectively responsible for the initial decision, a finding that was mediated by feelings of psychological safety.

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