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Being Taken Over: Managers’ Emotions and Rationalizations During a Company Takeover

Russ Vince

Journal of Management Studies, 2006, vol. 43, issue 2, 343-365

Abstract: abstract The theme of this paper is the relationship between emotion, management and organization, specifically, how emotions are transformed by rationalizations, and vice versa. It is argued that managers’ tendency to rationalize emotion creates additional emotional dynamics, and that these provide opportunities for organizing reflection. This idea also points to a limitation of approaches that are concerned with how emotions can be managed through emotional intelligence. The study took place during a turbulent period in the history of a company, while it was being taken over. Managers in Hyder plc, formerly the largest stock market listed corporation in Wales, UK, carried a tension into their work roles. This was created from particular emotions (pain and shame) and their rationalizations of, or detachment from, these emotions (self‐interest and disinterest). Such tension was a necessary part of maintaining their managerial role under difficult and emotionally charged circumstances. The study also showed how fears about personal position undermined the ability of managers to enact their authority and to act collectively within the organization. The conclusion discusses the relationship between collective emotional dynamics (political relatedness) and the organization of reflection, as well as providing questions for further research.

Date: 2006
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