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Emotions and Environments: Schadenfreude at Work

Fiona Edgar ()
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Fiona Edgar: University of Otago

Humanistic Management Journal, 2022, vol. 7, issue 1, No 4, 95-116

Abstract: Abstract Organizations seeking to adopt a sustainable approach to people management need to pay particular attention to how their work environments impact employees’ wellbeing. Combining the disciplines of psychology and sustainable human resource management, this study explores the relationship between situational stimuli and wellbeing by examining how workplace structures impact employees’ emotions and behavior at work. Using a survey design, data from a sample of 408 New Zealand employees split across competitive and collaborative service environments are analyzed to see how these influence the ubiquitous, yet discreet emotion of workplace schadenfreude. Results show that while competitive structures increase prevalence of workplace schadenfreude – taking pleasure from a colleague’s misfortune – this does not appear to encourage antisocial work behaviors. How employees appraise the schadenfreude situation, as well as their national psyche, are possible factors influencing this outcome. This paper discusses these findings, along with their theoretical and practical implications and directions for future research.

Keywords: Emotions; Schadenfreude; Competition; HRM systems (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s41463-021-00109-x

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