Organizational Conflicts and Emotions on Social Media
Joost W.M. Verhoeven and Yan Jin. “Organizational Conflicts and Emotions on Social Media.” Accepted for presentation at the Corporate Communication International (CCI) 2017 International Conference, June 6-9, 2017, New York City, NY.
Abstract: For employees, conflicts can be very emotional encounters (Jones, 2000), causing stress, anger, fright, sadness, and anxiety. Increasingly, organizational issues and conflicts are discussed on social media (Meriläinen & Vos, 2011) and social media use can help employees express their emotions and cope with the stress caused by conflict situations (Neubaum et al., 2014). While social media have been studied as a means for reputation- and issue management, emotions have largely been neglected. Therefore, this project aims to increase our understanding of the role of emotions in employees’ social media use during an organizational conflict. Our new theoretical framework proposes: 1) Sense making processes underlie employees’ emotional responses to conflict situations; 2) Emotional responses are more pronounced when an employee identifies strongly with conflict actors, or when the outcomes of the conflict are personally relevant; and 3) Employees use social media to cope with conflict-related emotions, although to a lesser extent when they consider social media use risky.