Bi-annual Meeting of the International Society for Research on Emotion location:Leuven date:6-8 August 2009
The aim of our study was to test whether group-level emotions are distinct from individual-level emotions on three of the conceptual criteria that were earlier defined (Smith, Seger and Mackie, 2007), namely that 1) a person’s emotions “as a group member “ are distinct from a person’s emotions “as an individual”, 2) a person’s emotion as a group member depends on his/her identification with the group, and 3) individuals’ emotions “as group members” are socially shared within a group.
Whereas Smith et al. (2007) studied the emotions of long existing groups (Republicans and Democrats, for instance), we focused on newly formed teams after the merger of 10 small Belgian non-profit organizations. We asked 111 members of 17 teams within the merged organization about their individual emotions during the last month and about their emotions as team members. In addition to identification with the team, we measured several other factors that were expected to influence team-level emotions – we included questions about team characteristics (e.g., time since the team was formed) as well as about the influence individuals have on their team (e.g., perceived emotional influence on the team).
The results suggest that a person’s team emotions are reliably different from a person’s individual emotions. We will discuss the effects of team characteristics and individual-team relationship features on the emergence of team emotions.