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Title: Disconfirming managerial communication, its impact on employee felt emotions and the moderating roles of relationship quality, trait negative affect and emotion regulation
Author: Sniderman, Patricia Rosemary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 2073
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2012
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The purpose of this study was to explore the impacts of disconfirming managerial communication on employee felt emotions, and whether this impact was influenced by the employee's personality, emotion regulation strategies, and the quality of the manager-employee relationship. Two hundred and seventy-five working adults rated the extent to which their managers used disconfirming and confirming communication with them during disagreement discussions. They also rated the positive and negative emotions they experienced as a result of these discussions, their overall relationship quality with their managers, their trait positive and negative affect at work, and the degree to which they regulated their emotions by expressive suppression, and cognitive reappraisal. Results showed that, as hypothesized, 1) disconfirming managerial communication was positively related to employee negative felt emotion, and 2) the effect was mitigated (during disagreement discussions) by a high relationship quality between the manager and employee. 3) Also, even though disconfirming managerial communication was not found to be a negative predictor of employees' positive felt emotions, during disagreement discussions, confirming managerial communication was both a negative predictor of employee negative felt emotions, and a positive predictor of employee positive felt emotions. 4) In addition, during disagreement discussions, while the relationship between disconfirming managerial communication and negative felt emotion was stronger for employees with high trait negative affect (NA), the difference between the negative emotions associated with high disconfirming and low disconfirming communication was much greater for employees with low trait negative affect (NA). Finally, my results did not support my hypothesis that the relationship between disconfirming managerial communication and negative felt emotion would be amplified for employees who regulated their emotions using expressive suppression, and mitigated by employees who regulated their emotions using cognitive reappraisal. However, consistent with previous research, expressive suppression correlated negatively with relationship quality, and positively with trait negative affect, and scores were higher for males. Also, cognitive reappraisal correlated positively with trait positive affect and emotional stability. These findings contribute to theory and research within the fields of interpersonal communication, leader-member exchange (LMX), and emotions at work. Also, the study introduces a useful tool (the Confirming/Disconfirming Managerial Communication Indicator or C/DMCI) for, future research in this area, as well as applications in management development and appraisal. Using Affective Events Theory as the framework, previous research is both supported and extended through a more complex understanding of the specific communication behaviours involved in confirming, and disconfirming managerial communication. Findings suggest that in order to be effective, managers need to use more confirming communication behaviours, as well as fewer disconfirming ones. The results emphasize that if managers have good relationships with their employees, when they do communicate in a disconfirming manner, especially if the communication is in a disagreement context, the positive relationship will act as a buffer to the negative emotional impacts that are associated with disconfirmation. Also, the study finds that while employees with high trait negative affect personalities, who tend to be more tense and nervous, will experience more negative felt emotion during disagreements, it is the low trait negative affect employees, those who are calm and relaxed, that will notice disconfirming managerial communication the most.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral