Group Emotions

UCL Paper Wins Academy of Management Award

Professor Martin KilduffLondon (UK), September 2016 - A new paper by Professor Martin Kilduff of the UCL School of Management has won the prestigious "Best Annals Paper of the Year Award" from the Academy of Management Annals. The article addresses the question of whether people in departments, organizations, and even entire industries can experience the same emotions at the same time. And if this is the case, what the causes and consequences of shared emotional states are.

This work opens up the exploration of group emotions by combining research over the last fifteen years from the fields of psychology, sociology, and management. This article facilitates managers’ understanding of a range of processes and outcomes that affect the functioning of their organisations.

"Emotions are such intimate and fleeting experiences that prior scholarship has tended to assume the sharing of emotions has to involve interaction among people," says Professor Kilduff. "But people’s emotions are also powerfully affected by their identification with groups and by institutionalised group emotion norms."

For instance, people who identify with the same political party, hold the same nationality, have the same sexual orientation, or are smokers tend to have similar emotions when their group membership is significant to them. Victory or defeat in a sporting competition can evoke similar emotions in people who are widely dispersed but who identify with their sporting heroes.

Professor Martin Kilduff and his co-author provide theory and evidence to justify the study of these group emotions. The Awards Committee reviewed all of the papers published in 2015 and selected this paper to be honoured for excellence. 

"I was thrilled," says Professor Kilduff. "The Academy of Management Annals is the most influential publication in management research, and it is a great honour to have my ideas evaluated so positively by my peers."