Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Management Communication Quarterly 11:1 (August 1997), pp. 6–50.

doi: 10.1177/0893318997111002


Copyright © 1997 Sage Publications. Used by permission.


Managerial emotion may be experienced and handled differently when reason and emotion are understood to be continuously (e.g., Eastern cultures) rather than dichotomously (e.g., Western cultures) related. Using a social constructionist perspective, this study investigated emotionality among directors from 48 different factories in the People’s Republic of China. Social, moral, and material/economic situations were identified as sources of pleasant and unpleasant managerial emotional experience. Thought-feeling continuities were identified in how the managers described their emotional experiences. Both pleasant and unpleasant emotions were experienced very intensely and were managed in ways that both conformed to and departed from cultural ideals. Managerial emotions appeared to be best handled by thinking through them rather than by venting or suppressing them.