Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Management Communication Quarterly 4:3 (February 1991), pp. 287–309.

doi: 10.1177/0893318991004003002


Copyright © 1991 Sage Publications, Inc. Used by permission.


This study evaluated Rafaeli and Sutton’s (1989) model of emotional expression in the workplace by examining descriptions of emotional interactions occurring among members of a state government agency. The results indicated that qualities of felt emotions influenced emotional expression, which in turn yielded changed relational perceptions and changed communication behavior subsequent to the emotional event. Content analysis of the event descriptions resulted in preliminary generalizations about the types of emotions experienced by members, the nature of repressed emotional messages, and the dimensions of relationship changes stemming from the emotional events. The results are interpreted as evidence of the importance of emotional communication in relationship reformulation and are consistent with Van Maanen and Kunda’s (1989) recent depiction of emotional control as part of organizational culture.