Lindebaum, D & Ashkanasy, NM (2017)
Academy of Management Review, 42 (3): 548-551
Publication year: 2017

NOTE: This is a Dialogue Piece – it does not feature a ‘typical’ abstract. This opening section has been abridged for presentation purposes, but still contains the basic argument.

Research examining the role of emotions in institutional theory has produced an impressive range of insights, and the recently published article by Voronov and Weber (2015) gives further testament to this continuing interest. We are sure that their article will make a valuable contribution to our understanding of the role of emotions in institutional theory. As scholars of emotion in organizational settings, however, we believe that its contribution could be strengthened if three particular issues were to be elaborated a little more. First, we argue that their view of emotions as “even more foundational to institutions than their motivation power” (p. 3) needs to be clarified. In this regard, we complement their view by unpacking the caveat that not all employees will fit their theorizing. Second, we show that their key construct of emotional competence (EC), defined as “the ability to experience and display emotions that are deemed appropriate for an actor role within the institutional order” (pp. 4-5), may be less distinct from emotional intelligence than recognized in the article. Consequently, we suggest a way to integrate the concept with what we currently know about emotional intelligence and, in particular, the Mayer and Salovey (1997) ability model of emotional intelligence. Third, we argue that Voronov and Weber’s theorizing can be combined with existing literatures on the role of collective emotional recognition and norms in institutional contexts. Taken together, our intention is to expand upon the article by Voronov and Weber in a manner that we hope will be seen to complement its conclusions.