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Felt Emotions vs. Displayed Emotions: Definitions & Gender Differences

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  1. 0:07 Emotions in the Workplace
  2. 0:47 Felt Emotions
  3. 1:58 Displayed Emotions
  4. 3:52 Gender and Emotions
  5. 5:12 Lesson Summary
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Taught by

Jennifer Lombardo

Gender differences exist in how emotions are expressed in an organization. Employees also have to deal with real felt emotions and false displayed emotions especially when dealing with customers.

Emotions in the Workplace

Men and women react differently emotionally within an organizational environment. Managers need to understand how gender influences employee's job commitment, development and success. Both genders have to deal with how to handle felt and displayed emotions.

Let's take a look at the cereal company called Sugary Slop to see how employees act via gender and emotion roles. The human resource department was sent to a workshop on employee emotions. The topic being covered is the difference between felt and displayed and gender emotion differences in the workplace. Here is what the team learned at the seminar.

Felt Emotions

Sugary Slop cereal company has over 500 employees. Most days the work atmosphere is positive, but unfortunately, there are some difficult bosses who cause negativity on the sales floor. Felt emotions are actual emotions the individual feels at that moment. These are real emotions that employees have in regards to their personal and work relationships. Sugary Slop's management has seen their employees display true felt emotions. When employees have achieved difficult goals and helped teammates, they have showed true positive felt emotions.

For example, sales rep Dave's entire geographical team hit record sales this past month. A party was thrown in their honor and everyone was happy. Other times, employees have been disgruntled and unhappy due to long hours to make a deadline. Dave was stuck working on filing his quarterly report late on Friday night. He had to call his girlfriend and cancel their dinner arrangements. His felt emotions were anger due to the missed dinner with his girl. The most difficult part of Dave's sales job is remaining positive throughout the day, even when things go wrong.

Displayed Emotions

Displayed emotions are those emotions that are false or put on display for the sake of public view. Sugary Slop requires their employees to use displayed emotions to act a specific corporate way towards customers. Even if an employee's felt emotions are negative, they must display positive emotions to the customers. A feeling of uneasiness that occurs when someone evaluates an emotional experience as a threat to his or her identity is called emotional dissonance.

The human resource team has learned that management needs to provide excellent scripts for customer service reps to follow, so that they know how to keep positive through adversity or a rude customer. 'I am sorry to hear you found a mouse in your cereal,' the customer service team replied. 'Please stop screaming at me, as I can't get all of the information to help you.'

Displayed emotions can be very stressful for employees to maintain long term. It can be hard for employees of Sugary Slop to be happy and productive if they are disgruntled about their personal life or a job issue, such as missing out on a promotion. Dave has to deal with over 50 different clients. One client especially is always mean and yells at Dave about the cereal prices increasing. Dave has had to take the abuse all the while keeping a smile on his face.

It exhausts him to fake his emotion, but he knows that one wrong negative response could cost him his job. The team has decided to put together work surveys to see if employees feel secure about providing displayed emotions to customers. The team will also work at providing extra help on the customer service floor to avoid worker burnout.

Gender and Emotions

Sugary Slop has over 20 managers within their organization. The gender makeup is almost split 50/50. The human resource team has come away from the seminar with some basic information regarding gender and emotions.

  • Female managers tend to cry in a business environment in reaction to anger or unhappiness. This type of reaction from women is a socially accepted norm. Human resources needs to educate the male managers that, most of the time, a female manager tears up because of anger, not sadness. Women fear showing aggressive emotions in the workplace and, instead, will bottle up their anger. Managers need to be aware of possible explosive situations if the female managers are not taught to handle their anger.
  • Men are discouraged from crying and would be viewed harshly at work if that happened. Instead, men are allowed to be aggressive emotionally. The human resource team has decided to work on helping the male managers with their aggressive tendencies to make sure it does not come across as hostility towards the employees.
  • Women feel comfortable displaying all types of emotion in a work environment while men usually keep emotions hidden. Both genders need to have training to bring them to a common understanding of specific gender based reactions to emotions.

Lesson Summary

Felt and displayed emotions are evident in organizations. Felt emotions are the actual emotions that employees are feeling. Displayed emotions are the fake emotional display that employees project for work. Women tend to be able to show all types of emotions at work, including crying. This crying is often caused because of anger. However, men tend to show aggressive emotions in an organization. Both genders need to have an understanding of specific gender-based reactions in order to work together productively in an organization.

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