An Integrative Approach to Emotional Agency at Work

Päivi Hökkä, Katja Vähäsantanen, Heini Ikävalko

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The concept of agency has recently emerged as a fruitful construct in understanding organizational practices and development. However, agency has tended so far to be seen as a rational and goal-oriented phenomenon, with little attention paid to the role of emotions within it. There is thus a need for theoretical discussion on both agency and emotions in organizations, and also on how the two phenomena are related. This paper aims to introduce an elaborated conceptualization of emotional agency at work, based on recent theories on professional agency and emotions in organizational contexts. We suggest that emotional agency can be understood as the competence to perceive, understand, and take into account one’s own emotions and those of others, and further to influence emotions within organizational practices, actions, and interactions. Our paper provides an integrative definition of emotional agency at work (EAW), usable in future research. It also elaborates how emotional agency may function within organizations and their development practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23–46
JournalVocations and Learning
Issue number1
Early online date5 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2


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