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Emotion, Power and Identity: Emotional display of envy when taking on management roles in a professional hierarchy
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education.
2014 (English)In: Journal of Health Organisation & Management, ISSN 1477-7266, E-ISSN 1758-7247, ISSN 1477-7266, Vol. 28, no 4, 548-561 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Drawing on a previous study of organising processes and the construction of identity in a Swedish geriatric clinic, the impact of emotions is brought to the fore in the interpretation of power relations among professional groups. The purpose of this article is to find a way to interpret emotions as discursively constructed in organising processes.


A sequence of critical events is described where leading positions were negotiated at the clinic. Senior physicians and head nurses are highlighted as opposing forces in a struggle where envious emotions seemed to be a driving force in the political interplay. The empirical material in this article comes from the previous study. It is a set of participant observations and parts of interviews that took place before and after the implementation of a new organisational plan for the clinic.  


The envious and regressive undertone in the relationships between the actors made them act for egocentric reasons instead of creating new ways of collaborating and learning new leading roles. The power relations of the medical hierarchy were reproduced, which made new ways of relating threatening and difficult to achieve.


The results of the study confirm that people involved and perhaps in conflict with each other have to be able to, or get help to, make sense of their emotional experiences to employ them constructively. Otherwise they fall back into well-known patterns in order to feel secure. A vital part of learning in change processes is the support to individuals and groups in gaining emotional understanding of themselves and others. Leaders and managers who often are initiators of change ought to be aware of the importance of emotional support in change processes. If they are not, they are destined to be a part of the confusion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bingley BD16 1WA, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2014. Vol. 28, no 4, 548-561 p.
Keyword [en]
emotion, envy, identity, power relations, management, health care hierarchy
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-224384OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-224384DiVA: diva2:716509
Available from: 2014-05-09 Created: 2014-05-09 Last updated: 2014-08-25

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Sebrant, Ulla
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