Emotional Aperture and Strategic Change: The Accurate Recognition of Collective Emotions

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.1070.0347

This paper introduces emotional aperture, defined as the ability to recognize the composition of diverse emotions in a collective (e.g., group or business unit). We develop the thesis that a leader's ability to respond effectively to patterns of shared emotions that arise during strategic change and other emotionally turbulent organizational processes depends on the leader's ability to use emotional aperture. Additionally, we describe key cultural, psychological, and contextual enablers and impediments to achieving the necessary focus and accuracy that characterize the effective use of emotional aperture in organizations. This paper provides an initial conceptualization of how individuals can adjust their attention to group-level emotions and thus extends existing notions of emotional competencies (e.g., emotional intelligence) that have focused more narrowly on individual-level emotions.

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