Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

Emotion at work: Stories of teamwork, stress, and professionalism

Mark A Mierswa, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study explores some of the consequences of everyday moments of interpersonal interaction within an organization. The primary research questions concern the grammar of episodes of "frustration" and episodes of "success," or those moments that employees identify as working well. What is "frustration" here? How does it affect the person who experiences it? How does its performance affect others in the office? How is it made and re-made, and with what consequences, in everyday moments of interaction? The study explores these questions from a communication perspective using the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) theory of communication. The main contribution of this study lies in the application of the method. The CMM theory of communication encourages the analyst to understand the ways in which utterances may participate in multiple important stories simultaneously (stories of identity, relationship, and organization, for example). In this case study, the experience and consequences of "stress" may be best understood only in the context of stories of "teamwork" and "professionalism." This study is not about emotion itself. Rather, it presents an approach to engaging in research about emotional displays at work and the consequences of their enactment on the employees, their relationships, and the organization itself. Communication, or the telling and living of stories in patterned ways, is at the heart of this approach.

Subject Area

Communication|Occupational psychology

Recommended Citation

Mierswa, Mark A, "Emotion at work: Stories of teamwork, stress, and professionalism" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3215916.