WOW member produces first of its kind study that incorporates self-efficacy to manage work and life as a personal resource and subordinate family undermining as an outcome of supervisor negative emotions, enhancing understanding of the resource allocation and loss processes between supervisors and subordinates.

A winter cold isn’t the only thing that can spread among co-workers – studies demonstrate that our emotions are also contagious. Not only can a good or bad mood impact our work performance, it can influence those around us.

Dr Carys Chan

WOW member Dr Carys Chan has co-authored a paper in Personnel Review titled: When the boss is blue: examining the effects of supervisors’ negative emotions on subordinates’ cognitive work engagement and family undermining.

‘While it is generally accepted that a supervisor’s negative emotions lead to subordinates’ negative emotions and detrimental work outcomes, recent studies demonstrate that supervisor negative emotions may yield both negative and positive subordinate behaviours’, comments Dr Chan.

Drawing on the work–home resources model, this research unpacks the interpersonal, cross-domain effects of supervisor negative emotions on subordinate cognitive work engagement and family undermining through subordinate perceived leader effectiveness and self-efficacy to manage work and life.

Photo credit: Bold Sky

To test the relationships, confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling were conducted on time-lagged dyadic data collected from 372 supervisor–subordinate pairs.

The results revealed that supervisor negative emotions led to higher levels of subordinate cognitive work engagement and family undermining.

What does this mean in practice?

Photo credit: Wise Step

This research provides supervisors with insights about the consequences of their negative emotions on their subordinates, calls upon organisations to provide cognitive regulation training, and encourages subordinates to develop self-efficacy in managing their work and life.

Dr Chan is a new WOW member, employed as a lecturer at the Griffith School of Applied Psychology.  She conducts research on the work–life interface, flexible/remote working, self-efficacy, work-related stress and burnout, and leader–subordinate interactions. unhideused1 \