Temporal dynamics of emotions within a workday The moderating effect of neuroticism

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JaeYoon Chang
A. L Cook
S. C Payne


The purpose of this study was to examine how positive and negative emotions fluctuate over time within one workday and to investigate the moderating effects of neuroticism and job satisfaction. Data were obtained from 201 Seoul citizens in Korea using the Day Reconstruction Method (Kahneman, Krueger, Schkade, Schwarz, & Stone, 2004). Data revealed that negative emotions increased over time; positive emotions did not show such a pattern. Job satisfaction correlated positively with average positive emotions and negatively with average negative emotions. Neuroticism correlated significantly and in opposite directions with average positive and negative emotions, but did not correlate significantly with the variability of emotions within a work day. Additionally, neuroticism had a significant moderating effect on the changing pattern of negative (but not positive) emotions over time, such that the negative emotions of workers with high levels of neuroticism increased more sharply than the negative emotions of workers with low levels of neuroticism. Contrary to expectation, job satisfaction did not moderate the pattern of positive or negative emotions at work. Changing patterns of negative emotions may be predictive of occupational accidents and diurnal patterns of positive emotions may be predictive of optimal concentration and efficiency at work. These patterns may also have implications for when we administer surveys in the workplace, when a boss should share bad news with his/her employees.


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