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Feeling the Hardware: The Emotionality of Technology-Based Organizational Change
Unformatted Document Text:  Feeling the Hardware, p. 19 Change agents have the task of influencing users to adopt the new system and develop the emotion-laden beliefs that the system is a good thing that users can and want to make it succeed. Emotion Display Rules as Resources and Constraints Precisely because there are no prescriptions for their emotional labour, change agents and other staff must draw on culturally and organisationally sanctioned rules for emotional display in order to achieve their goals. As mentioned above, several of Kramer and Hess’s (Kramer & Hess, 2002) generic rules for U.S. organisations seem applicable to New Zealand organisations. Similarly, the particular organisation, CS, as an organisation that provided counselling services and most of whose members were trained in counselling techniques, valued the expression of calmness, patience, and good will and avoidance of extreme displays of negative emotion. Beyond the rules, individuals develop heuristics, or complex guidelines that help them monitor and enact emotional displays (Waldron, 1994). Experienced, skilled professionals in a particular role (such as counsellor or change agent) may be expected to develop a complex set of heuristics to enable skilful interaction. Like other social rules, these are not behavioural “laws” that are always adhered to but instead serve as resources and constraints to use to achieve social goals. Knowing that these rules are to a large degree shared, a communicator can expect that following the rules will result in perceptions that one is a professional, competent communicator and that the situation is “normal.” On the other hand, violations of the rules may suggest either that one is not a professional, competent communicator or that the situation is not normal. Mary and Gary can be seen to follow the general rules set out above and to use them quite skilfully as resources in their interactions with Roxanne. Rather than reacting defensively or express their own frustration, they maintained calm and good humour—even in the face of direct confrontation--in an effort to make the change successful. As competent

Authors: Zorn, Ted.
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Feeling the Hardware, p. 19
Change agents have the task of influencing users to adopt the new system and develop the
emotion-laden beliefs that the system is a good thing that users can and want to make it
succeed.
Emotion Display Rules as Resources and Constraints
Precisely because there are no prescriptions for their emotional labour, change agents
and other staff must draw on culturally and organisationally sanctioned rules for emotional
display in order to achieve their goals. As mentioned above, several of Kramer and Hess’s
(Kramer & Hess, 2002) generic rules for U.S. organisations seem applicable to New Zealand
organisations. Similarly, the particular organisation, CS, as an organisation that provided
counselling services and most of whose members were trained in counselling techniques,
valued the expression of calmness, patience, and good will and avoidance of extreme displays
of negative emotion. Beyond the rules, individuals develop heuristics, or complex guidelines
that help them monitor and enact emotional displays (Waldron, 1994). Experienced, skilled
professionals in a particular role (such as counsellor or change agent) may be expected to
develop a complex set of heuristics to enable skilful interaction.
Like other social rules, these are not behavioural “laws” that are always adhered to but
instead serve as resources and constraints to use to achieve social goals. Knowing that these
rules are to a large degree shared, a communicator can expect that following the rules will
result in perceptions that one is a professional, competent communicator and that the situation
is “normal.” On the other hand, violations of the rules may suggest either that one is not a
professional, competent communicator or that the situation is not normal.
Mary and Gary can be seen to follow the general rules set out above and to use them
quite skilfully as resources in their interactions with Roxanne. Rather than reacting
defensively or express their own frustration, they maintained calm and good humour—even
in the face of direct confrontation--in an effort to make the change successful. As competent


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