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The Ripple Effect: Emotional Contagion In Groups


  • Sigal G. Barsade

    () (University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School)


Emotional contagion, the transfer of emotion between individuals, and its influence on work group dynamics was examined in two managerial simulations using multiple, convergent measures of emotions and group dynamics. The studies tested hypotheses on differential contagion effects due to the degree of pleasantness of the emotion, and the energy with which this pleasantness was conveyed. After determining that emotional contagion existed in groups, I then examined the influence of emotional contagion on individual-level attitudes and group processes. As predicted, experiencing positive emotional contagion led to improved cooperation, decreased conflict, and increased perceptions of task performance - all as rated by self, other group members, and outside video-coders. The opposite was the case when experiencing negative emotional contagion. Theoretical implications and practical ramifications of emotional contagion in groups and organizations are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Sigal G. Barsade, 2001. "The Ripple Effect: Emotional Contagion In Groups," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm167, Yale School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:ysm167

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