Emotional smoothness and confidence building: boundary spanners in a civil-military collaboration context
by Aida Alvinius; Camilla Kylin; Bengt Starrin; Gerry Larsson
International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion (IJWOE), Vol. 6, No. 3, 2014

Abstract: This study illuminates a deeper understanding of the processes of confidence building and emotion management among boundary spanners from organisations with a bureaucratic structure in a multinational civil-military operational context. Twenty-one informants (mainly military officers) were interviewed. They had a variety of experiences and occupational roles in civil-military collaboration contexts. A grounded theory analysis of interview data yielded a model according to which the most central aspects of civil-military collaboration are confidence building, maintaining existing confidence, avoiding distrust and rebuilding damaged confidence. The study shows that boundary spanners strategically utilise a variety of emotion management strategies in order to fulfil the demands laid upon them by their collaborating counterparts in the hostile environment and by their own organisation. Three interrelated dimensions of smoothness were identified: cultural, structural and smoothness in risky situations. By acting 'smoothly', an adaption to the dynamic environment can be achieved. The proposed model is compared to existing writings on emotional labour and self-presentation.

Online publication date: Tue, 18-Nov-2014

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