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Where the Heart Functions Best: Reactive–Affective Conflict and the Disruptive Work of Animal Rights Organizations

Abstract : We study the emotive aspect of institutional work performed by U.S. animal rights organizations (AROs) attempting to disrupt industrial practices in modern factory farming operations perceived to be abusive to animals. Drawing on an inductive, qualitative analysis of interviews with ARO advocates, as well as textual and visual archival data collected from AROs’ websites, we argue that the suppression of emotion plays a critical role in AROs’ disruptive work. We find that advocates are motivated to suppress their emotions by a perceived incompatibility between their reactive emotional displays and their affective commitment to institutional work, or what we label reactive–affective conflict. We show how two triggers of reactive–affective conflict—potential supporters’ investment in the status quo and emotive norms governing institutional work—encourage ARO advocates to suppress their emotions in face-to-face interactions with audiences while attempting to elicit emotions via visuals as their strategy of disruptive work. We contribute to the literature on the strategic use of emotion in institutional work by highlighting important relationships between the characteristics of potential supporters, the nature of institutional work, and institutional workers’ management of their own emotions to further their institutional projects. In doing so, we add needed nuance to extant conceptualizations of how emotion is strategically deployed as part of purposeful efforts to create, maintain, and disrupt institutions.
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Contributor : Isabelle Celet Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, November 9, 2020 - 2:53:12 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 6, 2022 - 12:42:13 PM



Lee Jarvis, Elizabeth Goodrick, Bryant Ashley Hudson. Where the Heart Functions Best: Reactive–Affective Conflict and the Disruptive Work of Animal Rights Organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 2019, 62 (5), pp.1358-1387. ⟨10.5465/amj.2017.0342⟩. ⟨hal-02996121⟩



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