Emotional energy is key to disruptive institutional work, but we still know little about what it is, and importantly, how it is refuelled. This empirical paper presents an in-depth case study of ‘No More Page 3’ (#NMP3), an Internet-based feminist organization which fought for the removal of sexualized images of women from a UK newspaper. Facing online misogyny, actors engage in ‘emotional energy replenishment’ to sustain this disruptive institutional work amid emotional highs and lows. We introduce ‘affective embodiment’ – the corporeal and emotional experiences of the institution – as providing emotional energy in relation to disruptive institutional work. Affective embodiment is surfaced through alignment or misalignment with others’ embodied experiences, and this mediates how actors replenish emotional energy. Alignment with others’ embodied experiences, often connected to online abuse, means emotional energy is replenished through ‘affective solidarity’ (movement towards the collective). Misalignment, surfaced through tensions within the movement, means actors seek replenishment through ‘sensory retreat’ (movement away from the collective). This study contributes to theorization on institutional work and emotional energy by recentring the importance of the body alongside emotions, as well as offering important lessons for online organizing.
- emotional energy
- institutional work
- social media
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Strategy and Management
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation