Studying Workplace Emotions in India: A Rapprochement of Psychoanalytic and Social Constructionist Approaches

  • Eda Ulus

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis offers an analysis of workplace emotions by interweaving socialconstructionist and psychoanalytic theoretical frameworks. The introductionhighlights the importance of workplace emotion for organisation studies anddiscusses the significance of drawing on more than one framework for anunderstanding of the complexities of workplace emotions. India was chosen as thelocale for the study for a variety of reasons, including its global significance, its history of psychoanalysis, and immense diversity, which offer a vast landscape for exploring emotions from multiple perspectives. Engaging with India provides a cultural corrective to research on organisational emotion focussed upon Western spaces. The literature review discusses the tenets, limitations, and possibilities for cross-fertilisation of social constructionist and psychoanalytic accounts, and explores further the opportunities provided by the choice of India as the site for this work. The methodology informing the research is then introduced, focussing on qualitative interviews, storytelling, and countertransference as key features of the data collection and analysis. Four data chapters follow, which present and analyse empirical data from the field work to highlight the importance of both frameworks for an enriched understanding of emotions. The major themes that emerge from the data include cultural dynamics influencing emotions, emotional labour, workplace traumas, and the legacy of colonialism in work spaces. The thesis concludes with a review of the theoretical contributions and an identification of new possibilities and new stories for exploration opened upon by this research.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorYiannis Gabriel (Supervisor)


  • emotion
  • India
  • psychoanalytic
  • social constructionist
  • postcolonial

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