Being angry in the workplace can be beneficial, academic says

A university academic has called upon employers to embrace anger in the workplace, arguing that it plays a vital role in keeping the environment fair.

Dr Dirk Lindebaum, from the University of Liverpool’s Management School, has said that "moral anger" stands apart from other forms of anger, which are more routinely associated with negative traits like aggression, hostility or bullying.

In seeking to reduce all indignation, employers miss out on the “more socially-functional, adaptive and fairness-enhancing components” of the emotion, Dr Lindebaum contends.

He argues that increasingly, the emotion is cast as an expression of deviant, harmful behaviour, a dismissal which detracts from ‘moral’ anger - which is defined as when one’s actions are viewed as ultimately beneficial to society in general, possibly putting oneself at some risk.

In the Journal of Organisational Behaviour, alongside Temple University’s Dr Deanna Geddes, Dr Lindebaum wrote:

Allowing morally-motivated anger to be expressed can serve as a tool of organisational diagnosis to better our individual and collective behaviours.

Moral anger serves to avoid harm while improving upon or removing an unacceptable situation that violates important moral values.

By prompting helping behaviour, moral anger attempts to reconcile disparity, repair damaging situations, restore equity and improve the human condition.

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