The positive effect of expressing negative emotions on knowledge creation capability and performance of project teams
International Journal of Project Management,
July (3rd Quarter/Summer)
Organizations are built around teams as a way to better manage complex work, such as technological projects. However, complex team work presents challenges that can often generate positive and negative emotions, as well as demand efforts to generate new knowledge. We examine whether and how the team’s capacity to constructively express negative emotions facilitates knowledge creation capabilities and thereby enhances project outcomes. Time-lagged data collected from teams that develop advanced technological products indicate that with greater capacity for constructively expressing negative emotions, teams enhance their capability to access crucial knowledge, and exchange and integrate that knowledge in ways that enhance both project performance outcomes and project budget adherence. In so doing, we hope to open up new avenues for research on how expressing negative emotions in project teams can help in building knowledge creation capabilities and drive multiple performance outcomes.