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Emotions in the Digitalised Workplace

Niki Panteli, Royal Holloway University of London & NTNU, Norway,

Fay Giaver, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway,

Jostein Engesmo, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway,

Emotions, defined as  a transient state constructed on the spot based on bodily sensations, events and situations in the environment (Barrett, 2016) with an inherent action tendency (Frijda, 2007), are functional and critical for individuals for interpreting and navigating their surroundings (Lazarus, 1991). Emotions are seen as highly contextual, triggered, fuelled and shaped by the situation in which individuals find themselves with important implications for the digitalised workplace.

The link between emotions and digitalisation was first recognised by Fineman, Maitlis and Panteli (2007) who called for research to explore how emotions are constructed, modified or supressed within the virtual environment. Our recent literature review on emotions within digitalised workplaces has shown that researchers’ interests in these types of workplaces are varied and diverse. Studies have focused on different aspects of these workplaces, with some giving emphasis on the role of ICTs in the functioning of the workplace, different types of IT professionals and IT-dependent workers such as cybersecurity professionals (D’Arcy et al.2014 ), IT staff (Wang et al. 2020) or gig workers (Pignot, 2021),  the implications of the digitalised workplaces and/or specific IT use on employees’ anxiety and technostress (Elie-Dit-Cosaque et al 2012), feelings of violation (Lin et al, 2018)  and wellbeing (Abelsen, et al, 2021). Collectively, these studies  confirm that digitalised workplaces which constitute of different digital technologies and applications across diverse settings, provide plethora of opportunities to researchers to examine the processes and mechanisms through which these workplaces function, the interactions within them as well as the impact they have on individuals and organisations alike. Despite these, existing literature has remained limited.

Further, the majority of studies adopted a quantitative method, and  emotions have typically  been seen as an antecedent or moderator variable; in some studies emotions emerged as a result of data analysis,  rather than being the driving conceptual lens.

Accordingly, despite the growth of digitalisation, the relevant literature appears to be limited and though digitalised workplaces are broadly defined, there tends to be a narrow perspective taken on emotions. Our Special Issue on ‘Emotions in the Digitalised Workplace’ adds to the limited literature by bringing together research studies covering some of the research gaps that exist in this area. We argue that this topic is vital for developing insights into the impact of digitalisation on employees and other organisational members. Nevertheless, several research opportunities remain and in our editorial we identify specific areas of research that have been omitted and which deserve investigation, with implications for theory and research in the study of emotions and their relation to digitalisation and work. In particular, the new work practices made possible with technology (e.g. hybrid work, remote work, digital meetings etc.) provide autonomy and flexibility, but may also lead to a sense of isolation and loneliness (e.g. Abelsen et al. 2021). It is our position that the study of emotions in the digitalized workplace is a fruitful avenue for research.

For further information, please refer to:

Panteli, N., Giæver, F., & Engesmo, J. (2022). Guest editorial: Emotions in the digitalised workplace. Information Technology & People35(6), 1677-1692.



Abelsen, S. N., Vatne, S. H., Mikalef, P., & Choudrie, J. (2021). Digital working during the COVID-19 pandemic: how task–technology fit improves work performance and lessens feelings of loneliness. Information Technology and People.

Agogo, D., & Hess, T. J. (2018). “How does tech make you feel?” a review and examination of negative affective responses to technology use. European Journal of Information Systems, 27(5), 570–599.

Barrett, L. F. (2016). The theory of constructed emotion: an active inference account of

interoception and categorization. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12(1), 1-23. doi:10.1093/scan/nsw154

D’Arcy, J., Herath, T., & Shoss, M. K. (2014). Understanding Employee Responses to Stressful Information Security Requirements: A Coping Perspective. Journal of Management Information Systems, 31(2), 285–318.

Elie-Dit-Cosaque, C., Pallud, J., & Kalika, M. (2011). The influence of individual, contextual, and social factors on perceived behavioral control of information technology: A field theory approach. In Journal of Management Information Systems (Vol. 28, Issue 3, pp. 201–234).

Fineman, S., Maitlis, S., and Panteli, N. 2007. Virtuality and emotion. Human Relations, 60: 555-560.

Frijda, N. H. (2007). The laws of emotion. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. Oxford University Press.

Lin, T. C., Huang, S. L., & Chiang, S. C. (2018). User resistance to the implementation of information systems: A psychological contract breach perspective. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 19(4), 306–332

Wang, N. (Tina), Carte, T. A., & Bisel, R. S. (2020). Negativity decontaminating: Communication media affordances for emotion regulation strategies. Information and Organization, 30(2).


Niki Panteli is a Professor of Digital Business at Royal Holloway University of London, School of Business and Management and an Adjunct Professor at the Norwegian University of Scienve and Technology. She is currently the co-director of the Digital Organisations and Society (DOS) research centre at the School of Business and Management, Royal Holloway UoL and the President for the UK Academy for Information systems ( She is a Senior Editor for Information Systems Journal and Information Technology & People. Her research has appeared in numerous top-ranked academic journals including Work, Employment and Society, the Journal of the Association of Information Systems, Information Systems Journal, European Journal of Information Systems, Human Relations, Information Technology and People, Decision Support Systems, Communications of the ACM and New Technology, Work and Employment among others.

Fay Giaver is an Associate Professor at NTNU (The Norwegian University of Science and Technology) at the Department of Psychology. She has a PhD in Psychology from NTNU. Her research interests revolve around the role of emotions at work and she has been involved in research projects on organisational change, artistic interventions at work, sickness presence/absence, and work adjustment for employees with mental health issues. Recently she has been particularly interested in how organisations concerned with environmentally responsible business practices and values can be enabled and supported. She is leading the “Greening Organizations” research group: She is currently also involved in a research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council on sustainable meat-use in Norwegian food practices for climate mitigation (MEATigation) focusing particularly on the organisational perspective.

Jostein Engesmo is an Associate professor at NTNU, Department of Computer Science. He has a PhD in organisation change from Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management from the same university. For several years he worked as a management consultant and project manager for various companies. His research interest now is within the topics of digital transformation and adoption of digital solutions. Currently, he is involved in research projects looking at digital leaders in digital transformation, and adoption of AI-based solutions.

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