Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate decision-processing effects of incidental emotions in managerial decision-making situations. Design/methodology/approach - A complex multi-attribute, multi-alternative decision task related to international human resources management is used as a research vehicle. The data are obtained by means of an electronic information board. Findings - Happiness and anger cause the decision maker to process less decision-relevant information, whereas fear activates more detail-oriented processing. The results are explained within the valence model and cognitive-appraisal framework. Research limitations/implications - A boundary condition of the study is the level of induced emotions. Processing effects of extremely high levels of emotions are not examined, which necessarily limits the generalizability of the findings. Also, the experiment focusses on the decision-processing effects of single isolated emotions extracted by manipulations; future research needs to examine decision-making implications of an entire emotion episode, which is likely to contain emotion mixtures. Practical implications - For managers, this study demonstrates the importance of being mindful of how incidental emotional states can bias choice processing in complex managerial decisions. Originality/value - This study extends earlier organizational research by focussing on decisionmaking consequences of emotion, rather than those of mood or stress. It brings together research on incidental emotions and process-tracing methodologies, thereby allowing for more direct assessment of the observed effects. Decision-processing consequences of emotion are shown to persist throughout a content-rich managerial decision task without being neutralized by an intensive cognitive engagement.
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