The co-evolution of organizational performance and emotional contagion

Robin Cowan, Nicolas Jonard & Rifka Weehuizen


In this paper we model interactions between organizational structures, job stress, emotional contagion and organization performance. An organization is modelled as solving problems or performing tasks. Tasks enter the organization and can be addressed by a subset of its members. Organization structure determines which agents can address which problems. Members address the task by applying energy to it. An agent's available energy is determined by his stress level, which is in turn determined by his workload. However agents' stress levels are moderated by social interactions that take place in parallel to the work environment. Organizations can be structured as a group of specialized individuals or as hierarchies of varying depths. We explore the effects of organizational structure and social interactions on performance.

keywords: stress, emotional contagion, social networks, organization structure, productivity

JEL codes: L2, M1, M5, D23