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Dr. Sandeep Patnaik, Research Director of GALLUP Corporation

Topic: Implicit Emotions in the Workplace

Date: December 10, 2010

Speaker Profile :

Dr.Sandeep Patnaik started his career as an a cademician , teaching at the Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi. Subsequently he joined the Indian Civil Services (1990 batch) and worked for various ministries including Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Communication. In 1997 he went to the University of Pennsylvania to work on his PhD dissertation on employee motivation. During 1997-2000, Dr. Patnaik had the opportunity of working as a Research Associate with some of the world’ leading experts in Marketing and Organizational Behavior. He has published several papers mainly in the area of Market Research. One of his papers on “Quasi Empirical evidence in advertising research” has been included in the special edition of Journal of Advertising Research that has a historical compilation of 25 most influential papers on the subject. Recently his book titled “PERSUASIVE ADVERTISING”, which he co-authored with Professor “Scott Armstrong” of the Wharton School, has been published by McMillan. Dr. Patnaik has taught advertising strategies at the Wharton School and also teaches Marketing to the executive MBA students at the University of Maryland. He coordinated research activities in the area of emotional engagement in advertisements. .


Speaking to the students of KSOM on “Implicit Emotions in the Workplace”, Dr. Patnaik said that emotions play an important role in the workplace and it is through this that an entire organization communicates within itself and to the outside world. Events at work have real emotional impact on participants. The consequences of emotional states in the workplace , both behavioral and attitudinal are significant for individuals, groups, and society.

Further, Dr. Sandeep Patnaik elaborated on how one’s Implicit Emotions actually get reflected in the workplace. He spoke about Emotion as a “complex psycho-physiological process influencing conscious and unconscious behavior”. Citing an example of explicit emotion, he said that “When you get angry, your face turns red and you become agitated.” This kind of situation wherein a person’s inner feelings are depicted on one’s face is called as showing explicit emotions. Implicit Emotions are emotional processes activated or processed outside one’s conscious awareness that influences outgoing thought, behavior and conscious emotional experiences.

Another important point of discussion was where these Implicit Emotions spring from. In relation to this, Dr. Patnaik said that there are two main sources from where these emotions emerge.

•  External (derived from the employees)

To explain the same he supported it with an example. He said that suppose one is watching a television program and another friend of yours bursts out laughing .The moment you see this you too start laughing. This is known as Social Modeling.

2. Internal (an individual’s own prior experiences)

A person doesn’t do it deliberately.

Dr. Patnaik also spoke about Emotional Contagion as the tendency to automatically mimic and synchronize facial expressions, vocalizations postures and movements with those of the other person and consequently to converge emotionally. This is actually emotionally induced without the recipient being aware of it.

He said that in today’s corporate scenario ‘Smiles beget Smiles’. In a study it was proved that when a bank employee smiled and made more eye contact with the customer, the customers reported corresponding positive emotions. Therefore a ‘Smile’ can sometimes help the organization acquire and retain profitable customers. He spoke about Mood Contagion and Leadership and attachment patterns too.

In the Q&A session, students asked him questions on whether the implicit emotions can be converted into explicit ones. To this he replied saying that it depends on the situation. He concluded by narrating a story titled “TALE OF THE TWO WOLVES”. The story underlined the fact that in our journey of experience between good and evil, at the end of the day what matters is that what we choose.