Making Invisible Forces Visible: Managing Employees' Values and Attitudes Through Transient Emotions

Helene Ratner, Justine Grønbæk Pors

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper investigates managerial tactics of visualisation when a need to know and manage employees' values and attitudes is expressed. Using the Danish public school as a case study, we explore how school managers use teachers' emotions to render visible presumably invisible information about their 'true' attitudes and values. The paper draws on theories of affect as well as actor-network theory to analyse three incidents where managers turn their interpretations of teachers' emotions into such information. These incidents suggest that the efforts to render employees' attitudes and values visible install a normative emotional scale where an ideal employee displays emotional investment and self-control. This has implications, not only for employees who are expected to exhibit the 'right' emotions, but also for management, which comes to depend on transient emotions and co-presence in situations that cannot be planned for.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy
Issue number3/4
Pages (from-to)208-223
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • School Management
  • Transient Emotions
  • Visualisation
  • Affect Theories
  • Actor-Network Theory
  • ANT
  • Employee Values
  • Employee Attitudes
  • Public Schools
  • Demark
  • Teacher Emotions
  • Emotional Investment
  • Self Control

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