Complexity theory and affect structure: a dynamic approach to modeling emotional changes in organizations

Yan Li, Neal M. Ashkanasy, David Ahlstrom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Citations (Scopus)


To reconcile theoretical discrepancies between discrete emotion, dimensional emotion (positive vs. negative affect), and the circumplex model, we propose the bifurcation model of affect structure (BMAS). Based on complexity theory, this model explores how emotion as an adaptive complex system reacts to affective events through negative and positive feedback loops, resulting in self-organizing oscillation and transformations between three states: equilibrium emotion, discrete positive and negative emotion in the near-equilibrium state, and chaotic emotion. We argue that the BMAS is superior to the extant models in revealing the dynamic connections between emotions and the intensity of affective events in organizational settings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch on Emotion in Organizations
EditorsNeal M Ashkanasy, Wilfred J Zerbe, Charmine E J Härtel
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-85724-178-8
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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