The rationality of emotions: A hybrid process model of decision-making under uncertainty

Yan Li, Neal M. Ashkanasy, David Ahlstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Decision-making continues to be a vital area of research on organizations, particularly in Asia. After years of research under the cognitive approach, there has been an upsurge of scholarly attention connecting decision-making to emotion. Nonetheless, competing accounts of the role played by emotion in decision-making have created a conundrum as to whether emotion is rational or irrational and whether it should even be considered along with other cognitive aspects of the decision-making process. In response, we derive a hybrid process decision-making model to integrate the effects from cognition and emotions varying with the levels of uncertainty. In proposing this model, we seek to differentiate the rationality of emotions from the instrumental, functional, and expressive mechanisms in decision-making. In particular, we proffer that affective construal legitimates the rational account of emotions under high uncertain situation. Finally, we draw some key implications and recommendations for organizational research in the Asian region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-308
Number of pages16
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Affective construal
  • China
  • Decision-making
  • Emotion
  • Irrationality
  • Rationality
  • Uncertainty

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