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Professor Anat Rafaeli

 
 
General Information
Anat Rafaeli holds the Yigal Alon Chair for the Study of People at Work in the Technion, Israel's Institute of Technology. She completed her PhD studies at the Ohio State University and was a post-doctorate visiting fellow at Stanford University after which she joined the faculty of The Hebrew University. She has also been a faculty member at The University of Michigan, and since 2000 she has been a professor in the faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management of Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology. Anat’s research examines emotions felt and displayed in organizations, organizational artifacts (e.g., workstation design, organizational logos, or employee dress), hiring and recruiting processes, and service interactions between employees and customers. She is also the Head of the Technion International School. In this role she manages international academic partnerships, teaching programs targeted at international students, and student mobility and exchange programs.  

 
 
Research Summary

Overview

My academic career began with a study of the use of handwriting analysis for personnel selection. This was important to me at the time because graphology was quite widely used for personnel selection in Israel and in Europe, and my findings -- as summarized in a paper in the Journal of Applied Psychology -- challenge this trend by showing that graphology is not a valid tool for employee selection (Rafaeli and Klimoski, 1983). This line of research and the related research methods (tests of the reliability and validity of a selection tool) are distant from what I see as the highlights of my research career. But I still believe this study illustrate the rigor and vigor of my academic work.

The key motivator of my academic work has been the application of theoretical thought, data collection, and data analysis to the study of what seems to be taken for granted by organizations, their managers or their researchers. My contributions to the field combine interdisciplinary theoretical foundations with eclectic research methods to unravel the theoretical and applied implications of such practices. I believe my contribution to the field has been in both methodology and content. Therefore below I first discuss the methods I have used in my academic research, and then provide an overview of the two key topics where I believe my research has made a contribution. I conclude with a brief description of my collaborations and professional honors.

Methods of Study

My formal education was in Industrial-Organizational psychology with a focus on quantitative research methods and hypotheses testing research. In my post-doc experience, however, at Stanford University I became fascinated with theory development and qualitative-inductive work. Since then my contributions to the literature have been through blending these two orientations. Excellent academic work - in my view -- combines a broad based, inter-disciplinary review of published literature with data-based empirical research. I consider field and lab studies, experimental and survey studies, and quantitative and qualitative methods to be complementary sources of alternative vantage points on any phenomena of study. My research has integrated these multiple methods.

I have published theory development papers that rely on literature reviews (Rafaeli and Sutton, 1987; Rafaeli and Pratt, 1993; Rafaeli, 1997; Feldman and Rafaeli, 2002) and theory development papers that rely on qualitative analyses (Sutton and Rafaeli, 1988; Rafaeli, 1989; Rafaeli et al, 1997; Pratt and Rafaeli, 1997; Rafaeli, 2000; Rafaeli and Vilnai-Yavetz, 2003). I see my most important theoretical contributions as two: (1) Introducing theory about displays of emotion as critical part of work requirements, and about the influences of such requirements on both individual and organizational-level outcomes. (2) Developing theory about multiple, and previously unrecognized aspects of organizational dress, and more generally organizational symbols and artifacts.

Theory development is not enough for me, however, because I believe science must advance through hypotheses testing. I have therefore also contributed to the field a range of empirical findings which are based on hypotheses testing research. I have conducted both experiments (Rafaeli, 1999; Rafaeli Baron and Haber, 2002; Gilboa and Rafaeli, 2003) and field surveys (Rafaeli, 1985; Rafaeli, 1986; Rafaeli and Sutton, 1986; Rafaeli, 1989). I elaborate on the content of my work below.

Content of Work

My important contributions to the field are in two areas: (i) emotional labor, and the integration of emotion into organizational dynamics, and (ii) organizational dress and the broader issue of symbols and artifacts in organizations. I briefly elaborate on each of these topics below.

Emotion and Displayed Emotion

My interest in emotion in organizations began with my collaboration with Bob Sutton in a theory development paper published in the Academy of Management Review (Rafaeli and Sutton, 1987). Our theory analyzed the required displays of emotions as part of employees' organizational roles, their parameters, the means of influence that organizations and their managers engage to enforce such displays, and the effects that such emotional displays may have on organizational level and individual level outcomes. We later extended and elaborated our theory in a chapter in the prestigious series Research in Organizational Behavior (Rafaeli and Sutton, 1989). And we extended the theory to suggest the contrast between displays of positive and negative emotion as effective means of social influence, in what we called "emotional contrast strategies." We developed this theoretical insight through a qualitative - inductive study of displays of emotion engaged by bill collectors and criminal investigators (Rafaeli and Sutton, 1991).

The importance of a theory of emotional displays as part of organizational roles was in expanding the realm of behaviors critical to organizational managers and scholars to include emotion - an idea that had not been main stream until this work. In several studies we were then able to empirically examine related hypotheses. In Sutton and Rafaeli, (1988) - a paper acknowledged as the best paper of the year in the Academy of Management Journal - we challenge common assumptions about the relationship between displays of positive emotion by employees and organizational performance. We illustrate the important effects of the context (store busyness and customer expectations) on emotions displayed by employees. Several later papers identified the effects of additional variables on displayed emotion. Rafaeli (1989a) documents the effects of gender, Rafaeli and Sutton (1990) show the effects of customer demand, and Rafaeli (1989b) identified the struggle for control in service interactions between employees and customers. Together these studies reveal that organizational situations that may appear mundane - such as those of grocery store cashiers - in actuality envelope an emotional complexity that demands close managerial and scholarly attention. These studies also brought to the field the realization that emotion is not a factor that can be managed by managerial instructions, because emotion is influenced by a host of local and contextual factors.

My work on displayed emotion drove me to examine the complex relationship between organizational employment and individual emotion. My analysis of the historical evolution of this uneasy relationship appears in a paper invited by the interdisciplinary journal Social Science Information (Rafaeli and Worline, 2001). I review and challenge the historical assumption of complete separation between individual emotion and business needs, showing that some emotions (such as anger) have been legitimate all along. As a pioneer in the study of emotion in organizations I was also invited to contribute to multiple edited volumes on the topic: I wrote the forward to the volume Managing Emotions in the Workplace, (Rafaeli, 2002), and contributed chapters to other volumes including the Handbook of Workplace Spirituality and Organizational Performance (Vilnai-Yavetz and Rafaeli, 2003), Emotion and Work Performance, (Worline, Wrzesniewski, and Rafaeli 2002), Emotions in Organizational Research (Vasserman, Rafaeli, and Kluger, 2000), and Emotions in the Workplace (Kluger and Rafaeli, 2000).

One of the factors that I found to affect the emotions that employees displayed while at work was their dress - a finding reported in both Rafaeli (1989a) and Rafaeli (1989b). These findings led me to more closely review available theory and research on organizational dress and, more generally, organizational artifacts, and inspired my second stream of research - on symbols and artifacts in organizations.

Symbols and Artifacts in Organizations

My review of the literature revealed a frustrating lack of solid theory about organizational dress so I ventured to develop this theory. I identified parameters essential for the analysis of organizational dress and for its potential influences in organizations (Rafaeli and Pratt, 1993), and expanded this thinking to a more general analysis of symbols which led me to realize that dress and other symbols and artifacts are actually a language that helps form, shape and color organizational relating. These ideas are advanced in a chapter in the prestigious series Research in Organizational Behavior (Pratt and Rafaeli, 2001). In prior research employee dress had always been considered a symbol of organizational values. My work on organizational dress identified the multiple important aspects of dress, including various functions (e.g., it identifies a waiter to customer and helps create compliance as well as an organizational identity for employees). In two papers -- Pratt and Rafaeli, (1997) and Rafaeli, Dutton, Harquail and Lewis (1997) - I empirically link organizational dress and individual as well as organizational identity.

Thus, my theory development efforts positioned dress dynamics as more complex than had been previously recognized. Continuing this line of thought my most recent theoretical contribution suggests that any organizational artifact is actually multi-dimensional, embodying symbolism in addition to functionality and aesthetics (Rafaeli and Vilnai-Yavetz, 2004). The literature review to this paper identifies three distinct bodies of research on physical artifacts that comprise organizations. Integrating these disparate bodies of research we suggest three simultaneous and complementary dimensions of all artifacts - instrumentality, aesthetics and symbolism - as essential for valid analysis and management of artifacts. This contribution is important because it lays the foundations for a theory of organizational artifacts, and for understanding how, when and why artifacts are connected to organizations.

Following my theoretical work on dress I began to study other artifacts. I explored routines as artifacts that contribute to creating a sense of connection and shared understandings among organizational members (Feldman and Rafaeli, 2001). And I researched employment ads as artifacts that can both project and bond the relationship between employees and employers, describing this research in my paper in the Journal of Management Inquiry (Rafaeli and Oliver, 1998) and in a book chapter (Rafaeli, 2002). The inquiry into artifacts made me realize how complicated the mere definition of and distinction between 'organization' and 'employee' can be. I summarize these thoughts in an invited chapter (Rafaeli, 1996). And, in Rafaeli and Vilnai-Yaevtz, (2003) I argued that artifacts are one vehicle that can help discern the boundaries that surround the otherwise amorphous entity casually called 'organization'. Finally, my observation about the paucity of theoretical thought about artifacts led me to my most comprehensive effort on this topic - an edited volume entitled "Artifacts and Organizations: Beyond Mere Symbolism". With Mike Pratt I invited 15 authors who represent different theoretical perspectives on artifacts to contribute to this forthcoming volume (Rafaeli and Pratt, forthcoming, Lawrence Erlbaum).

My empirical work on organizational artifacts unraveled a tight connection between artifacts and emotion, connecting between my two streams of research. Kluger and Rafaeli, (2000) quantitatively documents reliable affective reactions to dress and appearance. Vasserman, Rafaeli and Kluger (2000) and Gilboa and Rafaeli (2003) connect the physical layout of organizations to emotions. Rafaeli, Barron and Haber (2002) connect customer wait queues to the emotions of people waiting. Most importantly Rafaeli and Vilnai-Yavetz (2004) advanced a comprehensive theory of emotion as the medium through which artifacts are interpreted by organizational constituents, and through which artifacts are related to organizational image. Other efforts document emotion as key to the sense-making and the effects of these dimensions (Rafaeli and Vilnai-Yavetz, 2004a, 2004b, 2004c).

Thus, the two streams of my research have evolved to be tightly connected - artifacts have emotional effects on individuals, are interpreted emotionally by individuals, and are connected to organizations they represent through emotion.

Current work

I am currently immersed in several research agendas that build on, and expand my previous work on emotion and artifacts. This work is still very much in. First, I have begun to explore the uneasy effects that anger holds in organizations. In initial research, conducted with several MA students, I found that anger expressions can improve individual's promotion opportunities. In related work, conducted with other students, I found a fascinating interaction with culture in this relationship. A paper we submitted to (and were invited to revise by) the Journal of Applied Psychology reports that anger improves promotion opportunities in Israel but not in Singapore; it also reports and that in Israel people readily accept this relationship when asked about promotion decisions made by others, but completely refute it when asked about decisions that they themselves would make.

Second, I have been trying to unravel the special complexities of customer service in the rapidly expanding industry of call-centers. With several students I completed a large scale survey of the call center industry in Israel, which was my part in an international collaboration of 15 researchers from multiple countries and continents. In parallel, with some other students I am examining the severe emotional demands that call center work places on employees in an attempt to explain the rapid turnover in this industry. With yet a third group of students I am striving to comprehend the affective implications of the customer end of telephone service. A paper we submitted to (and were invited to revise by) the Journal of Applied Psychology reports on various interventions in telephone queues that improve people's positive feelings while waiting on the phone. I was recently awarded a large grant by the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology for collaborating in this line of research with Prof. Hanoch Levy of Tel Aviv University Computer Science Department. Thus, I am trying to help this rapidly growing industry understand how to manage its employees, its customers and its queues so as to consider various artifacts that may hamper or improve feelings as well as performance.

Honors and Professional Affiliations

My work has appeared in key outlets in organizational behavior, and I have served on the editorial boards of all of the top four journals in my field (e.g., Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, and Organization Science). In 1988 my paper with Bob Sutton was recognized as the Best Paper in the Academy of Management Journal, and my collaboration with Bob Sutton was celebrated in an invitation to contribute to a volume entitled Conducting Exemplary Research, (Rafaeli and Sutton, 1990) which is required reading in various PhD programs around the world. Our chapter in the volume describes the collaboration process as "A Tale of Bickering and Optimism." I believe this title communicates a realistic picture of a productive collaboration -- interactions that may at times be unpleasant, but inspire insightful, excellent research.

My work is also consumed and cited by scholars in other disciplines, most notably services marketing and management. Scholars in this community turn to me to represent the views of employees and to connect between research and theory in organizational behavior and the needs of service marketing and management. I have been invited to contribute to various volumes published for the community of marketing scholars (e.g., Rafaeli, 1995 in "Managing Services Marketing" and Rafaeli, 1997 in Advances in Services Marketing and Management,) and I am an active member of the editorial board of two key journals - the Journal of Service Research and the International Journal of Service Industry Management.

Because of my quest for inter-disciplinary foundations my work routinely involves surveys of available literature in a broad array of disciplines, including management, organizational behavior, psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, communication, linguistics and marketing. I also try to present my work both at conferences in my discipline and at conferences mainly targeted at scholars from other disciplines. I have been honored with the Best Theoretical Paper Award at the Conference on Affective Human Factors Design (in Singapore, 2001), as well as an invitation to act as a president at the International Conference on Service Marketing and Management (France, June, 2004), and an invitation to give the keynote address in the conference Frontiers in Service Management (Miami, October, 2004).

Collaborations

I have been extremely fortunate to enjoy prolific and productive collaborations. In qualitative and theory development efforts I have collaborated with colleagues (e.g., primarily Bob Sutton, but also Jane Dutton, Martha Feldman and Amalya Oliver) and with PhD students (e.g., Mike Pratt, Monica Worline and Iris Vilnai-Yavetz). On experimental, hypotheses testing research I have collaborated with Masters' level students (Shaked Gilboa, Caryn Jacob, Karen Haber, Techiya Ramati, Nira Munichor, Varda Vasserman). I consider work such empirical work an excellent educational opportunity for a masters' student and an excellent opportunity for me to test hypotheses that my theoretical work advances. For example, my work with Shaked Gilboa, Caryn Jacob and Techiya Ramati tested some of the hypotheses advanced in my theoretical efforts on organizational dress and artifacts. Rafaeli, Vilnai-Yavetz, and Jacob, (2004) tested hypotheses advanced in Rafaeli and Vilnai-Yavetz (2004) about three separate dimensions inherent to any organizational artifacts - instrumentality, aesthetics and symbolism. Rafaeli, Vilnai-Yavetz and Ramati (under review) supported the hypothesis that artifacts' values on these dimensions significantly relate to customer interest in service interactions.

 
 
Current Research Projects

I am currently immersed in several research agendas that build on, and expand my previous work on emotion and artifacts. This work is still very much in. First, I have begun to explore the uneasy effects that anger holds in organizations. In initial research, conducted with several MA students, I found that anger expressions can improve individual's promotion opportunities. In related work, conducted with other students, I found a fascinating interaction with culture in this relationship. A paper we submitted to (and were invited to revise by) the Journal of Applied Psychology reports that anger improves promotion opportunities in Israel but not in Singapore; it also reports and that in Israel people readily accept this relationship when asked about promotion decisions made by others, but completely refute it when asked about decisions that they themselves would make.

Second, I have been trying to unravel the special complexities of customer service in the rapidly expanding industry of call-centers. With several students I completed a large scale survey of the call center industry in Israel, which was my part in an international collaboration of 15 researchers from multiple countries and continents. In parallel, with some other students I am examining the severe emotional demands that call center work places on employees in an attempt to explain the rapid turnover in this industry. With yet a third group of students I am striving to comprehend the affective implications of the customer end of telephone service. A paper we submitted to (and were invited to revise by) the Journal of Applied Psychology reports on various interventions in telephone queues that improve people's positive feelings while waiting on the phone. Thus, I am trying to help this rapidly growing industry understand how to manage both its employees and its customers and to consider various artifacts that may hamper or improve feelings as well as performance.

 
 
Selected Publications

Emotion in Organizations

Psychology of Queues and Waiting

  • Weiss, L., A. Rafaeli and N. Munichor (2007) Proximity to or progress toward receiving a telephone service? An experimental investigation of customer reactions to features of telephone auditory messages Advances in Consumer Research 35
  • The Effects of Queue Structure on Attitudes, Journal of Service Research, 2002, 5, 2. 125-140.
  • Queues and Fairness Manuscript under review.
  • Telephone Waiting and Caller Reactions, Journal of Applied Psychology 2007, 92.2.

    Artifacts, Dress and Routines in Organization

  •  Lurie, G., Rafaeli, A. (2008) Testing Safety Commitment in Organizations with a Safety Artifact Interpretation ToolJournal of Safety Research.
  • Aesthetics and Professionalism of Virtual ServicescapesJournal of Service Research, 2005
  • Logos and Compliance
  • Artifacts and Organizations, In print, Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers - 2005.
  • Instrumentality, Aesthetics and Symbolism of Office Design. Environment and Behavior, 2004, 36, 10, 1-18.
  • Connecting artifacts to organizations "Organization Science", 2004, 15, 6.
  • Discerning Organizational Boundaries through Physical Artifacts
  • Applying environmental aesthetics to retailingThe International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 13, 2, April 2003, 1-17
  • Relating instrumentality, aesthetics, and symbolism of physical artifacts to emotions. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, Special issue: Theories and Methods in Affective Human Factors Design, 2004, 5, 1, 95-112.
  • Organizational routines as sources of connections and understandings.Journal of Management Studies, 2002, 39.3, 309-331.
  • Symbols as a language of organizational relating work, Research in Organizational Behavior, 23, 2001, 93-133
  • Organizational symbols and organizational culture. In: N. Ashkenasy & C.P.M. Wilderom (Eds.) International Handbook of Organizational Climate and Culture, 2001, 71-84.
  • The three dimensions of affective reactions to physical appearance. In: N. Ashkenasy, Hartel, C. & Zerbe, W. (Eds.) Emotions in the Workplace: Theory, Research and Practice, 2000, 141-156.
  •  Rafaeli, A., Dutton, J. E., Harquail, C. V., & Lewis, S. 1997.  Navigating by attire: The use of dress by female administrative employeesAcademy of Management Journal,  40(1): 9-45.
  •  Pratt, M. & Rafaeli, A. 1997. Organizational dress as a symbol of multilayered social identities.   Academy of Management Journal, 40(4): 862-898.
  • Navigating by attire: The use of dress by female administrative employees. Academy of Management Journal, 1997, 40, 1,9-45.
  • Vested interests: Dress as an integrating symbol Academy of Management Journal, 1997, 40, 4, 860-896.
  • Rafaeli, Anat (1993), Dress and behavior of customer contact employees: A framework for analysis , Advances in Services Marketing and Management, 2, 175-211.
  • Tailored meanings: On the meaning and impact of organizational dress .Academy of Management Review, 1993, 1, 32-56.
  • Dress and behavior of customer contact employees: A framework for analysis. Advances in Services Marketing and Management, 1993, 2, 175-213.
  • Work station characteristics as potential occupational stressors.Academy of Management Journal, 1987, 260-276.
  • Aesthetic symbols and emotional cues. In: S. Fineman (Ed.) Emotions in Organizational Research, Sage., 140-167.

    Customer Service

  • Rafaeli, A., Ziklik, L., & Doucet, L. (2007). The impact of call center employees' customer orientation behaviors on customer satisfaction. Journal of Service Research.
  • Dress and behavior of customer contact employees: A framework for analysis.Advances in Services Marketing and Management, 2, 1997, 175-213.
  • When cashiers meet customers: An analysis of the role of the supermarket cashier.Academy of Management Journal, 1989, 32, 2, 245-273.
  • When clerks meet customers: A test of variables related to emotional expressions on the job. Journal of Applied Psychology1989, 74, 385-393

    Employment Advertising

  • Sense-making of employment: On whether and why people read employment advertisingJournal of Organizational Behavior, 2006
  • Recruiting through advertising or employee referral: costs, yields and the effects of geographical focusEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 2006
  • Motivation at the point of departure: Evidence from employment advertising. In: M. Erez, H. Thierry, U. Kleinbeck (Eds.), A Multi-Level Approach to Employee Motivation, 2002, New York: Lawrence Earlbaum, 118-130.
  • Projecting an organizational identity: Lessons from employment advertising. Corporate Reputation Review, Summer, 2000, 218-240.
  • Employment Advertising: A configurational research agendaJournal of Management Inquiry, 1998, 7, 4, 342-359.

    The Process of Application for Employment

  • Letters of application for employment: Impression management in letters of application for employment. Advances in Qualitative Organizational Research, Volume 3, forthcoming
  • Individual investments in pre-employment screening: Improving applicants attitudes toward an employment opportunity. Journal of Social Psychology, 139, 6, 700-713.
  • Letters of application for employment: Impression management in letters of application for employment.Advances in Qualitative Organizational Research, 3, 2001, 1-33.
  • Validating your merit in letters of application for employment. Journal of Mundane Behavior, June 10 2000.

    Handwriting Analysis in Personnel Selection

  • Graphological assessments: Concerns and suggestions for research.Perceptual and Motor Skills, 66, 1988, 743-759.
  • Strategies of personnel selection among Israeli firms. Neehul (Management), 1987 (In Hebrew).
  • Uses of graphology in personnel management. In: B. Nevo (ed.), Scientific Aspects of Graphology, 1986. Springfield, IL: C.C. Thomas, 49-68.
  • Predicting sales success through handwriting analysis: An evaluation of the effects of training and handwriting sample content. Journal of Applied Psychology, 68, 1983, 212-217.
  • Inferring personal qualities through handwriting analysis.Journal of Occupational Psychology, 56, 1983, 191-202.

    Working with Computers

  • Employee attitudes toward working with computers. Journal of Occupational Behavior,7, 1986, 89-106.
  • Word processing technology and perceptions of control among clerical workers.Behavior and Information Technology, 5, 1986, 31-37.

    Quality Circles

  • Quality circles and employee attitudes. Personnel Psychology, 38, 1985, 603-615.

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