Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Coventry University's online course, Wellbeing at Work: An Introduction. Join the course to learn more.
Businessman pressing smiley face emoticon on virtual touch screen. Customer service evaluation concept.

Affective events theory

Affective Events Theory (AET) (Weiss and Cropanzano 1996) explains how emotions and moods influence job performance and job satisfaction.

The theory explains the relationship between employees’ internal influences; personality, emotions, cognition and their reactions to incidents that occur at work.

Weiss and Cropanzano (1996), argue that affective work behaviours are explained by employee mood and emotion, while cognitive-based behaviours are good predictors of job satisfaction. To put it simply, emotions and mood are an important element in how employees handle situations at work.

The theory is based on the following elements.

Work events

These are the different types of emotional events at work that can have a psychological impact on an employee’s job satisfaction. There are two types of work events: positive inducing events and negative inducing events.

Work environment features

These are the relationships between components associated with work (characteristics of the job, job demands and requirements for emotional labour) and the impact they have on job outcomes. The autonomy and flexibility to determine one’s own work schedule impacts job satisfaction.

Personal dispositions

This explains the relationship between an employee’s personality and mood and the influence it has on events that occur at work, and how they affect performance and job satisfaction.

  • The five-factor model of personality; openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism, illustrates the variation in individual differences, and the impact that such differences can have on performance and satisfaction at work
  • While negative events are reported less often than positive events, they have more impact on mood than positive events.

Emotional reactions to work events

These can be positive and/or negative. Emotions have a stronger influence than attributions or expectancies in predicting intentions toward poor-performing employees.


Job satisfaction and job performance

Diagram. Work environment features points to Work attitudes and Work events which in turn points to Affective reactions. Dispositions also points to Work events and Affective reactions.
Affective reactions, in turn, points to Affect driven behaviours and Work attitudes which points to Judgment driven behaviours. Click to expand Adapted from Weiss, H.M. and Cropanzano, R. (1996)

Your task

Using AET give an example of how an event influenced your mood and emotions (affective state) and consequently your behaviour.

Post your thoughts in the comments and ‘like’ or reply to posts you find useful or interesting.


Cropanzano, R., Dasborough, M., Weiss, H. (2017) ‘Affective Events and the Development of Leader-Member Exchange’. Academy of Management. The Academy of Management Review [online] 42 (2), 233-258. available from https://locate.coventry.ac.uk/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_gale_ofa490069416&context=PC&vid=COV_VU1&search_scope=Primo_Central&tab=remote&lang=en_US [10th May 2019]

Weiss, H.M., Cropanzano, R. (1996) ‘Affective Events Theory: A Theoretical Discussion of the Structure, Causes and Consequences of Affective Experiences at Work’ Research in Organisational Behaviour 18, 1-74

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Wellbeing at Work: An Introduction

Coventry University