Development and Validation of the Workplace Affective Events Survey

Paulomi Sudhir, Seema Mehrotra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Work, a central aspect of human life, serves vital economic and social functions. There is a burgeoning interest in positive emotions in the workplace, which can enhance creativity, foster social connections, and improve problem-solving abilities. These emotions are pivotal in key organizational outcomes, including employee performance and health. Despite the extensive examination of factors like job satisfaction and workplace stressors, a knowledge gap exists regarding the everyday workplace events that influence emotions and their contribution to overall workplace emotional health. The present study introduces the Workplace Affective Events Survey (WAES), a new tool that can facilitate the advancement of research in this field. Purpose This study aimed to develop a tool to assess daily workplace events that lead to positive or negative emotional responses and the intensities of such responses. The study also examined the relationship between these events and the associated affect-intensities with trait affect, and social companionship at work for convergent validation. Methodology The tool development entailed a multi-phase approach which encompassed item generation, content validation, pre-pilot trials, and pilot testing of the WAES. Participants were entry and mid-level service sector employees aged 25-55 years. Themes generated using focus group discussions and one-to-one interviews were mapped against a known taxonomy of workplace affective events. Expert validation and pre-pilot trials helped in refining the final items. The main phase engaged 300 individuals from nine service industries across 29 organizations in an urban metropolitan city in India. WAES was administered alongside standardized measures of trait-affect and workplace social companionship. Results WAES subscales demonstrated acceptable reliability. Participants reported positive daily affective events more often than negative ones, with the average intensity of positive emotions surpassing that of negative emotions. Notably, trait affect scores and social companionship exhibited significant correlations with daily affective events and their intensity. Conclusions The WAES offers a novel tool to investigate daily emotional experiences in the workplace. The data suggest that a within-person disposition such as trait-affect might play a lesser role in generating positive affective events than contextual factors. These findings underscore the value of creating work environments that consistently nurture positive emotional experiences.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Sep 29 2023
Externally publishedYes


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