affective events theory

What is Affective Events Theory?

Learn about AET with Akshaye Khanna
Border 1997

Movie Case Study

The scene that you just saw shows Lt. Dharamvir Singh (played by Akshaye Khanna), Major Kuldeep Singh (played by Sunny Deol), and Captain Bhairav Singh (played by Suniel Shetty) firing at the infiltrators who have entered the borders of India under a guise.

Major Kuldeep Singh and Captain Bhirav Singh start shooting these infiltrators. However, witnessing the bloodshed, Lt. Dharamvir Singh is unable to digest the situation and is unable to fire at them.

In this blog, Learning Perspectives will explore the meaning of Affective events theory (AET).

What is Affective Events Theory?

Affective events theory or AET establishes that employees behave emotionally to situations that happen around them. This, in turn, affects their job performance and job satisfaction. Similar to the scene that we saw, Lt. Dharamvir Singh is in a situation that is negatively triggering him.

In this particular scene, the job demands Lt. Dharamvir Singh to shoot the enemy yet he is unable to do so because of his emotional response to the situation. Hence, his job performance is affected.

What is Affective Events Theory?

The environment creates work events that can either be positive or negative. Events that can be considered positive in nature in a work environment could be receiving a promotion or a hike, recognition for the services of the employee, or receiving an award. Events that can trigger a negative reaction can be excessive workload, high-pressure work environment, hostile work colleagues, or environment.


These events trigger varied responses from the employees. These responses depend upon the employee’s personality and mood too. Personality makes people respond to situations either strongly or passively. For example, someone who scores low on the scale of emotional stability might react to situations strongly while someone who is emotionally mature might not react to the situation at all.

What is Affective Events Theory?
Different Emotions trigger reactions

An event such as a company laying off employees might elicit a negative response. Employees can get fearful that they might lose their job which is the primary source of their income. This increases insecurity and anxiety for the employee and this, in turn, affects job performance and satisfaction negatively.

Hence, AET offers some important messages. First, emotions offer valuable insights into understanding employee behavior. This model also tells us that daily ups and downs influence employee behavior.

Understand Affective Events Theory with a Video

Understand Affective Events Theory with a Video

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