Empathy on closer investigation is not just one mental state but is made up of a number of different processes. Each process acts as part of a feedback system and can enable empathy to be turned on and off.

In many studies managers and workers acknowledge the importance of empathy in the workplace yet often the understanding of what empathy actually is or how it is valuable is limited. Studies suggest that people believe that managers who demonstrate higher levels of empathy are rated by their employees as far better at their jobs. It has also been identified that levels of empathy between co-workers is equally (if not more) important for high functioning teams.