Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 59–69

Positive Psychology in the Workplace

Article

Abstract

An economy in a downward spiral, rising unemployment, anxieties about future job loss, lack of access to affordable health care, a crisis in the financial industry, and declining consumer confidence are among some of the challenges creating significant stress in the lives of workers and their families. What impact are these stressors having on the day-to-day lives of people in the workplace? What role do concepts of positive psychology have in helping people to not only cope more effectively, but open their hearts and minds to move forward with newfound confidence, resilience, determination, hope, and vision for a better future? How can workers and their organizations create a more positive and proactive workplace that bridges economic and human goals? The purpose of this article is to examine these questions through an integrative analysis of conceptual and empirical approaches to positiveorganizational behavior and outcomes. Theory and research covering such areas as self-determining behavior patterns, emotional intelligence, psychologic capital, innovation, and workplace change are described, analyzed, and applied to individuals, groups, and the overall organizational system. These themes come together through the concept of a virtuous organization. These organizations have cultures infused with a strong ethical–moral foundation and leaders who bring out the best of their employees. Organizations of virtue strive to do well by doing good and strive to do good by doing well. These organizations succeed by having multiple bottom lines, not just economic ones. As such, they bridge the goals of economic development with human development.

Keywords

US economy Workers Organizational culture Ethics Self-motivation 

References

  1. Avey, J. B., Patera, J. L., & West, B. L. (2006). The implications of positive psychological capital on employee absenteeism. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 13, 42–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartley, M. (1994). Unemployment and ill health: Understanding the relationship. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 48, 333–337.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Boyatzis, R. E., & Akrivou, K. (2006). The ideal self as the driver of intentional change. Journal of Management Development, 25, 624–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boyatzis, R. E., Stubbs, E. C., & Taylor, S. N. (2002). Learning cognitive and emotional intelligence competencies through graduate management education. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 1, 150–162.Google Scholar
  5. Boyd, N. M., & Bright, D. S. (2007). Appreciative inquiry as a mode of action research for community psychology. Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 1019–1036.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bushe, G. R., & Kassam, A. F. (2005). When is appreciative inquiry transformational? Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 41, 161–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cameron, K. S. (2003). Organizational virtuousness and performance. In K. S. Cameron, J. E. Dutton, & R. E. Quinn (Eds.), Positive organizational scholarship (pp. 48–65). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.Google Scholar
  8. Carmelli, A. (2003). The relationship between emotional intelligence and work attitudes, behavior and outcomes. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 18, 788–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cooperrider, D. L., & Whitney, D. (2005). Appreciative inquiry: A positive revolution in change. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.Google Scholar
  10. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1991). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper-Collins.Google Scholar
  11. Cunningham, C. E., Woodward, C. A., Shannon, H. S., MacIntosh, J., Lendrum, B., Rosenbloom, D., et al. (2002). Readiness for organizational change: A longitudinal study of workplace, psychological and behavioral correlates. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 75, 377–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. D’Intino, R. S., Goldsby, M. G., Houghton, J. D., & Neck, C. P. (2007). Self-leadership: A process for entrepreneurial success. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 13, 105–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dulewicz, V., & Higgs, M. (2000). Emotional intelligence: A review and evaluation study. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 15, 341–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dulewicz, V., & Higgs, M. (2003). Leadership at the top: The need for emotional intelligence in organizations. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 11, 193–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fredrickson, B. L. (2009). Positivity. New York: Crown.Google Scholar
  16. Gagne, M., Koestner, R., & Zuckerman, M. (2006). Facilitating acceptance of organizational change: The importance of self-determination. Journal of Applied Psychology, 30, 1843–1852.Google Scholar
  17. Gardner, L., & Stough, C. (2002). Examining the relationship between leadership and emotional intelligence in senior level managers. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 23, 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam.Google Scholar
  19. Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. (1980). Work redesign. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  20. House, R. J. (1996). Path-goal theory of leadership: Lessons, legacy, and a reformulated theory. Leadership Quarterly, 7, 323–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Isen, A. M., & Reeve, J. (2005). The influence of positive affect on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: Facilitating enjoyment of play, responsible work behavior, and self-control. Motivation and Emotion, 29, 295–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jordan, P., Ashkanasy, N. M., & Hartel, C. (2002). Emotional intelligence as a moderator of emotional and behavioral reactions to job insecurity. Academy of Management Review, 27, 361–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Judge, T. A., Erez, A., & Bono, J. E. (1998). The power of being positive: The relation between positive self-concept and job performance. Human Performance, 11, 167–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Judge, T. A., & Ilies, R. (2002). Relationship of personality to performance motivation: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 797–807.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Judge, T. A., & Larsen, R. J. (2001). Dispositional affect and job satisfaction: A review and theoretical extension. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 86, 67–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Judge, T. A., Thoresen, C. J., Pucik, V., & Welbourne, T. M. (1999). Managerial coping with organizational change: A dispositional perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 107–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kaplan, R. E., & Kaiser, R. B. (2003). Developing versatile leadership. MIT Sloan Management Review, 44, 19–26.Google Scholar
  28. Kaplan, R. E., & Kaiser, R. B. (2009). Managing yourself. Stop overdoing your strengths. Harvard Business Review, 87, 100–103.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Kiefer, T. (2002). Understanding the emotional experience of organizational change: Evidence from a merger. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 4, 39–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Leana, C. R., & Barry, B. (2000). Stability and change as simultaneous experiences in organizational life. Academy of Management Review, 25, 753–759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Linn, M., Sandifer, R., & Stein, S. (1985). Effects of unemployment on mental and physical health. American Journal of Public Health, 75, 502–506.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Losada, M., & Heaphy, E. (2004). The role of positivity and connectivity in the performance of business teams. American Behavioral Scientist, 47, 740–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Luthans, F., Avolio, B. J., Avey, J. B., & Norman, S. M. (2007). Positive psychological capital: Measurement and relationship with performance and satisfaction. Personnel Psychology, 60, 541–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Luthans, F., Norman, S. M., Avolio, B. J., & Avey, J. B. (2008). The mediating role of psychological capital in the supportive organizational climate-employee performance relationship. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29, 219–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Luthans, F., Vogelgesang, G. R., & Lester, P. B. (2006). Developing the psychological capital of resiliency. Human Resource Development Review, 5, 25–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Maddi, S. R. (2006). Hardiness: The courage to grow from stresses. Journal of Positive Psychology, 1, 160–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Manz, C. C., & Sims, H. P. (1987). Leading workers to lead themselves: The external leadership of self-managing work teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 32, 106–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Martin, A. J., Jones, E. S., & Callan, V. J. (2005). The role of psychological climate in facilitating employee adjustment during organizational change. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 14, 263–289.Google Scholar
  39. May, D. R., Hodges, T. D., Chan, A. Y., & Avolio, B. J. (2003). Developing the moral component of authentic leadership. Organizational Dynamics, 32, 247–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2004). Emotional intelligence: Theory, findings, and implications. Psychological Inquiry, 15, 197–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1987). Validation of the five-factor model of personality across instruments and observers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 81–90.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Nikolaou, I., & Tsaousis, I. (2002). Emotional intelligence in the workplace: Exploring its effects on occupational stress and organizational commitment. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 10, 327–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Parker, S. K., Williams, H. M., & Turner, N. (2006). Modeling the antecedents of proactive behavior at work. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 636–652.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Riggio, R. E., & Reichard, R. J. (2008). The emotional and social intelligences of effective leadership. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23, 169–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Romer, C., & Bernstein, J. (2009). American recovery and reinvestment act: State-by-state jobs impact. http://www.whitehouse.gov/assests/documents/Recovery_Act_state-by-state_jobs_2-131.pdf.
  46. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Seligman, M. E. (2002). Authentic happiness. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  48. Shipton, H. J., West, M. A., Parkes, C. L., Dawson, J. F., & Patterson, M. G. (2006). When promoting positive feelings pays: Aggregate job satisfaction, work design features, and innovation in manufacturing organizations. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 15, 404–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Skinner, S. J., & Kelley, S. W. (2005). Transforming sales organizations through appreciative inquiry. Psychology & Marketing, 23, 77–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Spreitzer, G. M. (2006). Leadership development lessons from positive organizational studies. Organizational Dynamics, 35, 305–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Toffler, A. (1980). The third wave. New York: William Morrow & Co.Google Scholar
  52. Wanberg, C. R., & Banas, J. T. (2000). Predictors and outcomes of openness to changes in a reorganizing workplace. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 132–142.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Youssef, C. M., & Luthans, F. (2007). Positive organizational behavior in the workplace: The impact of hope, optimism, and resilience. Journal of Management, 33, 774–800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentTowson UniversityTowsonUSA

Personalised recommendations