Bringing Mindfulness and Joy to Work: Action Research on Organizational Change

  • Kathryn Goldman SchuylerEmail author
  • Michelle Olsen Taylor
  • Orit M. Wolberger
Reference work entry


We sought to enhance levels of mindfulness and joy in a 1,000-person Student Affairs organization of Utah Valley University (UVU) and used qualitative action research to assess the impact as we moved forward. We write here as a collaborative team sharing our voices as leader of change, process and organization consultant, and researcher.

Mindfulness most often is brought into the workplace through trainings that focus on teaching and encouraging individual practice. The process tends to be one of the learning skills that are regarded as fundamentally individual. Instead, our intention was not only to support individual practice but also to generate a more mindful organizational culture, gradually, without pressure or force. Rather than training participants in specific skills, we invited them to seek mindful moments or “wake-up” and to chart their own path. This chapter defines our approach to mindfulness as awareness-based systems change, relates this to other approaches to mindfulness research, describes the value of a process approach to change, and tells our story.

While many studies show the impact of mindfulness practices on productivity and stress management, our outcomes appear somewhat unique, in that the most consistent themes distilled from one-on-one confidential interviews with participants were an increased connection with one another, with nature, and with the meaning of their work. In other words, this approach, both here and in an earlier phase of this program of action research, seems to encourage people to sense their interdependence with the human and natural worlds in which they live.


Mindfulness Action research Compassion Healthy organization Culture change Awareness Leadership Process philosophy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn Goldman Schuyler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michelle Olsen Taylor
    • 2
  • Orit M. Wolberger
    • 3
  1. 1.California School of Professional PsychologyAlliant International University and Coherent ChangeSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Utah Valley UniversityOremUSA
  3. 3.California School of Professional PsychologyAlliant International UniversitySan FranciscoUSA

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