At the 2007 Global Well-Being Forum, Martin Seligman argued that Positive Psychology is too narrow a term. We need positive social science – including positive psychology, positive economics, positive sociology, and so on. This view was recently expressed in a comment on this site by Ruben Flores, a sociologist who commented about the 4th European Conference of Positive Psychology, “Great review. As a sociologist, I was glad to see speakers such as Antonella Delle Fave and Ed Diener encouraging the positive psychology community to pay more attention to social and cultural issues. It was also refreshing to see so much interest in carrying out interdisciplinary research!”
Positive Organizational Scholarship is one of these social sciences, a relatively new field that “is concerned primarily with the study of especially positive outcomes, processes, and attributes of organizations and their members. POS does not represent a single theory, but it focuses on dynamics that are typically described by words such as excellence, thriving, flourishing, abundance, resilience, or virtuousness.” (Cameron, Dutton, & Quinn, 2003, p. 4).
Appreciative Inquiry is an organizational development approach that helps organizations reach for transformative goals by appreciating the best of what has been and what is (Cooperrider & Whitney, 2005). The picture below illustrates the 4-D cycle used to describe the appreciative inquiry approach.
Isaac Prilleltensky argues that we should shift our focus in social services from reacting to the weaknesses and failings of individuals and towards expanding the strengths of communities. He describes possible ways of dealing with human needs in terms of 4 quadrants as shown in the figure below (adapted from Prilleltensky, 2005).
Cameron, K., Dutton, J., & Quinn, R. (2003). Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline. San Francisco: Berrett-Kohler.
This book contains 23 articles by experts in the field. Seligman and Peterson talk about the contributions that positive psychology can make to the new POS field.
Robert Emmons writes about gratitude in organizations, Don Clifton and James Harter about investing in strengths, Barbara Fredrickson about positive emotions creating upward spirals in organizations, Amy Wrzniewski as well as Michael Pratt and Blake Ashforth about experiencing meaning at work, and many more.
The Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship at the University of Michigan has research information and teaching materials, including Gretchen Spreitzer’s Reflected Best Self exercise.
|Cameron, K. (2008). Positive leadership: Strategies for extraordinary performance. San Francisco: Berrett-Kohler.|
|Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Keyes, C. L. (2003). Well-being in the workplace and its relationship to business outcomes: A review of Gallup studies. In C. L. Keyes & J. Haidt, Flourishing: Positive psychology and the life well-lived, pp. 205-224. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.|
Cooperrider, D. & Whitney, L. (2005). Appreciative inquiry: A positive revolution in change. San Francisco: Berrett-Kohler.
Cooperrider, D. L. & Sekerka, L. (2003). Toward a theory of positive organizational change. In K. Cameron, J. Dutton, & R. Quinn, Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline, pp. 225-240. San Francisco: Berrett-Kohler.
Appreciative Inquiry Commons: “a worldwide portal devoted to the fullest sharing of academic resources and practical tools on Appreciative Inquiry and the rapidly growing discipline of positive change. ”
YouTube of Dr. Cooperrider speaking about positive revolution in change.
|Ludema, J., Whitney, D., Mohr, B., & Griffin, T. (2003). The appreciative inquiry summit: A practitioner’s guide for leading large group change. San Francisco: Berrett-Kohler.|
Nelson, D. L. & Cooper, C. L., Eds. (2007). Positive organizational behavior. London: Sage Publications.
Includes 14 chapters on a range of topics, including Psycap (Luthans, Youssef, & Avolio), Positive Emotion in organizations (Ashkanasy & Ashton-James), Thriving in Organizations (Spreitzer & Sutcliffe), Positive Role of Political Skill (Perrewe, Ferris, Stoner, and Brouer), and Eustress at Work (Simmons & Nelson).
Prilleltensky, I. (2005). Promoting well-being: Time for a paradigm shift in health and human services. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 33(5), 53-60. Here’s a link to the |
Prilleltensky, I. & Prilleltensky, O. (2006). Promoting well-being: Linking personal, organizational, and community change. Wiley.
Panel session where Dr. Prilleltensky is the first speaker and discusses empowerment through relationships.
In the community of PPND authors, we are fortunate to have people from a number of different backgrounds, including big businesses, small businesses, work teams, professional associations, schools, medical facilities, and families. We all have reason to be interested in families and political communities. Our authors have reflected on ways that positive psychology could make a difference wherever people are collected together.
PPND Articles on Life in Schools
PPND Articles on Life in Business
PPND Articles on Life in Families
|By Giselle Nicholson:|
|By Kathryn Britton:
Family holiday rituals: Continuity and gratitude
PPND Articles on Life in the Global Community
|By Dana Arakawa:|
|By Sean Doyle:|
|By Timothy T. C. So:|
|By Angus Skinner:|
|By Nicholas Hall:
Gratitude at the Bridge House (or Below Zero is a Skewed Term)
|By Kathryn Britton:
Social contagion: Spiral Up or Spiral Down?
PPND Articles on Life in Law and Medicine
|By Jordan Silberman:|
|By Peter Minich:|
|By Dave Shearon:
When War Stories Do Make Great CLE
Sure They’ll Think You’re Smart, But Will They Want to Work for You?
|By Timothy T. C. So:|