CH 14 for People and Work in Canada 1st Ed. Online course.

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22 Apr 2012
Ch. 14 Positive Organizational Psychology
-Latest development in organizational studies
-Focus is positive aspects of human experience
-“Study of optimism”
Brief History of Positive Organizational Scholarship
-Formally began in 1998 by Martin Seligman
-First president of APA
-Premise: exclusive focus on pathology/ fixing human problems caused us to ignore
positive/good aspects of life
Positive organizational behaviour: the study and application of positively-oriented human
resource strengths and psychological capacities that can be measured, developed, and
effectively managed for performance improvement in today’s workplace
-Applying human strengths/positivity to improve performance in the workplace
-Focus on strengths/capacities that could be developed
-Not personal characteristics that can’t be changed, but on identifying things that
could be altered to improve individual and organizational well-being
Positive organizational scholarship: study of positive outcomes, processes, and attributes
of organizations and their members
Gallup studies: employee engagement positively associated with profit
Flow: Psychology of Peak Experience
Flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975): Sensation of optimal experience (holistic) ppl feel when
they act with total involvement
-Limit of personal ability w/ intense engagement
-Result of balance in skills and challenges
-Ex. Neurosurgeons performing delicate brain surgery
-Experiences enjoyable
Nine dimensions that characterize the state of FLOW:
1. Challenge-skill balance: match btwn skills required to perf. the task and the challenges
facing the individual
Ex. Learning how to drive; skills not up to challenge thus, requires all of our attn.
and effort to keep car on the road. Eventually, task is mastered and we tune out
from boredom.
2. Merging of action and awareness: being “in the zone”
-Bhvr spontaneous & you are not rly thinking abt what you are doing
-Ex. High performance athletes often report this exp and conversely, exp
lowered performance when they become aware/“overthinking” actions
3. Paradox of control: those in flow feel control but as soon as their attn. shifts to trying
to maintain control they lose the sense of flow
4. Loss of self-consciousness
5. Clarity of goals: Flow more likely when there’s a strong sense of what has to be done
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Ch. 14 Positive Organizational Psychology
6. Flow more likely when activity provides clear, immediate, and unambiguous feedback
concerning how well you are doing
7. High degree of concentration on the task at hand
8. Transformation of time: defining feature of flow for many
-Occurs when you are so engaged in an activity that you lose all track of time and
you are unaware of the passage of time
Ex. Playing games
9. Autotelic experience: Greek- auto meaning self, telos meaning goal
-Provides comprehensive measure of optimal exp when all nine dimensions considered
-Dimensions usually highly correlated, shared variance
-State (characteristic of situation) OR trait (characteristic of individual) ??
-State: organizations might facilitate flow by ensuring chars are present
Ex. Present challenging tasks, have clear goals etc
-Trait: select individuals based on their capacity to exp flow
-Since changing situation might have little effect
Fullagar and Kelloway (2009): ~75% of flow ratings attributed to situation
-State dominant influence
Flow at Work
-Predictors of flow: motivating job characteristics in the job characteristics model
(autonomy, variety task significance)
-Used overall measure thus could not identify which chars were more likely to
result in flow
-Flow more likely in situations characterized by skill variety and autonomy
-Associated with Hedonic well-being: positive mood
-Positively associated with in-role and extra-role performance
-Flow and employee performance partially medicated by positive mood
-Relationship btwn positive mood and performance particularly pertinent to tasks that
require spontaneity and creativity
-Flow benefits both individual and organization
Engagement and Related Constructs
Engagement: employees’ attitude toward their job
-developed by pratitioners
-Engaged employees produce 28% more revenue
-Meta analysis: employee satisfaction and engagement are related to meaningful business
outcomes at a magnitude that is impt to many organizations
-Vast major of employees not engaged in their work
-Gallup reports: only 29% actively engaged, 54% disengaged/do not feel strongly
abt their jobs, 17% actively dislike their jobs
-Towers-Perrin: Only 17% highly engaged in their work
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Ch. 14 Positive Organizational Psychology
-Engagement overlaps with satisfaction, commitment, involvement, and empowerment
Maslach and Leiter: engagement is a state involving energy, involvement, and efficacy
-Opposite of burnout
-Energy opposite of emotional exhaustion,
-Involvement opposite of depersonalization
-Efficacy opposite of lack of personal accomplishment
Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (Schaufelli, Bakker, & Salanova)
Engagement is…
-A fulfilling, positive state of mind comprising three dimensions:
1. Vigour: high level of energy and willingness to invest in and persist at one’s work
2. Absorption: Being concentrated on and engrossed in one’s work
3. Dedication: Involved in the work and feeling pride, enthusiasm, and inspiration
-Originally 17 item measure; newer short form of 9 items gives most consistent measure
Shirom: Vigour is an affective state involving feelings of energy, physical strength, and
cognitive liveliness (each dimension assessed as separate subscale)
-Predicts health outcome, organizationally relevant outcomes
Love of the Job: Definition of Love
Rempel and Burris: motivational state in which the goal is to preserve and promote the
well-being of the valued object
Kelloway et al. (2010)
Paid employment:
(a) Been a central aspect of human experience throughout history
(b) Associated with numerous manifest (e.g. pay) and latent (e.g. time structure)
consequences for the individual
-Job is valued object
-Love of one’s love comprises the experiences of passion for one’s work, affective
commitment to the employing organization, and a sense of intimacy with people at work
-Many high achieving women talked about loving their work
Three dominant themes characterizing career development:
1. Passion for the work
2. Persistence
3. Connectedness
Gordon (2006):
Three characteristic themes in loving work:
(1) Took pleasure from her job activities
(2) Felt good about her reason for working
(3) Liked and at the very least respected the people with whom she worked
Triangular Theory of Love: Interpersonal love consists of passion, commitment, and
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