Happiness at work

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Despite a large body of positive psychological research into the relationship between happiness and productivity,[1][2][3] happiness at work has traditionally been seen as a potential by-product of positive outcomes at work, rather than a pathway to success in business. However a growing number of scholars, including Boehm and Lyubomirsky, state that it should be viewed as one of the major sources of positive outcomes in the workplace.[4][5]

Definition[edit]

The use of positive psychology in business has become an increasingly popular and valuable tool with which to manage and develop staff. This then has a flow-on effect for the community that they work in. When these practices are put in place in a community—in this case the business—generally the outcome is a real, direct benefit to the productivity of the business and to a happier and healthier employee.[6]

With the major advances in technology, particularly in a modern office environment, a greater range of information has become easily available to employees. Staff today generally have a much broader knowledge of business environments, and therefore their minimum expectations of what a modern workplace should provide to keep them happy and motivated are fairly high. Very basic programs can be implemented to meet these needs and expectations. As an example, if target ‘A’ is achieved, a new filtered coffee machine will be installed to replace the instant coffee in the staff room. These minor rewards can have a large impact on the staff’s happiness and moods—indeed, the frequency of minor positive rewards is critical for success.

One of the main benefits to a business with a well-planned and well-run program is increased productivity through greater output and less down time. Through a series of Search Conferences and Participative Design Workshops, staff can develop an ideal-seking behaviour (Wandemberg, 1998) and a deeper/sustainable satisfaction in their workplace creating a positive Organizational Hedonic Tone which immediately translates into higher quality of work, i.e. greater output, lower costs . A proactive business manager in today’s business world caters to the needs of his or her staff either by ensuring a positive organizational Hedonic Tone (Ibid).

According to the book, The Joy of Work? Jobs, Happiness, and You, extensive research has demonstrated links between being happier in a job and being better at a job. Companies with higher than average employee happiness exhibit better financial performance and customer satisfaction.[7] Thus, it is beneficial for companies to create and maintain positive work environments and leadership that will contribute to the happiness of their employees. Not only do employees reap these benefits, but the companies will as well. It is common for people to have ambivalent feelings about their work; many people find it difficult to decide if they are actually happy at their job. There are many different feelings related to happiness and the job including morale, job involvement, engagement in the job, flow, and personal meeting. Stress and burnout contribute to unhappiness at a job.[8]

Workplace success[edit]

Happiness often precedes measures of success. Research demonstrates there is a relationship between happiness and workplace success. Happy people earn more money, display superior performance, and perform more helpful acts which typically exemplify success at work. Positive affect leads to improved workplace outcomes.[9] When individuals experience positive affect, they become more motivated to invest time and effort, and overcome obstacles when pursuing their career goals, in part because they believe they have more control over attaining their career goals.[10]

Culture[edit]

Workplace happiness has been skewed by popular culture. There are negative images of work in contemporary media, such the television show The Simpsons. Positive views of working are portrayed by figures such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Sigmund Freud, and Henry Ford.[11] Work is depicted as both bad and good; children and adults have been encouraged to emphasize the negative and downplay the idea that jobs can actually contribute to happiness. Instead, people are prone to thinking that work only leads to unhappiness.[7]

Western philosophy and religion adds to the view that happiness is a consequence of goal striving and attainment. Based on Aristotle’s philosophy that limiting happiness to achieve what is worth desiring,[clarification needed] work itself is a key to happiness and ultimately redemption.[clarification needed] People are focused to goal attainment to the point that they neglect to feel happy in the journey.[12]

Employee engagement[edit]

The notion of employee engagement is based on a positive psychology approach, whereby employees are fully engaged and enthusiastic about their work. Employee engagement correlates with some organizational tactics, such as human resource policies and procedural justice. Engagement also correlates with positive outcomes such as growth, lower costs, and lower absenteeism. Work engagement is important to the positive organizational scholarship (POS) field because engagement can lead to a number of positive outcomes, such as in role and extra role performance, client satisfaction, proactivity, adaptivity, and creativity. (Rothbard 2012).[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carr, A.: "Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Human Strengths" Hove, Brunner-Routledge 2004
  2. ^ Isen, A.; Positive Affect and Decision-making. In M. Lewis and J. Haviland Jones (eds), "Handbook of Emotions" (2nd edition), pp. 417-436. New York, Guilford Press 2000
  3. ^ Buss, D. The Evolution of Happiness, "American Psychologist" Vol. 55 (2000) pp. 15-23
  4. ^ Boehm, J K. & S. Lyubomirsky, Journal of Career Assessment. Vol 16(1), Feb 2008, 101-116
  5. ^ http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/bul-1316803.pdf
  6. ^ Rath, T & Clifton, D 2005 ‘Every moment matters’, How full is your bucket? Positive strategies for work and life, Gallup Press, New York, pp. 43-63, 118-20.
  7. ^ a b Warr, Peter, (2009). The Joy of Work? Jobs, Happiness and You. 1st ed: Routledge
  8. ^ Morrow, I. J. (2011). Review of 'the joy of work? jobs, happiness, and you'. Personnel Psychology, 64(3), 808-811.
  9. ^ Boehm, J. K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). Does happiness promote career success? Journal of Career Assessment, 16(1), 101-116. doi: 10.1177/1069072707308140
  10. ^ Haase, C. M., Poulin, M. J., & Heckhausen, J. (2012). Happiness as a motivator: Positive affect predicts primary control striving for career and educational goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,38(8), 1093-1104. doi: 10.1177/0146167212444906
  11. ^ Warr, Peter (2007). Work, Happiness, and Unhappiness. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum
  12. ^ Thomas, J. C. (2007). Just put on a happy face. PsycCRITIQUES, 52(38) doi: 10.1037/a0009400
  13. ^ Rothbard, N. P., & Patil, S. V. (2012). Work engagement. In K. S. Cameron, & G. M. Spreitzer (Eds.), (pp. 56-68). New York, NY US: Oxford University Press.
  • Wandemberg, J.C. (1998). Sustainable by Design? Economic development and natural resources use. Ph.D. Dissertation, New Mexico State University.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boehm, J K. & S. Lyubomirsky, Journal of Career Assessment. Vol 16(1), Feb 2008, 101-116.
  • Diener E., & Biswas-Diener R., (2002) Will money increase subjective well-being? A literature review and guide to needed research Social Indicators Research. 57, 119-169 Diener E. and Biswas-Diener R.
  • Forgas, J. P., (2002) Feeling and doing: Affective influences on interpersonal behavior, Psychological Inquiry. Vol 13(1) Jan 2002 1-28.
  • Iverson R.D., Olekalns M., & Erwin P.J. (1998), Affectivity organizational stressors and absenteeism: A causal model of burnout and its consequences. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 52, 1-23
  • Fredrickson B., & Branigan, C., (2005) Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought-action repertoires Cognition and Emotion, Vol 19 (3), 313-332(20)
  • Baas, M., De Dreu C.K.W., Nijstad, B.A., (2008) A meta-analysis of 25 years of mood-creativity research: Hedonic tone, activation, or regulatory focus? Psychological Bulletin. 134(6) 779-806.
  • Cropanzano R., & Wright T.A., A 5-year study of change in the relationship between well-being and job performance, Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 51, 252-265
  • Forgas, J. P. (1998). On feeling good and getting your way: Mood effects on negotiating strategies and outcomes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 565-577.
  • Goetz, M C Goetz, PW and Robinson, M D, (2007) What's the use of being happy? Mood states, useful objects, and repetition priming effects. Emotion Vol 7(3), 675-679.
  • Watson, D. (1988). Intraindividual and interindividual analyses of positive and negative affect: Their relation to health complaints, perceived stress and daily activities. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1020-1030.
  • Kobasa S. (1979) Personality and resistance to illness. American Journal of Community Psychology, (7) 4, 413-423
  • Kubzansky L.D., Sparrow D., Vokonas P., & Kawachi I., (2001) Is the glass half empty or half full? A prospective study of optimism and coronary heart disease in the normative aging study Psychosomatic Medicine 63:910-916
  • Danner D.D., Snowdon S.A., & Friesen W.V., Positive emotions in early life and longevity: findings from the nun study, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, May 2001, Vol. 80, No.5, 804-13
  • Argyle M., (1987) The experience of happiness, London: Methuen
  • Casciaro T., & Lobo S. L. (June 2005) Harvard Business Review, Competent Jerks, Loveable Fools and the Formation of Social Networks
  • Staw B.M, Sutton R.I., & Pelled L.H. (1994) Employee positive emotion and favorable outcomes at the workplace. Organization Science, 5, 51-71
  • Losada, M. & Heaphy, E. (2004). The Role of Positivity and Connectivity in the Performance of Business Teams A Nonlinear Dynamics Model. American Behavioral Scientist, 47: 40-765.
  • Martin L.L., Ward D.W., Achee J.W. & Wyer R.S., (1993) Mood as input: people have to interpret the motivational implications of their moods. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 64, 317-326
  • Staw B.M. & Barsade S.G., (1993) Affect and management performance: A test of the sadder-but-wiser vs. Happier-and-smarter hypothesis, Administrative Science Quarterly 38, 304-331
  • Cropanzano R., & Wright T.A., (2001) When a “happy” worker is really a productive worker: a review and further refinement of the happy-productive worker thesis. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice& Research, 53, 182-199
  • Folkman S., & Moskowitz J.T., (2000a) Positive affect and the other side of coping, American Psychologist, 55 (647-654)
  • Folkman S., & Moskowitz J.T., (2000b) Stress, positive emotion and coping, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9,115-118
  • Lai, J.C.L., Chong, A.M.L., Ho, S.M.Y., Siu, O.T., Evans, P.D., Ng, S.H., Chan, P., Chan, C.L.W. & Ho, R.T.H. (2005) Optimism, positive affectivity, and salivary cortisol. British Journal of Health Psychology, 10, 467-484.
  • Pryce Jones, J. (Forthcoming) Happiness 9-5