The operationalisation of positive organisations: Opportunities in the space of strengths and wellbeing



Publication Details

Lea, R., Almeida, S. & Oades, L. (2016). The operationalisation of positive organisations: Opportunities in the space of strengths and wellbeing. APROS EGOS Sub-theme 07: Mobility and Organizing in the Global and Local: The space of creation and constraint within, between and beyond organizations (pp. 1-10).


Positive organisational scholarship (POS) - focused on positive outcomes, attributes, and flourishing - offers an important alternative to the traditional organisational focus on deficit. The purpose of this paper is to bring to light creative opportunities - stemming from limitations in strengths, wellbeing, and organisational network literature - with the purpose of providing practical insights with which to advance the operationalisation of positive organisations. Recognising the roots of POS in positive psychology, the main areas of interest stem from positive psychology literature and the opportunities identified seek to promote individual, interpersonal, and network flourishing. The paper touches on strengths and wellbeing literature, identifying a lack in longitudinal studies and an overwhelming focus on the individual. Strengthspotting is identified as an emerging area of interest which ties together recent studies exploring the effects of positive/negative affect on wellbeing, albeit with some separation from crucial interpersonal aspects and/or whole network consideration. With origins in social network theory, social network analysis (SNA) offers a means of collecting and analysing whole network data and is considered alongside traditional survey methodologies to strike a critical balance between detailed relational data and the broader network perspective. Much like empirical studies in the area of strengths and wellbeing, SNA has primarily focused on cross sectional analysis and the emerging methodology would benefit from balanced, longitudinal, whole network studies. The combination of wellbeing measures (individual), strengthspotting data (interpersonal), and SNA (network) provides an exciting and creative avenue of research which makes space for organisations to create practical initiatives to transport positive organisational scholarship from theory to practice.

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