Be happy in your work: the role of positive psychology in working with change and performance



Publication Details

Allen, M. S. & McCarthy, P. J. (2016). Be happy in your work: the role of positive psychology in working with change and performance. The Journal of Change Management, 16 (1), 55-74.


This narrative targets the role of happiness (subjective well-being) in change and performance in the workforce. Grounded within the paradigm of positive psychology, we draw on theory and research from several performance-related domains (including sport and physical activity) to describe the development of happiness in organizations and associated benefits to individuals and groups. Our review highlights the physical and mental health benefits of happiness, bidirectional associations between happiness and work-based performance (occupational success), and the contribution of individual differences (genetics and personality) to happiness and well-being. Moreover, we list a series of empirically guided techniques - often utilized in the domain of sport and performance psychology - that might be considered in the development of happiness in organizations. These include positive mental imagery, hypothetical thinking, cognitive reappraisal (and the development of a challenge state), physical activity, and writing-based interventions. We conclude by offering potential avenues for research inquiry as they relate to change and performance in organizations.

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