Positive Organisations

 when employees figure out that raises, promotions, and overtime pay buy not one whit of increased life satisfaction, what then? Why will a qualified individual choose one job over another? What will cause an employee to be steadfastly loyal to the company he or she works for? For what incentive will a worker pour heart and soul into making a quality product?
Martin Seligman, 2002

Introduction to positive organisations

Professors Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the leaders of the Positive Psychology movement, are keen to ensure that it is relevant not just to how individuals live their lives but also to our collective endeavours. In short, it is also about how we run organisations.

Positive Organisational Scholarship

The university department which is most focused on applying Positive Psychology to organisations is the Department of Positive Organisational Scholarship (POS) at the University of Michigan in the USA.


'Gratitude can be defined simply as the pleasure in receiving. The contemporary French philospher Andre Comte-Sponville describes gratitude as ?the most pleasant of virtues and the most virtuous of pleasures?.


In his best-selling book on the decline of community in the USA, Bowling Alone, David Putnam defines the ?reciprocity principle? as occasions when a person does something of value for you 'without expecting anything immediately in return and perhaps without even knowing you, confident that down the road you or someone else will return the favour.'

Building on Strengths

One of the key ideas in Positive Psychology is that business-as-usual psychology has primarily been focused on what is wrong with people. In the world at large too ? in education and business, for example ? it has been commonplace to focus on correcting an individual?s weaknesses rather on identifying and building on strengths. Such a mindset means that criticism is much more evident than appreciation.

Confidence in Teams and Organisations

'Confidence consists of positive expectations for favourable outcomes.'
Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Confidence