What Is Positive Organisational Scholarship?

Positive organizational scholarship focuses on companies creating positive work life and performance. Companies that successfully teach their employees these skills have a higher chance of success.

Have you ever dreaded going to work because your company was in a downward spiral of negativity? Perhaps company morale was declining, and there was an overall heavy mood that caused you to not care about your work. In 2003, a movement began in organizational behavior called positive organizational scholarship, which focuses on companies creating positive work life and performance.

The four key components of positive organizational scholarship (POS) are self-efficacy, hope, optimism and resiliency. Companies that are successful in adapting the four components are able to manage organizational performance in a positive manner.


POS seeks to understand especially positive states, dynamics, and outcomes in as much as they usually receive little attention in traditional organisational studies. Whereas POS does not reject the examination of dysfunctions, or dynamics that disable or produce harm, it does tend to emphasise the examination of factors that enable positive consequences for individuals, groups, and organisations. 'Positive', in other words, represents an affirmative bias and orientation, not a substitute for other more common organisational phenomena.


POS examines positive phenomena within organisations as well as positive organisational contexts themselves. POS expands the boundaries of these theories to make visible positive states, positive processes, and positive relationships that are typically ignored within organisational studies. A POS lens exposes new and different mechanisms through which positive organisational dynamics and processes produce extraordinarily positive or unexpected outcomes.


There is no lack of self-help accounts that prescribe relatively simple and uncomplicated prescriptions for achieving happiness, fulfillment, or effectiveness. POS does not stand in opposition to the array of self-help publications, but it extends beyond them in its emphasis on rigorous, systematic, and theory-based foundations for positive phenomena. POS requires careful definitions of terms, a rationale for prescriptions and recommendations, consistency with scientific procedures in drawing conclusions, and grounding in previous related work.


The first part of positive organizational scholarship is the ability for individuals at work to have self-efficacy. This means that the organization has individuals who are able to achieve difficult tasks due to dedication, persistence and good work ethic. Companies need to hire and cultivate employees with self-efficacy. Cheapo Toys has an extensive interview process that looks for potential employees who have these traits. They also look for individuals who have not let obstacles stand in the way of their work success.


The second important element of POS is hope. This means that individuals who have positive expectations usually stay motivated and find alternative ways to solve problems. Companies look to hire employees who have this trait, as they are individuals who are able to handle conflict and develop contingency plans when problems arise. Companies can also offer training classes to help teach those skills to hired employees, but in general, it is easier and more efficient to hire people who have a positive outlook.

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