Positive Psychology Approach to OB: Review Notes

Positive Psychology

The aim of positive psychology is to use scientific methodology to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals, groups, organizations, and communities to thrive. The subject area is concerned with optimal human functions or improved human functioning.
The factors or aspects identified in this branch of psychology include:
Hope, optimism, flow, happiness, capacity for love, capacity for vocation, courage, interpersonal skills,aesthetic sensibility, perseverance, forgiveness, originality, future mindedness, spirituality, high talent, wisdom, responsibility, nurturance, altruism, civility, moderation, tolerance, work ethic etc.


Psychology treats optimism as a cognitive characteristic in terms of generalized positive outcome expectancy and/or a positive causal attribution.
Optimists make external attribution (it is not their fault), unstable attribution (it is only a temporary set back) and specific attribution (the failure is only in this specific instance).
Martin Seligman suggests optimistic people try to distance themselves from past negative outcomes.


Daniel Goleman "Having hope means that one will not give in to overwhelming anxiety, a defeatist attitude, or depression in the face of difficult challenges or setbacks."
Martin Seligman "Whether or not we have hope depends on two dimensions of our explanatory style:pervasiveness and performance. Finding temporary and specific causes for misfortune is the art of hope."
C. Rick Snyder "Hope not only reflects the individual's determination that goals can be achieved, but also the person's belief that successful plans can be formulated and pathways identified in order to attain goals."
Snyder along with others has developed a hope scale and conducted number of research studies. These studies find a positive link between hope scale scores and goal expectancies, perceived control, self esteem, positive emotions, coping and achievement.

Subjective Well-Being (SWB) (Happiness)

In psychological theory and research, the term subjective well-being or simply SWB is preferred to the term happiness. The terms may be used by many interchangeably but SWB is considered more broader.
Ed Diener is the psychologist closely associated with SWB.
Separate components of SWB identified
1. Life satisfaction
2. Satisfaction with important domains
3. Positive affect - A feeling of experience of many pleasant emotions and moods
4. Low levels of negative affect - The feeling of experience of few unpleasant emotions and moods.
Diener and other researchers have developed a number of valid measures of SWB components.

Emotional Intelligence

Positive primary emotions are Love/affection, happiness/joy and surprise. Negative emotions are fear, sadness, anger, disgust, and shame.
Salovey and Mayor defined emotional intelligence as "the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking actions."
Daniel Goleman explains emotional intelligence as "the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships."
Goleman classified this emotional intelligence and skill into two components: one component is related to self and the other component is related to dealing with others.
In the component dealing with self, the stages are self-awareness,self-management and self motivation. In the component dealing with others the stages are empathy and social skills.

Self Efficacy

Albert Bandura  "personal judgment or belief of how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations."
Stajkovic and Luthans "Self-efficacy refers to an individual's conviction (or confidence) about his or her abilities to mobilize the motivation, cognitive resources, and courses of action needed to successfully execute a specific task within a given context."


Baltes and Kunzmann write on the most general level we have defined wisdom as expert knowledge and judgement about important, difficult and uncertain questions associated with the meaning and conduct of life. Wisdom-related knowledge deals with matters of utmost personal and social significance.


Fred Luthans, Organizational Behavior, Ninth Ed., McGraw Hill, 2002
Paul B. Baltes and Utekunzmann, http://www.baltes-paul.de/Baltes&Kunzmann.pdf

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Positive Psychology
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