Positive Organizational Fundamentals
The philosophy of positive organizational health aligns particularly well with Positive organizational scholarship (POS), so our approach draws heavily from POS tenets and practices. Soon after the positive psychology movement began s tudying how individuals flourish and thrive, the field of positive organizational scholarship (POS) purposefully began to extend the research of optimum functioning to the workplace. Kim Cameron, Jane Dutton, Robert Quinn, and others from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business began POS as a field of study in 2003.

POS is based on the scientific study of the positive attributes of an organization and seeks to understand how the vitality of organizations contributes to human strengths and cultivates resilient individuals and groups. For example, how can teams excel to their full potential and achieve extraordinary performance? How can organizations learn to become virtuous and flourish in the most positive ways possible? 

Organizational research has traditionally focused on wealth capital and financial acumen as the main way to define success, but organizations are composed of both economic and human capital. POS explores the human side of organizational success on a social and psychological level. At the core of human capital is the concept of virtuousness. Virtues are those ennobling traits, such as compassion, caring, creativity, gratitude, and growth. In organizational settings, virtuousness is found through the dynamics of work relationships, team interactions, job output, management styles, and structural processes. 

Just as individuals may possess virtuousness at varying levels, these same traits are displayed by an organization as a collective entity. Virtuousness within an organization is intricately woven into its culture. A virtuous organization has a positive impact on individuals, exhibits moral goodness, and benefits society on a larger scale without expectation of reward. This organizational embodiment of goodness goes beyond corporate responsibility since there is no implication of reciprocity, but instead it is intrinsically motivated to do good.

Research findings from the field of POS have shown that organizational virtuousness and positive dynamics within organizations are significantly related to improved outcomes including productivity, quality, innovation, employee retention, customer satisfaction, and profit-ability. POS offers valuable empirical insights into what types of organizational functioning and practices contribute to human vitality in a workplace culture. This, in turn, impacts the health and well-being of a workforce. Intentional practices that embrace optimism, abundance, and gratitude have tremendous potential for making a positive impact on individuals and organizations.



“Creating positive organizational health is not just a cost containment or human resource issue, it is also a strategic enterprise-wide issue.”
Recommended Resources

For more information on Positive Organizational Scholarship connect with the Center for Positive Organizations, University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.  http://positiveorgs.bus.umich.edu/

For more information on  organizational virtuousness, see Chapter 4: http://bit.ly/1rDMYKH.