Kenneth A. Perez and Heather C. Lench
Awe is a positive emotion that occurs when people are in the presence of something extraordinary and beyond their typical experiences, from transformative views of majestic landscapes to the face of one’s child. Recent evidence suggests that more everyday experiences can also evoke mild feelings of awe, and that these feelings can have benefits for people’s lives. Accumulating evidence suggests that awe has several benefits for physical health, and might reduce the likelihood of developing chronic conditions. Awe also tends to prompt self-transcendence, resulting in the sense of a “small self” that shifts people’s focus towards others and the world around them. People who have experienced awe are more prosocial and helpful. They are also more creative and less likely to use stereotypes in their decision making. Over time, there is evidence that awe can improve well-being and satisfaction. Considering the grandness of the emotion of awe, it does not seem intuitive to establish a connection between awe and a relatively ordinary workplace setting. However, this chapter reviews several directions for organizations and individuals to improve their work environment and climate by fostering a sense of awe in the workplace.