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Research Companion to Organizational Health Psychology

Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper

This timely Research Companion is essential reading to advance the understanding of healthy behaviours within working environments and to identify problems which can be the cause of illness. Containing both theoretical and empirical contributions written by distinguished academics working in Europe, North America and Australia, the book covers leading edge topics ranging from current theories of stress, stress management, and stress in specific occupational groups, such as doctors and teachers, to the relationship of stress with well-being. It provides systematic approaches towards practical actions and stress interventions in working environments and a solid theoretical framework for future research. It will be an essential companion to research on psychology and medicine as well as stress.
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Chapter 25: The Healthy Organization

Jane Henry


Jane Henry Introduction Positive psychology The recent positive psychology movement (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) argues that psychologists need to give attention to studying success and excellence, to balance the essentially negative orientation of studying failure and fixing deficiency, which permeates much of psychology. To date positive psychologists have focused primarily on positive strengths and experiences at the individual level (through studies of optimism, resilience, self-efficacy, positive affect, satisfaction and meaning, for example) and positive approaches to community development. The author believes there is an equal case for focusing on positive approaches at the group and organizational levels. In organizational psychology, as with the discipline more generally, much theory is framed negatively with a view to fixing deficiency and failure. For example the traditional management role is reactive: managers solve problems and trouble shoot; most organizations now work from a competency framework that orients much of their training to inputting missing skills, and empirical work often majors on the negative, addressing problems of stress, burnout, glass ceilings and lack of career development opportunities, for example. In contrast much of the organization consultants’ rhetoric (like the self-help literature) takes a positive orientation, advising organisations to adopt vision and mission statements (language borrowed from spiritual discourse), to adopt win–win negotiation, model best practice and encourage managers to forgive mistakes and seek partnership with erstwhile competitors. So, though there is a negative orientation in organizational psychology and organizational rhetoric, it is not nearly as all-encompassing as in other areas...

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