Positive organizational psychology: what is it and how to implement it?

At the organizational level, models and approaches have been proposed with the aim of understanding how businesses operate and what their success or failure may mean.

While traditionally entrepreneurs and organizational psychologists themselves tried to figure out what was wrong with businesses, starting from a more problem-oriented perspective, others tried to focus on the positive.

Positive organizational psychology tried to see what makes the organization stronger, See what makes it move forward and how to develop positive human values. Let’s take a closer look at what this perspective is all about.

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What is positive organizational psychology?

Positive Organizational Psychology or POP is an approach whose origins date back to industrial psychology, Which focuses on how to ensure optimal functioning of the organization.

Before developing this model, in the realm of organizations, psychology focused on the bad things that happened to a particular company. Thus, it was planned to develop an action focused on correcting imbalances and dysfunctions from which the organization could suffer.

Positive organizational psychology, unlike what has been done traditionally, takes an approach of valuing the personal virtues of the company, with the intention of achieving maximum development and achieving organizational success.

The origins of this approach lie in Martin Seligman and Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi. Based on a scientific approach to organizations, the intention in developing this model was to find out what companies need and how they achieve the best human development in the most successful cases.

This perspective, trying to understand the human resources and skills of those who are part of the organization, allows a better exercise of professional life, in addition to promoting a better dynamic of health and social relations within the company. A positive environment encourages productive behaviors in employees, with a greater sense of responsibility and camaraderie.

Companies attempting to implement this approach in their organization should first answer the following questions:

  • What are the characteristics, both individual and collective, of the employees who work the best?
  • What are the characteristics of the organization that bring it closer to or away from a positive organization?

When these questions are answered, it is possible to develop a strategic plan which, if completed satisfactorily, will facilitate a positive environment within the organization.

Positive and negative organizations

In order for the staff of a company to work in the most appropriate and functional way possible, the organization must offer optimal working conditions and a working environment.

Companies that generate a good working climate are characterized by having and offering good resources to their employees, as well as promoting the human values ​​that the staff present. Social and proactive skills, good employee autonomy, realistic job demands and clear and affordable tasks contribute to a good environment in the office or any workplace.

Additionally, bosses need to act as leaders, give feedback to their employees, and know how the front line of command works. Good health habits should be encouraged, there should be places where workers can be broadcast and, if possible, group sports activities should be encouraged once a month. Such measures promote social interactions between workers.

A very important point for the company to be considered a good job is, of course, to offer and respect a fair wage.

On the other hand, organizations that do not value their human resources or promote good measures in the workplace can suffer from symptoms that can lead to their collapse. According to the model of positive organizational psychology, In negative organizations make mistakes such as lack of leadership, excessive bureaucracy and excessive control, Which result in a generalized paralysis of the business.

In addition, focusing on achieving individual goals and setting aside collective tasks seriously compromises the creativity level of the organization as a whole. All this translates into a greater demotivation of the staff, as well as a higher rate of absenteeism, lower work rates and a manifest lack of commitment.

Positive people and great workers

According to the Positive Organizational Psychology approach, positive workers have values ​​such as courage, humanity, a good sense of humor, camaraderie, and corporate responsibility. They are humble, cautious and demonstrate self-control.

It is essential that, in order to create a good working environment, there are employees who exhibit positive emotions such as joy, pride in what is done., Pleasure and interest. These feelings generate behaviors that promote flexibility, creativity and efficiency, which is always of great benefit to the rest of the employees in the organization.

Among the models behind this approach, it is necessary to mention the PERMA model, which includes characteristics such as emotions and positive relationships in order to make sense of what is done on a daily basis in the workplace. Among the components of the model is “engagement” or engagement in the workplace, based on feeling like you are part of something important and generate pride.

According to Csikszentmihalyi, people feel much happier if they engage in an activity that makes them sink, that completely absorbs them with pleasure and a sense of usefulness.

How to manage the improvement of the company?

From the point of view of positive organizational psychology, to improve and achieve optimal development of the organization, it is first necessary to question the whole company. That is, looking through the different levels of the organization as the human variable manifests itself, if it is functioning properly, to see how the maximum benefit can be derived from it.

The company should look at aspects such as the social environment and find out what the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of the organization are. It should also be clear what the vision, mission, values ​​and, in essence, where the business is going. Knowing this, you will know what needs to be strengthened and work out alternatives and improvements..

Analyzing how culture is given to the business is always a good measure, as it allows us to know how human interactions developed in the organization and, in case of unforeseen circumstances, how it did there. face. Observing how, collectively, creative, proactive and empathetic behaviors have emerged can be a good way to reproduce at other levels of the organization and thus generalize success.

Understanding how the most talented people in the organization haven’t left their jobs can be very helpful in focusing on demonstrating the organization’s strengths in the labor market. Understand the degree of autonomy that employees enjoy and how they see it as being useful to the rest of the organization.

Finally, it is necessary to understand how comfortable the staff feel in the organization. Fostering employee well-being and satisfaction is essential to maintaining good organizational health.

All this provides the ingredients for the organization to develop an action plan, improve what it deems necessary and implement value its strengths.. In addition to this, you will be able to take care of what matters most in the company, namely its employees and, thanks to a positive work climate, achieve a greater degree of efficiency and productivity.

Bibliographical references:

  • Forbes-Álvarez, R. (2013). Positive organizational psychology and organizational improvement. Cegesti, 227, 1-3.
  • Salanova, M., Llorens, S. and Martínez, IM (2016). Contributions of positive organizational psychology to the development of healthy and resilient organizations. Psychologist Papers, 37 (3), 177-184.

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