Until recently, much work in psychology has been done on negative abnormalities of the mind (i.e., psychopathologies) or on social dynamics that lead to undesirable behavior such as social conformity or obedience. In contrast, positive psychology focuses on positive or optimal psychological states and behaviors.

What positive psychology has contributed to psychological science, positive organizational scholarship hopes to contribute to organizational scholarship.

In the context of creating ethical systems in groups and organizations, rather than simply identifying ways to prevent bad behavior, we may also concern ourselves with identifying ways to promote good behavior and encourage healthy, resilient, productive, and sustainable organizations.

On this page we will review the literature in positive organizational scholarship as it pertains to creating ethical systems.

You can learn more about positive organizational scholarship here (at U. Michigan)


OVERVIEW (1 paragraph)


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  • Two to four links to example cases; can be a placeholder for now


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  • Two to four key takeaways for academics and/or business people; each should be one to three sentences.

OPEN QUESTIONS [areas that need research]

  • Two to five questions for more investigation


  • Two to six books, articles, videos, etc.

This page is overseen by resident expert XXXX, although other contributors may have added content.
Miscellaneous Links & References
(This is where other contributors might list relevant links/references they come across)

Does taking a POS approach pay off, in the long run? What is the business case for investing in and committing to employees, and trying to create a flourishing workplace? Here are the reviews we have found so far:

  • Jeffrey Pfeffer (1998) The Human Equation: Ch. 2 offers an extensive review of studies, showing strong increases in productivity and profitability when firms adopt a "high commitment" strategy, rather than a cost-cutting strategy that demotivates workers. But the review is from the 1990s, and is not a systematic meta-analysis.
  • Judge, Thoresen, Bono, and Patton (2001), The job satisfaction--job performance relationship: A qualitative and quantitative review. A systematic meta-analysis finds that the correlation between overall job satisfaction and job performance is r = .30. This is an important number; it suggests that investments in employees and their work-places that increase their satisfaction will generally translate into moderately better job performance. 
  • Cascio (2006), The economic impact of employee behaviors in organizational performance. [pdf here] This is a review somewhat like Pfeffer's, reaching the same conclusions using more recent studies: "Enlightened" human resource practices pay off in higher productivity, better retention, lower absenteeism, better attitude. Labor rates are not the same as labor costs; sometimes cutting pay and benefits can increase total labor costs. 
  • Cameron, Mora, Leutscher, & Calarco (2011): Effects of positive practices on organizational effectiveness. [pdf here] From the abstract: Two studies—one in financial services and one in the health care industry—are reported, which investigate the link between positive practices and indicators of organizational effectiveness. A positive practices instrument is developed, and evidence is found that positive practices do, in fact, predict organizational performance. More important, improvement in positive practices predicts improvements in certain indicators of effectiveness over time.