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Positive Psychology at Work: How Positive Leadership and Appreciative Inquiry Create Inspiring Organizations

ISBN: 978-0-470-68320-0
272 pages
April 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Positive Psychology at Work: How Positive Leadership and Appreciative Inquiry Create Inspiring Organizations (0470683201) cover image
Positive Psychology at Work brings the fields of positive psychology and appreciative inquiry together for the first time to provide leaders and change agents with a powerful new approach to achieving organizational excellence.
  • Draws together positive psychology and appreciative inquiry in the context of leadership organizational challenges for the first time
  • Presents academically rigorous and referenced material in a jargon-free, accessible manner
  • Arranged with chapters focused on specific organizational challenges to allow readers to quickly find ideas relevant to their unique situation
  • Features short contributions from experienced practitioners of positive psychology and Appreciative Inquiry, and includes case studies from the UK, Europe, Australia and the USA¬†
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About the Author xi

Book Contributors xiii

Preface xvii

Acknowledgements xxi

The Short Version of This Book xxiii

1 Introduction to Positive Psychology 1

Positive Psychology is Not Positive Thinking 2

How Positive Psychology Differs from Positive Thinking 3

The Ethical Bias of This Book 6

Key Themes of the Book 8

2 Positive Workplaces 11

Introduction 13

What is a Positive Workplace? 13

How Does Positive Organizational Behaviour

Turn into Positive Organizational Performance? 20

Organizational Culture 23

The Organization as a Complex Adaptive System 26

Why is Culture so Hard to Change? 31

How to Create Positive Workplaces 34

Summary 37

Further Reading 38

3 Positive Engagement and Performance 39

Introduction 40

Active Engagement at Work 42

Strengths and Talents 42

Flow 51

Mindfulness 52

Management Influence on Engagement and Productivity at Work 53

Goal Seeking 54

Goal Setting 56

Goal Setting and Environment Contingencies 58

The Meaningfulness of Work 63

Strategies for Increasing the Meaningfulness of Work 64

Summary 67

Recommended Reading 69

4 Positive Communication and Decision-Making 71

Introduction 71

Communication 72

Connectivity 74

Dynamic Patterns of Communication 76

How to Build Positive Communication and

Increase Performance 78

Leadership and Positive Communication 78

Best Self-Feedback 79

Decision-Making 83

Emotions in Decision-Making 86

Micro-Decision-Making 91

Other Factors that Enhance Decision-Making 92

Moving from Decision-Making to Sense-Making 96

Summary 99

Further Reading 100

5 Positive Leadership and Change 101

Introduction 101

Leadership 102

Psychopathic Leaders 107

Organizational Change 124

Approaches to Change 125

Leadership Change Behaviour 130

Effective Leadership Behaviour 131

Developing Strategy 134

Summary 136

Further Reading 137

6 Positive Sustainable Growth 139

Introduction 139

Psychological Capital 142

Appreciative Inquiry 158

Positive Profusion Theory of Growth of the Positive Organization 166

The Three-Circle Strengths Revolution 168

Summary 170

Further Reading 170

7 Positive Relationships at Work 171

Introduction 172

Positive Team Working 174

High Quality Working Relationships 184

Summary 192

Further Reading 193

8 Positive Transformation 195

Introduction 197

Key Processes of Flourishing and Inspiring Workplaces 197

Why Organizations Ignore the Transformative Collaboration Approach to Change 199

Transformative Collaboration 204

Patterns of Organizational Life 204

Transformative Collaboration Approaches 213

Summary 221

Further Reading 227

Other Things You Need to Know 229

How to Live a Happy and Meaningful Life 229

How to Have a Better Quality Old Age 229

References 231

Index 239

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Sarah Lewis is an Associated Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Principal member of the Association of Business Psychologists, and the owner of Appreciating Change, where she works as a facilitator and consultant. She is the lead author of Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management (2007).
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“For these reasons, Lewis’s timely and accessible book will be useful to business leaders and introductory audiences interested less in the science behind positive psychology and appreciative inquiry than in its ready application to the organizational setting.”  (PsycCRITIQUES, 11 July 2012)

"Overall, this is a very readable book, of more interest to the business and organisation leader than to the practising psychologist, for whom the lack of detailed referencing and methodological evaluation would be problematic. However, if, like me, you are not versed in the psychology of work or for that matter, positive psychology, but you do have a practical interest in how organisations (don't) work, maybe simply as an employee, then this book is a very readable introductory text with lots of ideas for activities and reflective activities as well as further reading." (BPS South-West Review, Spring 2012)

"Highly recommended. Business collections serving lower-division undergraduates and above." (Choice, 1 November 2011)

"Overall, I would recommend this book to postgraduate researchers, consultants and senior managers who are serious about wanting to invest the time to learn more about the use of positive psychology and appreciate inquiry to improve organisations." (The Psychologist, 1 October 2011)

"I believe this book will quickly become a classic reference text. In just over 200 pages Lewis has produced a content rich, accessible work that readers will want to revisit regularly. And I’ve no doubt they will be pleasantly surprised at how much fresh information they glean each time they do." People Management, April 11

"Overall, this is a very readable book, of more interest to the business and organisation leader than to the practising psychologist, for whom the lack of detailed referencing and methodological evaluation would be problematic. However, if, like me, you are not versed in the psychology of work or for that matter, positive psychology, but you do have a practical interest in how organisations (don’t) work, maybe simply as an employee, then this book is a very readable introductory text with lots of ideas for activities and reflective activities as well as further reading." BPS South-West Review, Spring 2012

This book offers an inspiring and exciting way forward for work organizations. It shows how we can enhance organizational effectiveness through promoting the well-being and efficacy of the people who make up business organizations: the staff. Grounded in psychology and management research, the book offers leaders, practitioners and employees a clear agenda for creating positive and appreciative cultures that promote performance.
Mike West, Executive Dean and Professor of Psychology, Aston University, UK.

Positive Psychology at Work is a much needed book that lifts the lid on how a more appreciative, strengths-focused approach can transform organisations for the better. When organisations and their leaders focus on enhancing the best of what their people have to offer, they enable them to achieve the goals for which they strive, at the same time building the resilience they will need to cope with the changes and challenges of the modern world. I strongly recommend this book for organisational leaders and those who strive to support them.
Alex Linley, Founding Director, Capp, UK

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