Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

The Impact of Positive Organizational Phenomena and Workplace Bullying on Individual Outcomes

Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

The Impact of Positive Organizational Phenomena and Workplace Bullying on Individual Outcomes

Article excerpt

Rarely are positive organizational scholarship (POS) (Cameron et al., 2003b) and counterproductive workplace behavior (CWB) (Fox and Spector, 2005) coupled in the same research study or theory. POS believes there needs to be a focus on the positive in organizational research versus the negative approach that has been the tradition (Baumeister et al., 2001; Sekerka et al., 2014). However, there is reason to believe that even in the face of positive organizational features, if workplace bullying is present, the beneficial outcomes associated with positive features may be lost or at least diminished (Baumeister et al., 2001; Dutton and Glynn, 2008). From this perspective, in order to best understand and enrich human and organizational life, researchers should continue to study problems and their potential solutions, but do so in tandem with others who are studying human thriving in the absence of, or despite, problems.

The current study has two central goals. One of the purposes of the study is to explore the effect of positive interpersonal work experiences and perceived organizational virtuousness on three vital individual and organizational outcomes: stress levels related to work, perceptions of mental health quality, and the intent to leave jobs. Importantly for this purpose, however, is going beyond simply looking at positive phenomena but also looking at the moderating effect of workplace bullying on these outcomes. Workplace bullying has significant negative consequences for individuals and organizations (e.g., Malinauskiene and Einarsen, 2014; Finne et al., 2011; Loerbroks et al, 2015) and can often escalate into what is becoming of significant concern in organizations, workplace violence (Mayhew and Chappell, 2007). It will be argued that although positive phenomena are valuable goals for a wide variety of reasons, if workers are also targeted with negative, hostile messages and behaviors, positive dynamics can be negated or at least weakened.


Positive Organizational Scholarship

The organizational literature has traditionally taken a problem-focused approach (Sekerka et al., 2014), in which researchers attempt to address deficits in organizations and to bring organizations to some state of normalcy rather than attempting to cultivate strengths (Cooperrider and Godwin, 2012). Positive organizational scholarship (POS) conceptualizes and studies what is or could be "good" in organizations--how organizations and their members might thrive, what leads to thriving, what thriving leads to, and how thriving might be increased. POS "is concerned with the study of especially positive outcomes, processes, and attributes of organizations and their members.... [, that which is] exceptional, virtuous, life-giving, and flourishing" (Cameron et al., 2003a: 4, 5). POS and positive organizational behavior are relatively young fields (Cameron et al., 2003b; Luthans, 2002) still calling for empirical work to test its nascent assumptions (Cameron and McNaughtan, 2014).

POS focuses on issues including but not limited to perceived organizational virtuousness (Cameron et at., 2004), upward spirals in organizations (Fredrickson, 2003), and narratives of compassion (Frost et al., 2000). Empirical work suggests that these phenomena are associated with positive organizational outcomes and, more importantly, positive human outcomes (Cameron and McNaughton, 2014). Compassion, for example, can provide supportive spaces for persons suffering loss or trauma in their personal lives and also "may be a factor in both attracting and retaining staff" (Frost et al., 2000: 38). The effects of such positive organizational processes appear promising for enriching human life, both inside and outside of organizations. The effects of two particular arenas of positive organizational phenomena are explored: positive individual treatment and organizational virtuousness.

Positive individual treatment. …

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