Academic journal article Journal of Social and Psychological Sciences

The Relationship between Mindfulness and Student Counterproductive Behaviour

Academic journal article Journal of Social and Psychological Sciences

The Relationship between Mindfulness and Student Counterproductive Behaviour

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Mindfulness as a concept has established itself in the mainstream arena and continues to increase exponentially (Brown et al., 2007; Shapiro, Carlson, Astin, & Freedman, 2006. One should note that a simple Google search on the term 'mindfulness' yields more than six million links. Furthermore, a search on PsycInfo using the keyword mindfulness produced over 2,231 titles including books, dissertations and academic articles. Up until very recently, this concept has only been studied within the domains of philosophy and religion. It has been demonstrated that mindfulness positively affects psychological well-being, mental and physical health, as well as the quality of intimate relationships (Baer, 2003; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Brown et al., 2007; Grossman et al. 2004). One can identify two broad schools of thought on mindfulness; the Western (Weick & Putnam, 2006; Weick & Sutcliffe, 2006) and the Eastern perspectives (Thera, 1972; Gunaratana, 1992; Kabat-Zinn, 1994; Kabat-Zinn, 2003).

The present study draws upon the Eastern approach which postulates that mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist teachings. In contrast, the Western perspective to mindfulness focus on a key aspect known as mindlessness which is best understood through the work of Langer (1989). Langer postulated that mindlessness occurs as a consequence of individuals being 'trapped' by categories and distinctions which they created in the past rather creating new ones based on present experiences. However, one should note that there are many similarities between Eastern and Western traditions of thought regarding mindfulness as a concept. It follows that a considerable amount of and literature have demonstrated that there is a growing interest in the application of mindfulness in the workplace (Dane, 2010; Davidson et al., 2003; Fredrickson, Cohn et al., 2008; Giluk, 2009). In this respect, it is thought that mindfulness facilitates work outcomes through experienced affect and development of high-quality relationships (Cohen-Katz et al., 2004). A number of other studies have also found a positive effect of mindfulness in mental health, given its ability to reduce burnout and stress in the workplace (Galantino, Baime, Maguire, Szapary, & Farrar, 2005; Irving, Dobkin, & Park; 2009; Klatt, Buckworth, & Malarkey, 2009; Mackenzie, Poulin, & Seidman-Carlson, 2006; Pipe, Bortz, & Dueck, 2009). Furthermore, much broader effects were found by Hunter and McCormick's (2008) whose results seem to suggest that a mindful approach to work may result in increased ability to remain calm in difficult work situations and external awareness at work. In addition, they also found that mindful approach also increases more acceptance of one's work situation, as well as individuals' adaptability. Supporting empirical evidence to the aforementioned conclusion was also provided by McCormick (2006) and Riskin (2002) whose study results seem to indicate that a mindful state of awareness and attention has an effect on individuals' work performance. But what, in any, is the relationship between mindfulness and organizational citizenship in the work place? In this respect, it is thought that mindfulness is particularly relevant to one's citizenship behaviour (Block-Lerner et al, 2007). Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that mindfulness contributes towards empathy (Tipsord, 2009) and development of positive affectivity (Brown & Ryan, 2003), both of which have been found to be positively associated to citizenship behaviour in the workplace (Settoon & Mossholder, 2002). Some suggested that mindful individuals tend to be more skilled emotionally given that mindfulness scales have correlated positively with certain attributes associated with emotional regulation and awareness such as emotional intelligence (Baer, Smith, & Allen, 2004). Here the rationale is that less mindful individuals are less emotionally aware and therefore, less effective at regulating emotions. …

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