Academic journal article Asian Social Science

A Conceptual Framework of Happiness at the Workplace

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

A Conceptual Framework of Happiness at the Workplace

Article excerpt


Happiness at the workplace refers to how satisfied people are with their work and lives. The idea of happiness is related to individual's subjective well-being. Happiness at the workplace is crucial for improving productivity in any organization. Happy people are productive people while those people who are unhappy may not pay full attention to any task. Some scholars believe that organizations which are able to maintain long-term happiness at the workplace could probably increase and sustain productivity. Therefore, they should know what factors could affect employee happiness in order to effectively enhance happiness at the workplace. But research on employee happiness was rarely seen in the past. The issue of happiness at the workplace needs to be properly conceptualized so that useful research on it could be conducted. This paper presents a potential conceptual framework of happiness at the workplace that could give valuable contribution to future research in this area.

Keywords: conceptual framework, happiness, subjective well-being, workplace

1. Introduction

Work is one of important aspects of people's lives (Dulk, Groeneveld, Ollier-Malaterre, & Valcour, 2013). People perform their work in exchange for either monetary (e.g. salary and benefits) or non-monetary rewards (e.g. psychological fulfillment from work) (Stiglbauer & Batinic, 2012). In today's changing world, the world of work has been changing rapidly (Baran, Shanock, & Miller, 2012; Quinlan, 2012). The changing work environments (e.g. the increasing internationalization of business, new technology, and new organizational practices) lead to the changing nature of work (Connell, Gough, McDonnell, & Burgess, 2014; Koukoulaki, 2010). Nature of work is defined as "the actual content of the job or work characteristics" (Benrazavi & Silong, 2013, p. 129). From human resource management (HRM) perspective, HRM practices (e.g. downsizing, outsourcing, and temporary employment) influence the nature and scope of work (Colakoglu, Lepak, & Hong, 2006). Corporate restructuring and downsizing which aim to reduce the workforce for improving organizational performance probably can make employees feel unsatisfied with their jobs (Klehe, Zikic, Van Vianen, & De Pater, 2011). Employees who perceive job insecurity have lower commitment to their organizations and they intend to leave their jobs (Silla, Gracia, Ma?as, & Peñó, 2010). Employees' job satisfaction has an impact on organizational performance (Dalal, Baysinger, Brummel, & Lebreton, 2012). If they are satisfied with work, their productivity would be increased (Barmby, Bryson, & Eberth, 2012).

Generally, employers expect a high level of performance and productivity from their employees (Thompson & Goodale, 2006; Samnani & Singh, 2014). Most companies need productive workers to work for them so as they could attain organizational goals (Chong & Eggleton, 2007; Hales & Williamson, 2010). Many companies used managerial tools for the purpose of increasing productivity (Salis & Williams, 2010; Samnani & Singh, 2014). The studies by Salis and Williams (2010), Samnani and Singh (2014), and Tabassi and Abu Bakar (2009) considered HRM practices (e.g. compensation system, face-to-face communication) as the means to increase productivity. Moreover, maintaining happiness at the workplace can increase employees' productivity (Quick & Quick, 2004). The previous studies (e.g. Quick & Quick, 2004; Rego & Cunha, 2008) state that happy employees are productive employees. Conversely, unhappiness at the workplace reduces productivity (Fereidouni, Najdi, & Amiri, 2013). The happiness issues have been widely studied in various fields such as philosophy, religion, psychology, sociology, and economics (Aydin, 2012). The term "happiness" has been discussed by many scholars (Björke, 2012; Johnston, Luciano, Maggiori, Ruch, & Rossier, 2013). …

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