Academic journal article Journal of Social Sciences

Organizational Well-Being in a Public Research Agency: The Point of View of Administrative Staff and Researchers

Academic journal article Journal of Social Sciences

Organizational Well-Being in a Public Research Agency: The Point of View of Administrative Staff and Researchers

Article excerpt

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to investigate organizational well-being in a Public Research Agency, exploring the point of view of two different categories of workers, administrative staff and researchers, employed in the same organization. We hypothesized that, in a complex organization, the kind of work performed, along with other factors, could influence the representation of organizational well-being. The study involved 37 administrative staff and 24 researchers of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), the largest Public Research Agency in Italy. According to different key areas of organizational well-being in CNR, seven focus groups were carried out and collected data was analyzed using the qualitative data analysis software NVivo9. Results of this study seem to confirm the authors' hypothesis. In effect, even though the framework of organizational well-being is the same for the two categories of employees considered, there are differences in meaning and in importance given by stakeholders to each dimension of the construct. As a whole, the specificity of the points of view might be explained by considering not only the different working conditions and the different kind of work performed, but also the different cultural values of the Research Institutes and of the Central Administration. These aspects should be taken into account in the predisposition of tools for evaluation of organizational well-being, above all in complex organizations, in order to have at the organization's disposal research tools able to be representative of the entire population. A set of recommendations for improving organizational well-being in complex organizations are provided.

Keywords: Organizational Well-Being, Administrative Staff, Researchers, Exploratory Study, Research Agency


Over the last few years, interest in the topic of organizational well-being has increased not only in a national context, but also in an international context, becoming the subject of several theoretical and empirical studies (Schaufeli, 2004; Horn et al., 2004).

This construct has been studied in relation with the construct of psychological well-being, showing that feeling good at work has benefits for both the person and the organization (Avallone and Paplomatas, 2005; Diener and Seligman, 2004). Indeed, in a healthy organization employees feel well, take delight in work and make a commitment to their organization. At the same time, if employees are physically and psychologically well, they bring passion, motivation and volition to their working environment, contributing to improve efficiency and productivity of the entire organization. According to this perspective, developed in the context of functional psychology (Rispoli, 2001), personal and corporate well-being are not opposed, but are mutually reinforcing. In support of this perspective, recent research focused on the link between job performance, psychological well-being and organizational commitment, underlining that the absence of organizational well-being can cause a decrease of productivity, a high absenteeism rate, poor working motivation, poor availability to take on work, lack of trust (Meyer et al., 2002; Wright and Hobfoll, 2004; Mowday et al., 2013).

Therefore, one of the interests in organizational well-being is due to practical consequences for the life and functioning of the entire organization. One of the biggest difficulties associated with the study of organizational well-being is related to the definition and conceptualization of this construct. In effect, it is a multidimensional (Donald et al., 2005; Wilson et al., 2004) and dynamic construct, consisting of several interdependent levels and influenced by the context. Some authors have defined this construct as the overall health of an organization comprised of many constructs including organizational climate (i.e., the overall ambiance of an organizational system, what it feels like to be at work; Steele and Jenks, 1977), social climate (i. …

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