"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Positive Organizational Scholarship

In December 2001, faculty experts at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan published a breakthrough book entitled Positive Organization Scholarship (POS) that challenged the traditional belief that “good management equates with maintaining order and seeking conformity”. POS is a movement in the organizational science based on the premise that focusing on positive dynamics in the workplace such as trust, compassion, resilience, and work-life balance will open the window to individual and organizational excellence. Granted that negative factors cannot be ignored within organizations, POS seeks to understand and explain which organizational elements create highest performance, taking the negative elements and recognizing that they block and undermine positive workplace performance.

At its core, POS defies the notion that employees should “play by the rules of the game”. Traditional management discouraged any type of deviance, even ones with positive outcomes. What makes POS so compelling in the 21st Century is its commitment to promote positive deviance, fostering creativity and innovation within the organization resulting in higher performance. POS combines the studies of organizational science and social science, and understands that the 21st Century employee wants to be led, not managed. “Organizations are the mediating institutions that create most of what society needs – whether it is education, business enterprise or health”[1], so it is important that we commit ourselves to creating positive energy by investing more in the core of organizations: the people. Positive leadership combines the ability to stimulate, encourage, and guide both at work and in life with a strong concern for health, happiness, and development of your team.

POS is just beginning to break ground in today’s organizations, but we can already feel its impact and importance for driving the world into a more unified and positive global community. The POS commitment to finding out what makes organizations function well will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of organizations that provide us with life essentials, and the innovative and creative capabilities of developing minds will be able to come up with breakthrough research into improving today’s most dangerous global problems. By focusing on developing ourselves today, we will become part of a better global community tomorrow.

[1] Baker, W., Cameron, K., Dutton, J., Quinn, R., Spreitzer, G., “The Essence of Positive Organizational Scholarship: Unlocking the Generative Capabilities in Human Communities”. The Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship

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