Positive Leadership and the Quiet Quitting Movement in Organizations

Positive Leadership and the Quiet Quitting Movement in Organizations

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-8257-5.ch002
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This chapter seeks to highlight the importance of positive leadership in combating the phenomenon of quiet quitting. This phenomenon is not new, but it has gone viral with the COVID-19 pandemic, being more 'visible' in the organizational context. Thus, the objective of this research is to identify the main advantages of positive leadership in mitigating the quiet quitting movement. The research methodology is qualitative and starts by conceptualizing and identifying the main causes and consequences of the quiet quitting movement. Afterwards, the advantages of positive leadership are identified and, finally, this leadership style is systematized in relation to happiness and well-being at work. This research thus integrates the positive leadership approach with practices to improve employee engagement and organizational culture, highlighting the importance of human resource management practices to attract, integrate and manage talent in companies.
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There is a dearth of scientific studies on the Quiet Quitting movement, not only because it is a new term for workers who want to get their work tasks done but because the movement began with this new nomenclature in the summer of 2022 by Tik Tok Influencer, such as Khaby Lame, Charli d’ Amelio or Addison Rae, just to name a few.

This phenomenon has gone viral; however, it is essential to emphasize that this behavior of workers is not new, as there have always been unmotivated workers (Aydın & Azizoglu, 2022). More than a productivity reduction problem, the frustrations that lead to quiet quitting are increasingly mental health issues that leaders and organizations must be aware of (Singh et al., 2022; Singh et al., 2022)

People tend to have mixed feelings about their jobs, not only due to the intergenerational co-worker’s reality (Figueiredo & Joaquim, 2022) but also because the expectations and the goals achievements are different from one individual. However, nowadays, competitiveness on the business level is exceptionally high, and workers spend several hours per day in their workplaces (OECD.Stat, 2021).

Until 2020, employees had not fully realized their working hours, not only because they had traditional methods and established schedules, but they had an office to attend to, so their perception about work and personal life were two different matters that were explicitly divided on their lives (De Smet et al., 2021; Stahl, 2022). Nevertheless, all that changed in the year mentioned because of COVID-19 lockdown measures worldwide.

Workers were forced to adapt their working procedures to remote work or telecommuting during this period, blurring the distinction between professional and personal life. As a result, according to Schmidt (2010), individuals felt overwhelmed, and burnout became a real and concerning mental health issue.

Workers started to realize that their daily tasks were beyond their job description; consequently, their personal life was neglected in favor of their professional life, resulting in lower engagement feelings about work (Aydın & Azizoglu, 2022; Thompson, 2022).

Happiness at work has become a natural feeling to improve efficiency and productivity (Sohail Butt et al., 2020). According to Maenapothi (2007) (referred in Chaiprasit & Santidhiraku, 2011), “happiness at the workplace means a situation at the workplace when personnel is happy working and not feeling like it is work, are efficient and achieve targeted goals, both at the personnel and organizational levels” (2011, p. 191).

Regarding Windham-Bradstock (2022), there are three solutions to mitigate quiet quitting: communication, setting expectations, and cultivating trust. These are also significant assumptions for positive leadership. This leadership style emerged at the beginning of the 21st century, integrating leadership theories and the positive psychology approach. Although positive leadership is not univocally defined, evidence shows that positive leadership theories are based on positive psychology (Gauthier, 2015; Stander & Coxen, 2017).

Evidence has shown positive effects of positive psychology on improving work outcomes (Donaldson et al., 2019; Rudolph et al., 2017). In addition, positive leadership stimulates individuals' potential since leaders encourage exceptional performance by focusing on virtue and eudemonism.

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