Positive Organizational Behavior and Threats of New Work Forms

Positive Organizational Behavior and Threats of New Work Forms

Mehmet Saim Aşçı (İstanbul Medipol University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0058-3.ch013


Positive psychology emphasizes on what is right in the individuals instead of what is wrong and focuses on the ways with which a happy life can be lived. Positive organizational behavior, on the other hand, is the reflection of positive psychology in organizations and works on powers and mental capabilities of quantifiable, efficiently manageable, and improvable human resources. However, growing in parallel with the widespread expansion of neo-liberal understanding of economics, insecure jobs, chore works, intensely repressive and overwhelming management practices, and practices that have even led people to commit suicide as an escape option, discourage and impede the development of a positive organizational climate. In this study, striking examples of these hurtful practices were provided, and by emphasizing the characteristics only human beings can have, an attempt was made at drawing the attention to the fact that an organization can't be won—or rather, nothing can be gained in the medium and long term—without winning the people first.
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Today, the importance of human element for enterprises has gradually increased in an environment where changes that intensify the competition took place. These changes include processes like the increase in cultural norm diversity and downsizing of organizations, and increased layoffs related to this, along with the developments in communication and information technologies that came with the spread of globalization. The increased importance attributed to knowledge, the increase in the average age of employees, the rise of women workers in the workforce, and participation of people from different races to work-life also contributed to these changes. These changes all take place because richness in natural resources alone is not enough for the welfare of society, and as evident, the real wealth of a community is related to the accumulated experience and skills of its people and their management, rather than its natural resources (Deming, 2018).

Humankind being seen by the management as assets of an enterprise is one of the obstacles that deprive people of the pride of working and is a source of occupational dissatisfaction (Deming, 2018). At an age where rapid access to capital, technology, and raw materials has been made very easy, and competition has become sharper than ever, human sources in the eyes of the enterprises has become an improvable and renewable strategical resource, instead of being seen as easily replaceable assets and subjects of cost that need to be controlled (Child and McGrath, 2001). Human beings have become more prominently crucial for the organizations, as they are capable of having the only reliable resource (Nonaka, 1999) in gaining an advantage over the competition: “knowledge” which is considered to be the single meaningful resource today (Drucker, 2012) and next to which all other production factors are considered secondary (Deming, 2018). Humans can also be trained and can gain experience, which they can also share and spread afterward.

Casting the human element prominent for the enterprises, knowledge has become one of the crucial components of the human capital which the workers individually have and use to perform the tasks given to them. As one of the most critical determinants of the intellectual capital on one level, the human capital consists of -in addition to knowledge- the skill and ability levels, educations and experiences, entrepreneurial spirits, and innovative and creative aspects of individuals (Guthrie, 2001; Hitt and Ireland, 2002). Under the overwhelming conditions of the competitive environment which gets more intense with each passing day, it is becoming gradually more difficult to achieve performance increases. The difficulties employees experience in adapting to rapidly changing environmental conditions, along with the rapid information flow and the evolution of specialization into a more flexible form, makes it harder for them to contribute to the establishment with their bodies and souls, and necessitates the development of new approaches in the field of organizational psychology to overcome these challenges.

According to numerous economists, the productivity of employees is also dependent on their positive psychologies, which influences the quality and quantity of their work and forms a part of their personality (Goldsmith, 2018). This view has made the image of human beings more prominent, and the movement of positive organizational behaviors emerged from the positive psychology field, which focuses on positive behaviors instead of negative ones. As a result of studies performed with regards to positive organizational behavior, the concept of positive psychological capital came to the forefront -even beyond the idea of social capital- in order to understand the real value of human beings for organizations and to make them realize their true potentials (Luthans, Youssef and Avolio, 2007).

This present study tries to explain the benefits of the two primary elements of positive organizational climate -namely the positive organizational behavior and positive psychology- for organizations and provides examples to negative behaviors that go against these benefits.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Positive Psychology: A new trend of psychology that emphasizes what is right in humans, instead of what is wrong.

Positive Organizational Climate: An enhancing, supportive, optimistic, and self-consistent organizational environment that focuses on the strengths of the organization itself and its members.

Positive Organizational Behavior: Scientific studies involving the assessment, development, and effective management of people's strengths and psychological capacities in order to improve workplace performance.

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