The Impact of Positive Organizational Behavior in the Workplace

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The Impact of Positive Organizational Behavior in the Workplace



Research question: How does positive organizational behavior in the workplace affect productivity and individual performance?


The comprehension of organizational behavior has been an integral part of the success or wellbeing of any business. It is often defined as any behavior that results from the culture and structure of the organization. For quite a long time, the value of positive organizational behavior had been relegated to the periphery. However, recent times have seen renewed interest in the significance of positivity as a key focus area for research, theory building, as well as application in organizational behavior and psychology. Positive Organizational Behavior (POB) was envisaged by Fred Luthans in early 2000s. Luthans, together with his colleagues, acknowledged that a large number of organizational researchers had concentrated on negative elements of the workplace and ignored the positive ones such as psychological capabilities and strengths of the employee (Luthans et al, 2005). Luthans and colleagues examined self-efficacy, optimism, hope and resiliency as the psychological capabilities that result in positive organizational behavior. However, questions emerge as to the impact that positive organizational behavior (POB) in the workplace has on the performance and productivity of individuals (Luthans et al, 2005). Volumes of literature have been written on this front, trying to explain the impact of POB on productivity and performance in the workplace. These works of literature will be examined, and their findings outlined to answer the question.

Positive Organizational behavior is manifested in various ways including sharing knowledge, good mannerisms and communication, consideration of obstacles as challenges, being empowered and working independently, maintenance of excellent interpersonal relationship among workers, exhibition of enthusiasm and initiative, as well as concentrating on intangible benefits alongside tangible ones (Luthans et al, 2005). In addition, it would involve exhibition of integrity and ethics in the workplace among other things (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).

Scholars have acknowledged that a positive organizational behavior promotes a culture of openness and learning that allows individual employees to keep abreast and be updated on their skills and expertise, awareness, as well broaden their experience (Isen, 2003). Positive organizational behavior dictates that employers and their employees disseminate information, as well as share knowledge informally and informally with each other (Luthans et al, 2005). Scholars note that employees in such an environment would apply their brains to pondering and thinking above board and beyond the limits (Luthans et al, 2005). There is the cultivation of the culture of challenging every other assumption irrespective of the rank while respecting the variations in opinion, something that results in the emergence of new ideas (Wright, 2003). In this environment, the employees would communicate openly, freely and sincerely with each other, thereby providing for positive reinforcement. POB is a deviation from the common one-upmanship as it involves a situation where competition revolves around the addition to an individual’s intellectual base (Isen, 2003). The employees in such an environment look at obstacles as challenges that should be overcome and, therefore, become risk takers and innovators (Wright, 2003). In instances where they fail, the employees look at setbacks and failures as opportunities for learning and becoming better people than they were. It goes without saying that an individual’s reaction and perspective of failure determines how he handles it in the future, as well as the steps taken to avert their occurrence in the future (Luthans, 2003). Scholars note that the employees in such environments would react to failure and setbacks by examining the predisposing factors for its occurrence and trying to come up with strategies that would avert the possibility of their occurrence in the future, rather than resorting in witch-hunting and vendetta (Luthans, 2003).  Researchers note that such an environment is synchronized with the knowledge-based economy of today, where intellectual capital and knowledge brought by human resources in an enterprise or organization are the fundamental drivers that propel the organization to higher heights of glory (Wright, 2003).

In addition, positive organizational behavior (POB) is known to set the standards for reinforcing actions where employees follow these standards voluntarily without cajoling and prompting (Wright, 2003). This underlines the fact that positive organizational behavior is manifested or exhibited via proactive behavior, where employees face challenges head-on, have the big picture in mind when taking, acting or making something, and take the appropriate action or remedy at the appropriate time (Wright & Cropanzano, 2004). This environment, therefore, allows employees to plan ahead, identify areas from which problems may potentially emanate from and nip them in the bud instead of reacting to situations and attempting to solve them after they happen (Luthans & Youssef, 2007). It is worth noting that, employees who have proactive behavior offer the organization the much needed energy and vitality with which they surge ahead and are propelled to greater heights of glory (Luthans et al, 2006). Needless to say, such organizations that are known to encourage employees to undertake proactive behavior have efficient and seamless systems that go beyond the restrictions or limitations of bureaucracy, and leads to better support and service to customers (Luthans & Youssef, 2007). This behavior then sets the standards for the reinforcing actions, which the employees follow voluntarily without pressurization or prompting. Scholars have underlined the fact that employees would only exhibit proactive behavior when they are empowered. They are able to make decisions on their feet without following the restrictions that come with bureaucracy (Zhao & Seibert, 2006). It is worth noting that bureaucracy is often limiting and may reduce customer satisfaction in the services of the organization, something that may reduce the profitability and overall sustainability of the organization (Wright & Cropanzano, 2004). This is what happened to the Southwest Airlines, which allows its employees irrespective of their rank in the organization to make decisions rather than stick to bureaucracy and procedures set in the organization and shift the work to their supervisors (Luthans & Youssef, 2007). This reduces the backlog and allows for higher efficiency, which result in better performance and profitability (Wright & Cropanzano, 2004).

Moreover, positive organizational behavior ensures that every stakeholder in the workplace is provided with his or her due, thereby safeguarding equity in the workplace. It is also known to enhance organizational justice where good initiative and performance attracts rewards while disruptive and unbecoming behavior attracts punishment (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Positive organizational behavior allows for inculcation of a sense of fairness and consistency in every employee, thereby allowing for internal equity (Luthans & Youssef, 2007).  For example, in instances where a decision has to be made, the decision maker would ensure that the decision satisfies various filter.............

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