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For many years now, both organizational researchers and practitioners alike have been interested in the role played by employee happiness on a number of workplace…
For many years now, both organizational researchers and practitioners alike have been interested in the role played by employee happiness on a number of workplace outcomes. In particular, many have been fascinated by the happy/productive worker thesis. According to this hypothesis, happy employees exhibit higher levels of job-related performance behaviors than do unhappy employees. However, despite decades of research, support for the happy/productive worker thesis remains equivocal. These inconsistent findings primarily result from the variety of ways in which happiness has been operationalized. Most typically, organizational theorists have operationalized happiness as job satisfaction, as the presence of positive affect, as the absence of negative affect, as the lack of emotional exhaustion, and as psychological well being. I will review this literature using the circumplex framework as the taxonomic guideline. In addition, drawing on the impetus of the “positive psychology” movement, I propose Fredrickson’s (1998, 2001, 2003) broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions as one approach especially well-suited for future research to better understand the happy/productive worker thesis.
For decades, since at least the famous Hawthorne studies, the happy/productive worker thesis has forcefully captured the imagination of management scholars and human resource professionals alike. According to this “Holy Grail” of management research, workers who are happy on the job will have higher job performance, and possibly higher job retention, than those who are less happy. But what is happiness? Most typically, happiness has been measured in the management sciences as jobsatisfaction. This viewpoint is unnecessarily limiting. Building upon alittle remembered body of research from the 1920s, we suggest a twofold, expanded view of this thesis. First, we suggest the consideration of worker happiness as psychological well-being (PWB). Second, incorporating Fredrickson's (1998, 2001) broaden-and-build model ofpositive emotions as the theoretical base, we suggest that the job satisfaction to job performance and job satisfaction to employee retentionrelationships may be better explained by controlling for the moderating effect of PWB. Future research directions for human resource professionals are introduced.
Based more on practical (and contextual), rather than theoretical grounds, over time, job satisfaction came to be the work attitude of choice for many early researchers…
Based more on practical (and contextual), rather than theoretical grounds, over time, job satisfaction came to be the work attitude of choice for many early researchers interested in studying the relationship between employee attitudes and efficiency. Surprisingly, research examining the basis for why this belief is practically nonexistent. This paper addresses this apparent void in the organizational literature.
First, a historical overview of the development of job attitudes is introduced. Second, incorporating important early, but now mostly forgotten, research on employee boredom, fatigue and customer satisfaction, a “missing link” explanation is presented for job satisfaction eventually becoming the “job attitude of choice” in organizational research.
Integrating early research from two long‐forgotten streams of organizational research, this paper provides a practical (and contextual) framework for why job satisfaction became the most widely used measure of happiness in the happy/productive worker thesis.
Future research endeavors on the happy/productive worker thesis might greatly benefit from an awareness of the important, but now mostly forgotten, stream of early research on worker well‐being.
This historical paper provides the reader with a better understanding of the contextual framework for how the fascination with job satisfaction developed over time.
The relationship between job satisfaction and performance is a topic that has been intriguing scholars and managers for a long time. With the flourishing of positive…
The relationship between job satisfaction and performance is a topic that has been intriguing scholars and managers for a long time. With the flourishing of positive psychology, it has been called the happy-productive worker thesis. New concepts led to new results but still divergent. This study aims to understand the past 20 years of research on the topic, also called the holy grail of the organizational sciences, helping to unwrap conclusions so far.
Bibliometric analysis was performed with R statistical tool’s support, complemented by content analysis, based on studies from three major databases between 1999 and 2019. The empirical studies were analyzed according to the constructs used, shedding light on when the happy-productive worker thesis is more likely to be confirmed.
Results show a variety of constructs and instruments used to operationalize the constructs. This lack of convergence accounts for a large part of the general inconclusiveness of the topic. Indicated research gaps can be useful to both academics and practitioners.
Only studies declared as related to the happy-productive worker thesis were considered.
Managers can benefit from considering the findings as a basis for decision-making regarding investments in employee happiness at work, focusing on the aspects of happy constructs that lead to productive criteria.
The application of mixed methods, complementing the bibliometric with thorough content analysis, provided a more detailed overview of current knowledge about the topic, helping to disentangle different concepts that were treated as similar. Thus, it is possible to understand in which situations happy workers are really more productive.
Peter Y. Chen heads the Occupational Health Psychology Training program within the Industrial/Organizational Psychology program at Colorado State University. His primary research interests are in occupational health, performance evaluation, training, and methodology. He has published a book, numerous book chapters and various empirical articles appearing in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Business and Psychology, Journal of Management, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Journal of Organizational and Occupational Psychology, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Personality Assessment, Group and Organization Management: An International Journal.Shoshi Chen is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Faculty of Management, Tel-Aviv University, Israel (M.Sc., Organizational Behavior). Her current research interests are: work and stress, preventive stress management, and IT implementation.Oranit B. Davidson is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Faculty of Management, Tel-Aviv University, Israel (M.Sc., Organizational Behavior). Her current research interests are: job stress and strain, respite relief, expectation effects and self-fulfilling prophecy.Michelle K. Duffy is an Associate Professor and Gatton Endowed Research Professor in the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Miami University (Ohio), an M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Xavier University, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior/Human Resources Management from the University of Arkansas. She previously worked as a Research Psychologist at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Dr. Duffy teaches courses in the area of Organizational Behavior. Her research interests include employee health and well being, social undermining behaviors and processes, and team composition issues. Her research has appeared or been accepted for publication in journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, Group and Organization Management, Small Group Research, and Security Journal, among others.Rudy Fenwick received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University. He is currently Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Akron. Previously, he taught at the University of South Carolina. His research interests include the effects of markets and organizational structures on jobs characteristics and worker well being, particularly job stress and participation in organizational decision making. His most recent research has appeared in The American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Journal of Family and Economic Issues. In 2003, he served as guest editor of a special edition of Sociological Focus on “Organizations Transforming Work; Work Transforming Organizations.”Glenda M. Fisk is a doctoral student in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the Pennsylvania State University. She earned her B.A. degree in psychology at the University of Calgary. Her primary research interests include emotions in the workplace and organizational justice.Corina Graif received her Masters in Sociology from the University of Akron. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Harvard University. Her interests include studying social organizations, institutions, networks, social justice, deviance, gender, and class inequality. She is also interested in the socio-legal mechanisms behind the adoption of social policy programs in the context of comparative social, political, and economic development.Alicia A. Grandey earned her Ph.D. at Colorado State University and has been an assistant professor in industrial-organizational psychology at Penn State University since 1999. Her research focuses on the experience and expression of emotions and stress in the workplace, particularly within the service industry and as it relates to work-family issues. Her work in these areas has been published in such journals as Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Vocational Behavior, and Journal of Organizational Behavior, as well as several book chapters. Dr. Grandey is a member of the American Psychological Association, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (APA Div. 14), and Academy of Management.Paula L. Grubb is a Research Psychologist in the Division of Applied Research and Technology, Organizational Science and Human Factors Branch at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Dr. Grubb received her doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Grubb’s research interests include workplace violence and psychological aggression, racial/ethnic discrimination, traumatic stress, supervisory best practices, organization of work, and job stress. Her current research focuses on developing intervention and evaluation strategies for workplace psychological aggression, as well as examining workplace violence and psychological aggression policies and organizational decision-making.Stevan Hobfoll has authored and edited 11 books, including Stress, Social Support and Women, Traumatic Stress, The Ecology of Stress, and Stress Culture and Community. In addition, he has authored over 150 journal articles, book chapters, and technical reports, and has been a frequent workshop leader on stress, war, and terrorism. He has received over $9 million in research grants on stress and health. Dr. Hobfoll is currently Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Kent State University and Director of the Applied Psychology Center and the Summa-KSU Center for the Treatment and Study of Traumatic Stress. Formerly at Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Universities, he has also been involved with the problem of stress in Israel. Dr. Hobfoll received special commendation for his research on The Psychology of Women and for his AIDS prevention programs with ethnic minority populations, and was cited by the Encyclopædia Britannica for his contribution to knowledge and understanding for his Ecology of Stress volume. He was co-chair of the American Psychological Association Commission on Stress and War during Operation Desert Storm, helping plan for the prevention of prolonged distress among military personnel and their families, and a member of APA’s Task Force on Resilience in Response to Terrorism. He maintains a private practice as a clinical psychologist and organizational consultant.Michiel A. J. Kompier has a full chair in Work and Organizational Psychology at the University of Nijmegen (The Netherlands). His research area is occupational health psychology. He has published many (inter)national articles, books and book chapters on topics such as work stress, the psychosocial work environment, mental work load, sickness absenteeism, work disability, work and health, productivity, work-home interaction, and working conditions policies. In his studies the emphasis is on prevention and intervention studies in organizations and applied research methodology. Michiel Kompier is chairman of the scientific Committee “Work Organization and Psychosocial Factors” of ICOH (International Commission on Occupational Health), co-editor of the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, and member of the editorial boards of Work and Stress and the International Journal of Stress and Health.Shavit Laski is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Faculty of Management, Tel-Aviv University, Israel (M.Sc., Organizational Behavior). Her current research interests are: work stress, burnout and work-non-work relationship.Lawrence R. Murphy, Ph.D. received from DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois and did postdoctoral training at the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research, Michael Reese Medical Center. He joined the Work Organization and Stress Research Section, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), as a Research Psychologist in 1977. He has published articles and book chapters on job stress, stress management, and safety climate, and co-edited several books, including Stress Management in Work Settings (1989), Organizational Risk Factors for Job Stress (1995), and Healthy and Productive Work: An International Perspective (2000). He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Work and Stress, and Journal of Business and Psychology. His current research involves identifying characteristics of healthy and productive work organizations, and assessing the quality of work life using a national sample of U.S. workers.Anne M. O’Leary-Kelly is a Professor in the Department of Management at the University of Arkansas. She received her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management from Michigan State University in 1990 and previously has been on the faculty at Texas A&M University and the University of Dayton. Her research interests include the study of aggressive work behavior (violence, sexual harassment) and individual attachments to work organizations (psychological contracts, identification, cynicism). Her work has appeared in (among others) the Academy of Management Review, the Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of Applied Psychology, the Journal of Management, the Journal of Management Inquiry, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, Research in Organizational Change and Development, and the American Business Law Journal. She is a member of the Academy of Management and has been co-recipient of the Outstanding Publication in Organizational Behavior Award (given by the Organizational Behavior Division) and co-recipient of the Dorothy Harlow Outstanding Paper Award (given by the Gender and Diversity in Organizations Division). She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the OB Division of the Academy of Management.Rashaun K. Roberts is a Research Psychologist in the Division of Applied Research and Technology, Organizational Science and Human Factors Branch at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Dr. Roberts received her master’s and doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology from Case Western Reserve University. Prior to joining the research team at NIOSH in 2002, Dr. Roberts was a fellow at Duke University Medical Center in the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, where she developed an expertise in occupational mental health. Dr. Roberts’ current research at NIOSH focuses on the contributions of structural and psychosocial variables to the emergence of psychological aggression in the workplace and on understanding the implications of psychologically aggressive behaviors for occupational safety and health. As a member of the Federal Interagency Task Force on Workplace Violence Research and Prevention, she is collaborating to develop NIOSH’s research agenda in these areas. Dr. Roberts’ other research interests include issues related racial/ethnic health disparities, occupational mental health, and women’s health.Steven L. Sauter received his Ph.D. in Industrial Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and held an appointment in the University of Wisconsin, Department of Preventive Medicine until joining the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1985. He currently serves as Chief of the Organizational Science and Human Factors Branch at NIOSH, and leads the NIOSH research program on work organization and health. He also holds an appointment as an Adjunct Professor of Human Factors Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, Department of Industrial Engineering. His research interests focus on work organization and occupational stress. He serves on editorial boards of several scholarly journals – including Work and Stress and the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, he has prepared several books and articles on psychosocial aspects of occupational health, and he is one of the senior editors of the 4th Edition of the International Encyclopedia of Occupational Safety and Health.Kristin L. Scott is a doctoral student in Organizational Behavior/Human Resources Management in the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky. She received a B.S. in Business Administration from Villanova University and an M.A. in Human Resources from the University of South Carolina. She previously worked as a Human Resources Manager at General Electric Company. Her research interests include employee emotional responses, justice issues, employee antisocial behavior, and compensation and reward systems. Currently, she has manuscripts under review at the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management and the Leadership Quarterly.Lori Anderson Snyder received her Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Colorado State University. She is now an assistant professor in the psychology department at the University of Oklahoma. Her research interests include workplace aggression, safety, performance errors, multisource feedback, and the Assessment Center method.Naomi G. Swanson is head of the Work Organization and Stress Research group at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the U.S. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1989. Along with Dr. Steven Sauter, NIOSH, she was involved in some of the initial research in the U.S. examining the relationship of organizational factors to non-fatal workplace violence. She is currently participating in research examining the relationship between workplace stressors and depression, the assessment of work organization interventions designed to improve worker health and well being, and the assessment of workplace violence programs and practices.Toon W. Taris is an associate professor at the Department of Work and Organizational Psychology of the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He holds a MA degree in Administrative Science (1988) and took his Ph.D. in Psychology in 1994, both from the Free University of Amsterdam. Since 1993 he has been affiliated with various psychology departments of several Dutch universities and also served as a research consultant. His research interests include work motivation, psychosocial work stress models, and longitudinal reearch methods. Taris has published on a wide range of topics in journals such as Journal of Vocational Behavior, Personnel Psychology, Journal of Organizational and Occupational Psychology, and Sociological Methods and Resarch. Further, he serves on the boards of several journals, including Work & Stress and the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health.Mark Tausig received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the State University of New York at Albany. He is has been at the University of Akron since 1983 and currently holds the title of Professor of Sociology. His research interests include investigating the relationships between macro-economic conditions, work organization and worker well being. His most recent research has appeared in The American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Family and Economic Issues and, The Journal of Health and Social Behavior. He is also co-author of A Sociology of Mental Illness.Mina Westman an associate professor and Researcher, at Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv University, Israel (Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, Tel Aviv University). Her primary research interests include determinants and consequences of job and life stress, negative and positive crossover between partners and team members, work-family interchange, effects of vacation on psychological and behavioral strain and the impact of short business trips on the individual, the family and the organization. She has authores empirical and conceptual articles that have appeared in such journals as the Journal of Applied Psychology, Human Relations, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Applied Psychology: An International Journal, and Journal of Vocational Psychology. In addition, she has also contributed to several book chapters and presented numerous scholarly papers at international conferences. She is on the editorial board of Journal of Organizational Behavior and Applied Psychology: An International Journal.Thomas A. Wright is a Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of Nevada, Reno. He received his Ph.D. in organizational behavior and industrial relations from the University of California, Berkeley. Similar to the Claude Rains character from the classic movie, Casablanca, he has published his work in many of the “usual suspects” including the Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Psychometrika, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Journal of Management and the Journal of Management Inquiry. He has consulted with a number of organizations over the years on such topics as: optimizing employee performance and organizational productivity, sustaining employee commitment, stimulating employee motivation, developing employee recruitment and retention strategies, and enhancing employee health and well being.Angela Young is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management at California State University, Los Angeles. Current research interests include mentoring relationships, organizational relationships, equity and fairness in the workplace, and the interview process. Her work has been published in Journal of Management, Human Resource Management Review, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, and other journals. She has presented her research at numerous conferences including National Academy of Management, American Psychological Association, Western Academy of Management, and Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
The need to maintain up-to-date technological skills despite an aging workforce makes it imperative that organizations increasingly focus on retraining older employees. This article develops an adult career model based on the acquisition of technological skills and gradual skill obsolescence. The model suggests the importance of retraining and provides practical implications to the development of retraining programs. Suggestions for future research are also offered.
Fred R. Blass is an Assistant in Management at Florida State University. He received a Ph.D. in Management from Florida State University, and before joining the faculty at Florida State, served on the Department of Management faculty at the United States Air Force Academy. Blass has research interests in power and influence in organizations and organizational socialization. He has published his research in such journals as Human Resource Management and The Leadership Quarterly. Also, he has presented his research at both national and regional professional conferences.
This study used a convenience sample (N = 387) aggregated from several Japanese worksettings to replicate results obtained with the phase model of burnout in a substantial…
This study used a convenience sample (N = 387) aggregated from several Japanese worksettings to replicate results obtained with the phase model of burnout in a substantial number of studies in North American loci. At several levels of analysis, the results of the present replication support the generic character of the phase model and its components. Thus Japanese respondents psychologically structure the items of the Maslach Burnout Inventory used to estimate individual scores on three subdomains of burnout in much the same ways as two large batches of U.S. respondents. These subdomain scores—depersonalization, personal accomplishment, and emotional exhaustion—are combined to generate assignments of Japanese respondents to phases of burnout. Moreover, the phase assignments covary significantly with a panel of marker variables, which are similar or identical to variables used in North American studies. Basically, as the phases progress I → VIII, individuals report worsening scores on all 6 marker variables—job involvement, number of health symptoms, helplessness, job satisfaction, job tension, and self‐rated productivity. The pattern of results is similar to that in almost all North American studies using the phase model. Japanese respondents get assigned to the three most advanced phases of burnout in markedly greater proportion than North American respondents. In comparison to most of its counterparts, the present study accounts for a smaller proportion of variance between the phases and marker variables.