Research Topic

Positive Organizational Interventions: Contemporary Theories, Approaches and Applications

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About this Research Topic

Positive organizational interventions (POIs) have emerged as popular mechanisms to facilitate the professional development and well-being of employees. These interventions draw from positive psychological principles, processes, and practices to enhance the positive capabilities of individuals, teams and ...

Positive organizational interventions (POIs) have emerged as popular mechanisms to facilitate the professional development and well-being of employees. These interventions draw from positive psychological principles, processes, and practices to enhance the positive capabilities of individuals, teams and organizations; the goal is to improve performance. POIs focus on the optimization, utilization and application of individuals' strengths to promote employees' general comfort in the workplace, translating in a better operativity and increase a positive attitude within the organizational context.

This positively focused approach resonates with many organizations as it leans away from “correcting” deviant behaviour, it removes the stigma associated with the wellbeing or mental health at work and is aligned to the principles of lifelong learning, as proposed by Ivandic and colleagues in 2017.

Further, these interventions are argued to produce positive outcomes including the individual (e.g. work engagement, and motivation) team (e.g. collaboration, team flow) and organizational level (e.g. innovative work behaviours, sustainable fiscal performance). It is therefore not surprising that POIs have gained mass-appeal within the popular psychological (pop psych) press circuit.

These `pop psych' manuscripts promise “ten scientifically proven ways” or “five easy evidence-based practices” to build flourishing organizations, optimal functioning teams, positive leaders and thriving employees through translating “scientifically proven interventions into consumer-friendly terms. However, these interventions rarely yield any functional returns and do not deliver on their respective promises.

So why do these interventions fail, if they are drawn from scientifically validated POIs?

First, the methods reported in these manuscripts are significantly altered from the original academically published forms.

Second, the context of the reader may be meaningfully different from the system in which the original study was conducted.

Third, the authors may have misinterpreted, or over-inflated the results of the original studies.

Fourth, the intervention methods or approaches used in the original publications are usually confined to specific clinical samples or closed systems (i.e. developed in a proverbial vacuum).

Finally, the original academic articles do not extensively discuss the content of the interventions, but merely present short descriptions thereof in text.
Extensive intervention protocols and methodologies of POIs in the academic literature are usually condensed into a single paragraph or removed in its entirety in the final manuscript. This severely limits or deludes the potential transferability into practice.

As such, the purpose of this Research Topic is to address these challenges through curating innovative theoretical and empirical POI research relating to modern intervention designs, -methodologies, -content and -evaluation methods.
Specifically, the aim is to call for contemporary approaches towards the development, implementation and evaluation of POIs which could easily be translated into practical, viable instruments for others to employ. Last but not least, our aim is to collate a register of intervention protocols that could be used to promote science and POIs practice advance.

This Research Topic calls for:

1. Theoretical approaches to positive organizational capacity development
2. Positive organizational intervention designs, methodologies, evaluation methods and intervention protocols
3. Evidence-based positive organizational intervention practices
4. Multi-disciplinary views or approaches to positive organizational interventions


Keywords: Strengths Based Development, Positive Interventions, Intervention Methodology, Intervention Protocols, Positive Organizational Interventions


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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