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Positive Psychology in Practice: Promoting Human Flourishing in Work, Health, Education, and Everyday Life, 2nd Edition by Stephen Joseph

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Chapter 20Bringing Positive Psychology to Organizational Psychology

SARAH LEWIS

In 2012, Burnes and Cooke questioned the relevance of organizational development (OD) and, by implication, much of organizational psychology, to organizations in the 21st century. In this chapter, I argue that expanding the field of organizational psychology to incorporate key aspects of positive psychology creates good grounds for suggesting that organizational psychology is still relevant to the big questions of organizations and the people within them.

To support my argument, I suggest that bringing positive psychology, with its emphasis on individual well-being as well as organizational flourishing, to the fore in organizational psychology may help us refute the accusation that OD is merely “a vehicle for managerialist co-optation” (Burnes & Cooke, 2012, p. 1416). I also suggest that it may help us rise to the challenge of addressing the big issues of human welfare through the medium of the working organization. In considering why OD may be under pressure and how positive psychology can help, I consider some of the current challenges experienced by organizations and identify how positive psychology, combined with the best of OD, offers a way forward relevant to these challenges.

Cheung-Judge and Holbeche suggest that “the main causes of change failure are usually found in the way the change process itself is managed” (2011, p. 199). In explaining the problems that change processes can cause, ...

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