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Workplace Well-being: How to Build Psychologically Healthy Workplaces by Arla Brown, E. Kelloway, Joseph Hurrell

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3 Positive Psychology and the Healthy Workplace

Stephanie Gilbert and E. Kevin Kelloway

Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS, Canada

Although recently popularized, positive psychology has its roots in the very beginnings of psychology with William James’ (1902) research on healthy mindedness and Maslow’s (1954) call for the study of positive psychology. Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) reinvigorated the field of positive psychology and described the aim of the field to be one in which the focus on building positive qualities is just as strong as the focus on repairing the negative things in life (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Thus, positive psychology was defined as the science of positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive institutions that promote a high quality of life (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).

In their definition of positive psychology, Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) identified three levels of examination in positive psychology: At the subjective level, we can examine positive subjective experiences such as positive emotions, hope, and flow. At the individual level, we can examine positive traits within individuals such as human strengths and virtues. Finally, at the group level, we can examine institutional virtues that enable positive traits within individuals. Institutions refer to stable structures or mechanisms of social order, such as organizations, marriage, or family, which influence the behavior of individuals ...

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