Positive Organizational Scholarship

In the last decade, the study and application of positive psychology has grown exponentially. The emerging fields of positive organizational scholarship and positive organizational behavior have connected positive psychology principles to the study of work and organizations.

Positive organizational scholarship is a broad domain of study that explores traits, states, dynamics, perspectives, phenomena, and outcomes that lead to exceptional individual and/or group performance in an organizational context.  Positive organizational scholarship concentrates on particularly positive extraordinary outcomes (positive deviance), processes, and organizational attributes such as excellence, abundance, resilience, virtuousness, and epitomizing the best of the human condition with attention to structures, methods, and capabilities; what motivates phenomena such as altruism; and effects such as vitality, meaning, and exhilaration.

Within positive organizational scholarship, positive organizational behavior constitutes a specific construction of the meaning of the positive in an organizational context.  Positive organizational behavior looks at resources and capacities that can be that can be measured, developed, and managed for performance improvements in the workplace.  Based on the pioneering work of Fred Luthans and others, positive organizational behavior focuses on PsyCap, the four particular positive psychological resources of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism (collectively, HERO) that constitute an individual’s positive psychological state of development and serve as a comprehensive conceptual framework to understand and cultivate human positive psychological resources in organizations and beyond.

Applying the principals of positive organizational scholarship and behavior to organizations can meaningfully expand an understanding of the multifaceted and complex contributors to individual and organizational wellbeing and how to harness and deploy resources to maximize performance.



Cameron, K. S., Dutton, J. E., & Quinn, R. E. (2003). Positive organizational scholarship: foundations of a new discipline (Vol. 49). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Luthans, F., Luthans, B. C., & Luthans, K. W. (2015). Organizational behavior (13th ed.). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Luthans, F., & Youssef, C. M. (2007). Emerging positive organizational behavior. Journal of Management, 33(3), 321-349.

Luthans, F., Youssef-Morgan, C. M., & Avolio, B. J. (2015). Psychological capital and beyond. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.


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