This article articulates how a positive lens contributes to organizational studies by stimulating novel research questions. We illuminate three key mechanisms of a positive lens—resource unlocking, capacity creating, and strength building—that foster flourishing individuals, teams, and organizations. Next, we highlight how three domains of organizational research—resources, learning, and ethics—provide useful examples of how drawing on these three mechanisms illuminates new research directions. In closing, we invite scholars to consider applying a positive lens to their own area of inquiry to bolster understanding of flourishing within and across organizations.
Burnout is a pervasive and alarming issue for physicians-in-training (residents), as well as practicing physicians, with significant consequences for resident well-being, care quality, and patient safety. Efforts to address burnout have emphasized both organization-level factors that create more supportive environments and individual-level factors that enhance physician resilience in the face of challenges. However, residents primarily work in teams – delivering patient care with fellow trainees, faculty and interprofessional colleagues. Team practices and behaviors have been found to impact how individuals experience their work – yet, the relationship of these team-level factors to resident burnout is still largely unknown.
Vicarious learning — individual learning that occurs through being exposed to and making meaning from another’s experience — has long been recognized as a driver of individual, team, and organizational success. Yet existing perspectives on this critical learning process have remained fairly limited, often casting vicarious learning as simply an intrapersonal, one-way process of observation and imitation. Largely absent in prior perspectives is a consideration of the relational dynamics and underlying behaviors by which individuals learn vicariously through interacting with others, rendering these perspectives less useful for understanding learning in the increasingly interconnected work of modern organizations. Integrating theories of experiential learning and symbolic interactionism, I offer a theoretical model of coactive vicarious learning, a relational process of coconstructed, interpersonal learning that occurs through discursive interactions between individuals at work. I explore how these interactions involve the mutual processing of another’s experience; are influenced by characteristics of the individual, relational, and structural context in organizations; and lead to growth not only in individuals’ knowledge but also in their individual and relational capacity for learning and applying knowledge. I close by discussing the implications of this conceptual model for the understanding and practice of vicarious learning in organizations.
There are typically two ways people try to deal with work stress. One is to simply “buckle down and power through”—to focus on getting the stressful work done. Professional workers often have a “bias for action” and want to find a solution quickly. The other common tactic is to retreat—to temporarily disconnect from work and get away from the stressful environment. Unfortunately, both of these approaches have pitfalls. Continuing to work while stressed and fatigue can tax us and lead to worse performance. And while a reprieve from work can offer temporary relief, it doesn’t address the underlying issues causing the stress in the first place. Research suggests a third option might be more effective at helping us manage stress and its effects: focusing on learning. This can mean picking up a new skill, gathering new information, or seeking out intellectual challenges. In two recent research projects, one with employees from a variety of industries and organizations, and the other with medical residents, researchers found evidence that engaging in learning activities can buffer workers from detrimental effects of stress including negative emotions, unethical behavior, and burnout.
In response to technological advances and growing dispersion of surgical practice around the globe, social media platforms have emerged in recent years as channels for surgeons to share experiences, ask questions, and learn from one another. To better understand surgeons’ engagement with these platforms, we analyzed data from a closed-membership Facebook group for robotic surgeons. Our analysis revealed that surgeons posted more frequently on midweek days, and further that text posts received significantly more comments, and significantly fewer “likes,” than posts containing links, photos, or videos. We discuss the implications of these use and engagement patterns for the viability of social media platforms as tools for surgeons to learn vicariously from their peers’ experiences and expertise.
Increasing attention has been paid to the selection of otolaryngology residents, a highly competitive process but one with room for improvement. A recent commentary in this journal recommended that residency programs more thoroughly incorporate theory and evidence from personnel psychology (part of the broader field of organizational science) in the resident selection process. However, the focus of this recommendation was limited to applicants’ cognitive abilities and independent work-oriented traits (eg, conscientiousness). We broaden this perspective to consider critical interpersonal skills and traits that enhance resident effectiveness in interdependent health care organizations and we expand beyond the emphasis on selection to consider how these skills can be honed during residency. We advocate for greater use of standardized team-based care simulations, which can aid in assessing and developing the key interpersonal leadership skills necessary for success as an otolaryngology resident.
Citation Myers, C.G., Kudsi, O.Y., & Ghaferi, A.A. (2017, October). Surgeons are using social media to share and learn new skills. Harvard Business Review, Digital article. https://hbr.org/2017/10/surgeons-are-using-social-media-to-share-and-learn-new-skills
Translated 克里斯托弗·迈尔斯 [Myers], 优素福·库德斯 [Kudsi], 阿米尔·加佛理等 [Ghaferi]. (2017, December). 外科医生利用社交媒体学习新技能. Harvard Business Review China. http://www.hbrchina.org/2017-12-08/5715.html
Translated كريستوفر مايرز [Myers], يوسف قدسي [Kudsi], أمير غافيري [Ghaferi]. (2017, December). الجراحون يستفيدون من وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي لمشاركة وتعلّم مهارات جديدة Harvard Business Review Arabia. https://hbrarabic.
Citation Frimpong, J.A., Myers, C.G., Sutcliffe, K.M., & Lu-Myers, Y. (2017, June). When health care providers look at problems from multiple perspectives, patients benefit. Harvard Business Review, Digital article. https://hbr.org/2017/06/when-health-care-providers-look-at-problems-from-multiple-perspectives-patients-benefit/
Summary Health care providers have vastly different ways of seeing and treating patients, as differences in profession, specialty, experience, or background lead them to pay attention to particular signals or cues, and influence how they approach problems. While diverse perspectives and approaches to care are important, if they are not managed appropriately, they can cause misunderstandings, bias decision-making, and get in the way of the best care.
Citation Myers, C.G. & DeRue, D.S. (2017). Agency in vicarious learning at work. In J.E. Ellingson & R.A. Noe (Eds.), Autonomous Learning in the Workplace, SIOP Organizational Frontiers Series (pp. 15–37). New York, NY: Routledge.
Book Info Autonomous Learning in the Workplace Edited by Jill E. Ellingson & Raymond A. Noe
Citation Myers, C.G. (2016, November). Try asking the person at the next desk. Carey Business, Fall 2016, 6–7.
Revised and Reprinted Myers, C.G. (2018, October). Learning from others in the digital age. Chief Learning Officer, Industry Insights. Download Here
Summary People today have access to more information than at any point in human history. A 2014 report estimated the size of the internet at 1 billion unique websites, and by the end of 2016, global internet traffic is expected to reach 1.