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date: 13 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, we discuss compassion as experienced and expressed at the organization level of analysis. Shifting to this collective level suggests that the definition of compassion needs to be expanded to include two additional attributes: (1) the active demonstration of compassion through the organization and its members; and (2) actions motivated by inherent virtuousness rather than the acquisition of a reward. The chapter describes empirical studies in organizational settings in which the relationship between virtuousness and desired organizational outcomes is examined. Compassion by itself is seldom a singular predictor of organizational performance, but in combination with other virtues, it has profound effects. The chapter provides a theoretical rationale for why compassion has a significant impact on organizational performance. Three explanatory mechanisms are identified for why compassion predicts effectiveness. The chapter concludes by highlighting some fundamental principles that are needed to expand our understanding of compassion and its effects in organizations.

Keywords: compassion, organizational compassion, virtue, virtuousness, organizational culture, organizational performance, positivity

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