(p. xxiii) Preface
(p. xxiii) Preface
In editing this volume, we have sought to navigate the intersection of four worlds: research and practice, and positive psychology and work. Indeed, each of our personal work histories is, in many ways, an amalgam of the intersection of these four worlds, since each of us has been involved with both academic research and workplace applications over the course of our careers. In 2004, Linley edited the first book about the broad applications of positive psychology, Positive Psychology in Practice (Linley & Joseph, 2004). It says much about the emergence of positive psychology applications to work settings that now we are able to dedicate the 26 chapters of this handbook to the topic, as well as being actively engaged, through our activities at the Centre of Applied Positive Psychology, in both positive psychology research and its applications in organizational life.
Positive psychology offers an organizing principle for how we view both organizations and the people within them. It also informs, therefore, how we go about seeking to engage with these organizations, their processes, their procedures, their policies, their practices. Positive psychology gives us a framework for approaching organizational issues that is focused on discovering the best of what is and creating the conditions that will enable that “best” to flourish. It provides a means of looking at the people in organizations that is grounded in the strengths that enable those people to succeed in what they do, the well-being that they achieve through doing so, and the meaning and fulfilment that gives coherence and direction to their activities along the way. Positive psychology also allows a different perspective on the management and development of people, one which is grounded in looking at their inherent potential for growth and development, their desire to contribute and make a difference, and the realization that when these factors are aligned with an organization's strategy, great things will result.
It is for these reasons that we embarked upon this project. Our desire, our passion, has been to take the potent lessons of positive psychology from the research laboratory and the survey questionnaire, and to implement them in ways that deliver the double-win of improved organizational performance through enhanced individual performance, well-being and fulfillment. The lessons of positive psychology contained within this volume should be in the hands of every CEO, every manager, every practitioner of Human Resources and Organization Development, and every consultant and coach who works to support them. Our mission at the Centre of Applied Positive Psychology is summed up in three words: “Strengthening the World.” If through this volume we are able, even in some small way, to enhance the lives of those millions of people working in organizations, we will have achieved our aim. Can you help us in making work a (p. xxiv) more positive experience for all? We hope that through this volume, we have been able to help you in doing so.
P. Alex Linley
Coventry, UK, January 2009