Psychology plays a very important role in organisations today, in particular, positive psychology. It can be noticed across all industries in today’s workplace, from the IT sector to factory work, and it affects all levels in an organisation. Positive psychology can have an enormous impact on organisations. Everything from moral to employee turnover can be drastically affected.
Psychology has been described as the “scientific study of behaviour and mental processes” (Riffio, 2009). It was very heavily criticised when first introduced to the workplace. Workers believed that the use of psychology was not in their best interests. It wasn’t until 3rd August 1948 that The Manchester Guardian reported that the Trades Union Council had begun attempts to eliminate the common perception by employees that the use of psychology was to prevent employers having to pay them higher wages. For years psychology was considered to only affect the productivity of an enterprise. For example, Frederick Taylor was an engineer who believed that efficiency could be improved by the ‘time-and-motion’ procedure, in which a job was broken down into several smaller jobs. Organisations weren’t invested in the wellbeing of their employees. Their only use for psychology was to increase profit. This has changed drastically since 1996, when the soon to be president of the American Psychology Association (APA), Martin Seligman, coined the phrase ‘positive psychology’.
Seligman had very strong beliefs about how the world was misusing psychology; he believed “psychology was half-baked, literally half-baked. We had baked the part about mental illness [...] the other side’s unbaked, the side of strength, the side of what we’re good at” (Seligman, 1999). He was passionate about his view of positive psychology and believed that it would change the lives of many. Workplaces, more than anyone else, began to realise that the positive psyche of individuals would bring great benefit upon both the individuals and their surroundings.
The world started to look at psychology in a new light. Seligman referred to positive psychology as having the aim of “building the best qualities in life” (Seligman, 1996), these qualities include work ethic, communication and many more, which have such a positive impact on organisations. For the first time people’s mental processes were being studied, not because they had a psychological disorder such as depression, but to use “psychological principles to change the behaviour” (Riggio, 2009) of workers in an organisation. Psychology studies mental processes such as learning, attention, creativity, imagination and reasoning, these qualities are all essential to organisations, and with the use of positive psychology these can be enhanced in employees, giving an organisation a strong, thriving work force.
The improvement of creativity and imagination by positive psychology has a great impact on organisations. Employees with these qualities are known as...