Hello, my name is Suzanne Peterson.
I'm Professor of Management at the W.P.
Carey School of Business at
Arizona State University.
This talk focuses on 'Positive
Organizational Behavior' or simply, POB.
Although the value of positivity at work
is certainly been assumed over the years,
only recently has it become a major
area of focus for theory building,
research, and practice.
Specifically, the talk today will not only
define POB in more specific terms and
differentiate it from other
areas of positivity, but it also
seeks to increase one's appreciation for
the value of positivity at work.
So what is positive
organizational behavior or POB?
Well, the formal definition
is: The study and
application of positively-oriented
human resource strengths and
psychological capacities that
can be measured, developed and
effectively managed for performance
improvement in today's workplace.
Let's translate the formal definition.
As I said, POB refers to a set of
psychological capacities that must meet
some specific criteria.
First, the capacities must be positive,
POB would be concerned with the study
of optimism rather than pessimism, and
would also be concerned with the study
of eustress rather than stress.
Second, the capacities must be theory- and
research-based and validly measurable.
What that means is, all the POB capacities
must have a rich theoretical foundation,
have years of research (empirical and
conceptual) done on them and
have measurement tools
designed to assess them.
These tools must have gone
through validity testing, so
that they can be used in study after study
to be able to measure the POB capacities.
Third, the POB capacities must be
state-like or open to change and
What that means is, instead of being
trait-like or more fixed attributes
that people might be born with or
have developed at an early age.
The POB capacities are psychological
states, meaning they can change.
One day you might feel or
perceive the world one way and
the next day you might feel or
perceive it differently.
That makes them open to change,
training, because they're
not fixed stable attributes.
Finally, the POB capacities
must have performance impact.
From a POB perspective, this study is
only concerned with those capacities
that have the ability to potentially
impact the performance at work.