Department of Management


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 23, iss. 6 (September 2002), pp. 695–706.

doi 10.1002/job.165


Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Used by permission.


This essay draws from the emerging positive psychology movement and the author’s recent articles on the need for and meaning of a positive approach to organizational behavior. Specifically, the argument is made that at this time, the OB field needs a proactive, positive approach emphasizing strengths, rather than continuing in the downward spiral of negativity trying to fix weaknesses. However, to avoid the surface positivity represented by the non-sustainable best-sellers, the case is made for positive organizational behavior (POB) to take advantage of the OB field’s strength of being theory and research driven. Additional criteria for this version of POB are to identify unique, state-like psychological capacities that can not only be validly measured, but also be open to development and performance management. Confidence, hope, and resiliency are offered as meeting such POB inclusion criteria. The overall intent of the essay is to generate some positive thinking and excitement for the OB field and ‘hopefully’ stimulate some new theory building, research, and effective application.