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Positive Work: A Multidimensional Overview and Analysis of Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing


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Scholars are beginning to appreciate the work-related 'drivers' of wellbeing, i.e., the ways work may promote or hinder employees' wellbeing. This paper brings a multidimensional perspective to bear on this topic by providing: (a) a multidimensional overview of these drivers; and (b) a multidimensional analysis of how they actually 'drive' wellbeing. The paper is in two parts. Part 1 briefly summarises the drivers, highlighting key theories and interventions. Part 2 then brings a multidimensional analysis to bear on the drivers, doing so by focusing on one driver in particular ('managing emotions') as a case study. This driver is analysed through the prism of a multidimensional model of the person, the 'Layered Integrated Framework Example' model. It is hoped that, in future, similar analyses can consequently be undertaken for the other drivers. The paper thus offers a generative research agenda for exploring how to enable people to flourish at work.
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Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
Positive work:
A Multidimensional Overview and Analysis of Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
Tim Lomas
International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology. doi: 10.1007/s41042-019-00016-5
Note: This is not the final version in the International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology.
It is not the copy of record
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
Scholars are beginning to appreciate the work-related ‘drivers’ of wellbeing, i.e., the ways
work may promote or hinder employees’ wellbeing. This paper brings a multidimensional
perspective to bear on this topic by providing: (a) a multidimensional overview of these
drivers; and (b) a multidimensional analysis of how they actually ‘drive’ wellbeing. The
paper is in two parts. Part 1 briefly summarises the drivers, highlighting key theories and
interventions. Part 2 then brings a multidimensional analysis to bear on the drivers, doing so
by focusing on one driver in particular (‘managing emotions’) as a case study. This driver is
analysed through the prism of a multidimensional model of the person, the ‘Layered
Integrated Framework Example’ model. It is hoped that, in future, similar analyses can
consequently be undertaken for the other drivers. The paper thus offers a generative research
agenda for exploring how to enable people to flourish at work.
Keywords: engagement, flourishing, wellbeing, positive organisational scholarship, positive
organisational behaviour.
Recent decades have seen an increasing focus on employee wellbeing, as reflected in the
emergence of two new work-related academic paradigms, positive organizational behaviour
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
(Luthans, 2002) and positive organizational scholarship (Cameron, Dutton, & Quinn, 2003).
Although these two overlap considerably, Bakker and Schaufeli (2008) suggest the former is
more ‘organization-driven’ (enhancing employee performance to benefit the organisation),
whereas the latter is more ‘employee-driven’ (enhancing organisational performance for the
benefit of employees). However, it is recognised that these perspectives are not necessarily
oppositional, but can be synergistic, since organisations that value employee wellbeing as a
substantive good may be more likely to thrive themselves (Zwetsloot & Pot, 2004). As such,
there is considerable overlap between the two paradigms; recognising this, we might refer to
both together under the broader label of ‘positive work.’
As a contribution to this notion of postive work, this paper focuses on the work-
related ‘drivers’ of wellbeing, i.e., work-related factors that promote or hinder employee
wellbeing. The paper has two main aims: (a) to provide a brief multidimensional overview of
these drivers; (b) to offer an illustrative multidimensional analysis of the drivers. The paper is
thus in two main parts. Part 1 is the multidimensional overview, reflecting the current state of
the literature. This lays the groundwork for part 2, which shows what a multidimensional
analysis of these drivers might look like doing so by focusing on one driver in particular as
a case study (‘managing emotions’) – thus outlining a future research agenda to further our
understanding of the drivers.
In this process, the paper will strive to articulate a multidimensional appreciation of
what work-related wellbeing actually looks like. In the literature, key constructs that pertain
to work-related wellbeing include job satisfaction (Weiss, 2002) and engagement (Bakker &
Schaufeli, 2008). This paper does lean on these two concepts in its understanding of work-
related wellbeing: an employee who is engaged and satisfied with their work could be
deemed to be experiencing work-related wellbeing. However, the paper also seeks to go
beyond these more ‘psychological’ aspects of wellbeing, to incorporate other dimensions of
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
the person. The key notion in the sentences above, and in this paper as a whole, is that of
multidimensionality. Contemporary scholarship is beginning to increasingly appreciate the
multidimensional nature of wellbeing. This is not a new idea of course: it is evident in the
WHO’s (1948) inclusive definition of health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and
social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. The three dimensions
of health identified by the WHO mental/psychological, physical and social can likewise
be construed as dimensions of wellbeing; for instance, Pollard and Davidson (2001, p.19)
define wellbeing as ‘a state of successful performance across the life course integrating
physical, cognitive and social-emotional function.’ This definition could easily be used as an
expansive definition of work-related wellbeing, for instance by inserting the phrase ‘in work-
related contexts’ in the place of ‘across the life course.’
However, multidimensionality can be taken still further, providing even greater detail
in our understanding of the person and their wellbeing. To this end, this paper explores
wellbeing at work through the prism of a new multidimensional framework known as the
LIFE (Layered Integrated Framework Example) model (Lomas, Hefferon, & Ivtzan, 2014).
In contrast to most other multidimensional models such as the WHO’s – the LIFE model
identifies four main ontological domains of the person. As per the WHO, the model
acknowledges the distinction between subjective ‘mind’ and objective ‘body/brain’ (‘mental’
and ‘physical’ in their terminology). However, the LIFE model also separates the collective
‘social’ dimension into subjective (or ‘intersubjective) and objective (or ‘interobjective’). We
might refer to the former as ‘culture,’ encompassing shared language, meanings, and
worldviews. Convesely, the latter could be labelled ‘society,’ and refers to the material and
structural scaffolding of these networks (e.g., the physical environment, or non-physical
systems such as economic activity).
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
It is worth noting that these dimensions overlap with those of Demerouti, Bakker,
Nachreiner, and Schaufeli’s (2001) influential Job Demands-Resources (J D-R) model, in
which work wellbeing is conceptualised as a function of the trade-off between demands and
resources. In this, resources are defined as ‘physical, psychological, social or organisational
aspects of the job that may do one of the following: (a) be functional in achieving work goals;
(b) reduce job demands and the associated physiological and psychological costs; (c)
stimulate personal growth and development’ (p.501). This definition arguably covers the
same four dimensions of the LIFE model, namely physical [i.e., the body], psychological
[i.e., the mind], social [i.e., culture] or organisational [i.e., society] aspects of the job.’
However, the LIFE model provides further nuance to our multidimensional understanding of
the person, and of their wellbeing, by stratifying the four dimensions into five layers/levels,
as depicted in figure 1 below.
[insert figure 1 about here]
With its stratified layers, the LIFE model permits a more detailed multidimensional analysis
than is offered by the J D-R model (though this is not a critique of the latter; the LIFE model
could simply be regarded as a complexification of this already successful model). In the LIFE
model, the mind is differentiated into embodied sensations, emotions, cognitions, conscious
awareness, and ‘awareness+’ (advanced states of consciousness). The body is deconstructed
into biochemistry, neurons, neural networks, the nervous system, and the body as a whole.
Finally, culture and society are both stratified using Bronfenbrenner’s (1977) ecological
systems theory, plus an additional outer layer reflecting the global biosphere, as follows:
microsystems, mesosystems, exosystems, macrosystems, and ecosystems. Collectively, the
model offers a meta-theoretical ‘map’ of the person, and of their wellbeing. Each of the levels
within each dimension encompasses the various ‘aspects’ of wellbeing, from the subjective
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
(e.g., positive affect) to the objective (e.g., neurotransmitter levels) to the intersubjective (e.g.
interpersonal trust) to the interobjective (e.g., network ties). This model can then be used to
understand how work impacts upon wellbeing. Indeed, in part 2 of this paper, this model is
presented as the basis for a future research agenda into the work-related drivers of wellbeing,
exploring how these drivers impact upon the various dimensions and levels of the model,
thereby ‘driving’ wellbeing. First though, we need to identify what the drivers are. As such,
part 1 of the paper provides a brief overview of these drivers, drawing on current literature.
A Multidimensional Overview of the Drivers of Wellbeing
In order to identify the potential drivers of wellbeing, I consulted five taxonomies that are
prominent in the literature. Firstly, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) (1999)
Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program, which rates good practice according to five
categories: health and safety; work-life balance; employee involvement; employee
development; and employee recognition. Secondly, Levering’s (1988) influential Great Place
to Work initiative, which assesses workplaces on: camaraderie; respect; credibility; fairness;
and pride. Thirdly, Rego and Cunha’s (2008) criteria for ‘authentizotic’ organisations:
camaraderie; trust in/of the leader; open communication; opportunities for personal
development; fairness; and work-life balance. Fourth, Crabb’s (2011) analysis of the drivers
of engagement, featuring three ‘individual’ drivers (focusing strengths; managing emotions;
and aligning purpose) and four ‘organizational’ drivers (transparent leadership; employee
‘voice’; organisational integrity; and reward and recognition). And finally, Sauter, Murphy,
and Hurrell’s (1990) six categories of resources/stressors: workload and work pace; role
stressors; career concerns; scheduling; interpersonal relationships; and job content and
control. I sought to: (a) identity commonalities among these criteria; and (b) align these with
the dimensions of the LIFE model. It seemed reasonable to group the components of these
taxonomies into 11 distinct drivers, 4 pertaining to the psychological dimension, 3 to the
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
physical dimension, and 4 to the collective dimension (the social and cultural dimensions
amalgamated together). These 11 drivers are briefly elucidated in the three sections below.
Psychological Drivers of Wellbeing
Four main psychological drivers were identified across the taxonomies above: focusing
strengths; managing emotions; aligning purpose; and personal and professional development.
Focusing strengths, identified by Crabb (2011), draws on the concept of ‘character strengths,’
pioneered by Peterson and Seligman (2004). In a work context, the basic premise is that work
engagement is enhanced to the extent that people are able to deploy and cultivate their
‘signature’ strengths (i.e., those they excel at). Managing emotions, also identified by Crabb,
encompasses concepts such as emotional intelligence (Salovey & Mayer, 1990), emotion
regulation (Gross, 1999), and self-regulation (Baumeister & Vohs, 2003), as well as more
specific qualities like resilience (Reivich, Seligman, & McBride, 2011). The key point here is
that work-related wellbeing to the extent that employees are able to skilfully regulate their
emotions (Nelis, Quoidbach, Mikolajczak, & Hansenne, 2009). Thirdly, aligning purpose,
again in Crabb’s taxonomy, refers to the importance of work being appraised as personally
meaningful, such that it ‘aligns’ with one’s own values/priorities. Finally, a fourth driver,
personal and professional development, is introduced here as an amalgamation of the APA’s
(1999) notion of employee development, Rego and Cunha’s (2008) criteria of opportunities
for personal development, and Sauter et al. ‘s (1990) category of career concerns. These four
drivers are outlined in table 1 below, together with key theories associated with that driver,
and a range of indicative interventions designed to promote that driver in work settings. The
theories used to illustrate this driver (and indeed the other drivers) were selected on the basis
of prominence, being those that appeared to feature heavily in the literature consulted. The
interventions were selected on the basis of being either prominent or otherwise particularly
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
interesting or representative of the given driver, thus providing a sense of the possibilities in
that area.
[insert table 1 about here]
Physical Drivers of Wellbeing
Three main physical drivers were identified across the taxonomies: health and safety;
workload and scheduling; and job content and control. Health and safety, taken from the APA
(1999), is not only physically important annually there are an estimated 2 million work-
related deaths worldwide (WHO, 2008) but emotionally too, being a major risk factor for
burnout (Nahrgang, Morgeson, & Hofmann, 2011). The second main driver is labelled
‘workload and scheduling,’ an overarching category relating to the physical demands of
work. This encompasses work-life balance (identified by the APA, and Rego and Cunha,
2008), together with Sauter et al.’s (1990) two categories of workload and work pace and
scheduling. Concepts like work-life balance are not simply physical issues of course, but
complex psychosocial ones; nevertheless, arguably work-life balance is fundamentally about
the physical demands of work i.e., how many hours it consumes and so has been included
here as a physical driver. Other scholars might prefer to categorise it as a socio-cultural
driver, which would also be a reasonable way of arranging this overarching taxonomy.
Finally, the third driver is job content and control, also identified by Sauter et al. Again, some
might regard this more as a psychosocial driver (e.g., as it involves factors like subjective
perception of control). However, it is included here as a physical driver as it essentially
covers what employees are required to do with their body/brain, i.e., the physical and
neurophysiological demands of labour. These three drivers are outlined in table 2 below,
again with key theories associated with that driver, and indicative strategies designed to
promote that driver in occupational settings.
[insert table 2 about here]
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
Socio-Cultural Drivers of Wellbeing
Finally, we come to the collective dimensions of the LIFE model: culture and society. These
two dimensions are grouped together here, since the same drivers tend to be operative across
both domains, manifesting with both an intersubective ‘cultural’ aspect and an interobjective
‘societal’ aspect. For instance, recognition and reward has both intersubjective features (e.g.,
respect from colleagues and leaders) and interobjective features (e.g., monetary recompense).
Four socio-cultural drivers were identified: relationships; leadership; values; and reward and
recognition. Together these create the ‘psychological climate’ of an organisation (Parker et
al., 2003). The first driver, relationships, encompasses two of Levering’s (1988) criteria
(camaraderie and respect), two of Rego and Cunha’s (2008) (camaraderie and open
communication), and Sauter et al.’s (1990) category of interpersonal relationships. The
second driver is leadership, which includes Crabb’s (2011) ‘organizational’ driver of
transparent leadership, Rego and Cunha’s criteria of trust in/of the leader, and the APA’s
(1999) notion of employee involvement. The third driver is values, derived from Crabb’s
taxonomy; however, while Crabb labelled this as ‘organisational integrity,’ it was felt here
that values was a more overarching label, reflecting Peterson and Park (2006, p.1152) notion
of organisational-level virtues.’ Finally, reward and reconition was identified as an
organisational level driver by Crabb; here it is used to also encompass Crabb’s idea of
employee voice, the APA’s notion of employee recognition, Levering’s criteria of fairness
and pride, and Rego and Cunha’s category of fairness. These four drivers are outlined in table
3 below, again with key theories associated with that driver, and indicative strategies
designed to promote that driver in occupational settings.
[insert table 3 about here]
A Multidimensional Analysis Managing Emotions as a Case Study
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
Having provided a brief overview of the work-related drivers of wellbeing, in this second
part, I would like to illustrate what a multidimensional analysis of these drivers might look
like. This illustration could then serve as the basis of a future research agenda into the drivers.
In turn, such research could help inform the promotion of wellbeing in occupational contexts,
which is increasingly recognised as an important policy goal (Daniels, Karanika-Murray,
Mellor, & van Veldhoven, 2012), as considered further below. Specifically, the stratified
layers of the LIFE model can be used to investigate the drivers in some depth (in a more fine-
grained way than is permitted by non-stratified multidimensional frameworks such as
Demerouti et al.’s (2001) J D-R model). The essential premise of this research agenda is that
each of the drivers, while being primarily situated in one of the dimensions of the LIFE
model, will also impact upon, and be impacted by, all the dimensions and levels of the model.
That is, it is envisaged that every driver would manifest at all these dimensions and levels,
each of which accounts for an aspect of the way the driver affects wellbeing.
Take for example the driver ‘managing emotions.’ While evidently ‘about’ emotions,
it does not only concern emotions. It will have manifestations at multiple levels of the mind,
with embodied, affective, cognitive, conscious, and even spiritual components. Moreover, as
per the ‘neural correlates of consciousness’ paradigm (Fell, 2004), this driver will also
supervene upon multiple levels of the body/brain, i.e., it depends upon complex physiological
substrates, from biochemical processes to the nervous system as a whole. Furthermore, it will
affect, and be affected by, socio-cultural processes at all levels of scale, from microsystems to
macrosystems. An analysis along these lines will enable us to explore exactly how these
drivers affect wellbeing, asking questions like: (a) what are the causal mechanisms by which
they enhance wellbeing; (b) what conditions enhance or impede their effectiveness; (c) how
can workplaces, and applied interventions, best be designed to promote these drivers; and (d)
are such initiatives/interventions cost-effective?
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
This second part then illustrates how this kind of analysis might work. It is beyond the
scope of this paper to do this for all the drivers. Instead, I will just use one of the drivers
managing emotions (ME) as a case study to show what such analyses might reveal. Future
work could then undertake similar analyses for all the other drivers. Before setting out, it is
worth mentioning that particular attention will be paid here to research and interventions
pertaining to mindfulness. Mindfulness is a label given to both a meditative practice designed
to train attention and awareness, and to the state that such practice is intended to inculcate,
defined as ‘the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose, in the present
moment, and nonjudgementally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment’ (Kabat-
Zinn, 2003, p.145). Mindful awareness is not only strongly linked to the development of
emotional management capacities, but is seen as a fundamental component of these capacities
(Chambers, Gullone, & Allen, 2009). However, the more specific reason for the focus on
mindfulness here is that it is one of the most extensively tested interventions of its type,
featuring analyses across numerous levels of the LIFE model. As such, it is a forerunner for
the type of detailed multidimensional analysis that might in future be applied to other
interventions (across all drivers). So, with that in mind, we’ll proceed through the dimensions
and levels of the LIFE model, exploring the way ME has been analysed in an occupational
context thus far, and making recommendations for future research. As per part 1, we shall
look in turn at the psychological, physical, and socio-cultural dimensions.
The Psychological Dimension
In the LIFE model, the psychological dimension is stratified into five layers: embodiment,
emotion, cognition, consciousness, and awareness+. These are listed in table 4 below, which
includes examples of existing work pertaining to each level, together with suggestions for
future research. The levels shall be considered in turn.
[insert table 4 about here]
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
We begin with embodiment, the ‘subjectivity of the lived body’ (Turner, 2001, p.253). As
with all the levels here, we shall be exploring what relevance this has to ME, the wellbeing
driver we are focusing on here. In particular, we are interested in why and how ME ‘drives’
wellbeing, and whether this is partly related to processes at this specific level. And, it does
appear that one of the ways ME enhances wellbeing is through its impact upon embodiment
processes, such as body awareness: for instance, research suggests that emotional awareness
techniques like mindfulness can enhance body awareness (Silverstein, Brown, Roth, &
Britton, 2011), and that such awareness in turn is associated with subjective wellbeing (Brani,
Hefferon, Lomas, Ivtzan, & Painter, 2014). Beyond any generalised benefits body awareness
may have for wellbeing, it also has specific relevance to the workplace: e.g., embodied
awareness training is a component of self-management programmes that can help adults with
chronic pain return to work sooner and function more adaptively in the workplace (Shaw et
al., 2012). Beyond the benefits to such adults themselves, given the economic burden of
chronic pain a systematic review by Patel et al. (2012) found it diminished workplace
productivity by up to 51% interventions to redress chronic pain can therefore be cost-
effective (Loisel et al., 2002). (As discussed further below, a key task in relation to employee
wellbeing is convincing organisations that the implementation of wellbeing interventions is
worth it to them.) On a more general point, one can see how ME intersects with the other
drivers of wellbeing, such as health and safety. Such considerations will be a common thread
here, as part of the value of the LIFE model lies in showing how the drivers themselves
impact upon each other.
The relevance of this level to ME barely needs spelling out, as this driver is essentially of this
level. Nevertheless, it is still worth highlighting the importance of employees be able to
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
manage their emotions. Resilience, for example, is an important buffer of work-related stress,
reducing the risk of burnout (Jackson, Firtko, & Edenborough, 2007). Moreover, we are
seeing the emergence of interventions and initiatives to help inculcate resilience among
employees. Reivich et al.’s (2011) ‘Master Resilience Training’ (MRT) programme has been
widely implemented in the U.S. military as part of its more general ‘Ready and Resilient’
initiative with promising results, e.g., as a protective factor against mental health issues
(Elbogen et al., 2014). With the increasing prevalence of such programmes and an
emergent consensus around their usefulness (Robertson, Cooper, Sarkar, & Curran, 2015)
research is beginning to focus on cost-effectiveness, as led by organisations like the Work
Foundation (2015). Similarly, there are increasingly calls from bodies, such as the CIPD
(2011b), for organisations to promote resiliency among their workforce. This latter point
highlights an important consideration about the way different levels of the LIFE model
intersect: policy-driven organisational provision of initiatives like resilience training reflects
the impact of socio-cultural processes (at a micro-, meso-, exo- and macrosystem level), as
discussed further in the third section below. This point likewise highlights the way the drivers
themselves intersect, since the instantiation of such interventions depends on socio-cultural
drivers such as values (i.e., an organisation-level concern with the welfare of its employees)
and leadership (i.e., leaders who are committed to upholding these values).
Cognition encompasses cognitive processes (e.g., memory) and discursive ‘cognitions’ (e.g.,
thoughts). This level is closely intertwined with ME: indeed, emotions and cognitions exert a
bi-directional influence over each other. On one hand, discursive patterns influence emotions.
For example, Reivich et al.’s (2011) MRT is based in part on Beck, Rush, Shaw, and Emery’s
(1979) cognitive theory of mental disorder, particularly on the ‘ABC’ model of explanatory
styles, in which the potential for an adverse Activating event to have negative emotional
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
Consequences is a function of a person’s Beliefs about that event. Thus emotional
management can involve people ‘working with’ their cognitions. Similarly, discursive
feedback (e.g., of job performance) in occupational settings can assist employees in their
‘emotional labour,’ which in turn affects wellbeing (Holman, Chissick, & Totterdell, 2002).
From the other direction, ME can impact upon cognitions. Job satisfaction a construct
which incorporates cognitive components, such as beliefs about work, and evaulative
judgements (Weiss, 2002) can be enhanced through emotional management skills, such as
the ability to amplify pleasant emotions (Côté & Morgan, 2002). There is also work on the
association between emotion management and cognitive processes like memory: illustrating a
‘limited resource’ model of executive control, Schmeichel (2007) found that the effortful
regulation of emotion adversely affected other cognitive processes. Such research reminds us
that the drivers of wellbeing may not be uniformly positive in their effects. Analyses of such
complexities is of course an important part of any future research agenda.
In the LIFE model, consciousness essentially refers to conscious awareness, a key component
of ME. In Salovey and Mayer’s (1990) hierarchical EI model, emotional awareness is the
foundational level (followed by generation, understanding, and management). It is likewise
integral to Gross’s (1999) concept of emotion regulation (Barrett, Gross, Christensen, &
Benvenuto, 2001). Given the importance of awareness, and also the recognition that it can be
trained, there is increasing attention on initiatives to foster awareness in the workplace. Much
of this has focused on mindfulness, arguably the exemplar intervention in this respect. A
meta-analysis of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) in the workplace found it to be
effective at reducing employee distress (Virgili, 2015). Similarly, Good et al. (2015) found
MBIs to be positively associated with the other drivers of wellbeing, like good working
relationships, as well as overall job performance. Such is the burgeoning recognition of the
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
value of mindfulness that its use is being increasingly advocated at a policy level, not only by
individual companies (i.e., at a microsystem level), but by broader exosystem organisations
like the NHS (2015), and even at a macro-systemic governmental level. With the latter, a
landmark report entitled ‘Mindful Nation’ was recently published by the Mindfulness All-
Party Parliamentary Group (2015). It made policy recommendations in four key areas (health,
education, criminal justice, and work). Regarding work, its recommendations were: (a) the
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills work with employers to promote the use of
mindfulness; (b) the What Works Centre for Wellbeing to commission, as a priority, high
quality research into mindfulness in the workplace; (c) government departments to encourage
the use of MBIs in the public sector; and (d) the National Institute of Health Research to
invite bids on mindfulness as an occupational health intervention. This kind of policy-level
advocacy will be discussed further below.
Finally, awareness+ is a catch-all term encompassing the nebulous idea of ‘higher’ states of
mind (i.e., that are ‘qualitatively different’ from normal waking consciousness). These range
from states of absorption, to more esoteric psychospiritual experiences, like non-dual
awareness (in which the standard subject-object dichotomy is transcended). In terms of ME,
one might perhaps regard these states of mind as the ‘strongest’ product of advanced emotion
regulation skills; e.g., non-dual awareness is generally regarded as a product of years of
intensive meditation practice (Josipovic, 2010). Awareness+ also includes emotionally
charged spiritual experiences which can be the result of emotionally-focused practices such
as prayer. There has been relatively little enquiry into these kinds of elevated experiences in
occupational settings. One exception is Csikszentmihalyi’s (1990) relatively mild concept of
flow, a state of being ‘in the zone’ that arises when a person’s attention is captivated by a
challenging task, which has been linked to work engagement (Reid, 2011). Another emergent
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
line of enquiry is the role of spiritual practices (e.g., prayer) in the helping professions, like
nursing (Koenig, 2013), which some professionals find to be a helpful coping resource
(Grant, 2004). It will be interesting to see further research into these more elevated states.
The Physical Dimension
The physical dimension is stratified into five emergent layers: biochemistry, neurons, neural
networks, nervous system, and the body as a whole. These are listed in table 5 below, which
includes examples of existing work pertaining to each level, together with suggestions for
future research. The levels shall be introduced in turn (with neurons and neural networks
considered together).
[insert table 5 about here]
In the LIFE model, the foundational level is biochemistry, a catch-all term for all subcellular
physiological processes. This would include, for instance, biomarkers of wellbeing, from
cortisol to serotonin. Analyses of such biomarkers can provide useful information regarding
the physiological causal mechanisms through which the drivers of wellbeing exert a positive
impact. (We must be careful with the word ‘causal’ though. In charting the relationship
between mental states (e.g., subjective wellbeing) and brain states (e.g., serotonin), the
dominant paradigm in this area the ‘neural correlates of consciousness’ approach (Fell,
2004) cautions against assigning directional causality. That is, it may be a category error to
assert that brain states cause mental states; it is possibly more accurate to say that a mental
state of stress is caused by a psychosocial stressor, and that neurophysiological brain states
are the mechanism through which such change is effected and manifested.) In the work arena,
biochemical analyses include research into the impact of work factors on biomarkers like
cortisol. For instance, Schulz, Kirschbaum, Prüßner, and Hellhammer (1998) found elevated
post-awakening cortisol in participants who were chronically stressed due to overwork (thus
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
showing the impact of the physical driver of workload and scheduling). We are starting to
work focusing specifically on ME: examining elite athletes, Laborde et al. (2014) found that
trait EI predicted cortisol levels. Similarly, from an applied perspective, there are emergent
studies exploring the biochemical impact of interventions like mindfulness: Malarkey et al.
(2013) developed a ‘low dose’ MBI for use in occupational settings, which appeared to lower
cortisol levels in a clinically significant way (although the researchers urge further work to
clarify this effect).
Neurons and neural networks
In the LIFE model, neurons and neural networks constitute separate conceptual levels, being
at different levels of scale; however, since most mental operations arise from the dynamic
interaction of neural populations across different brain areas, it makes sense to consider them
together here. The field of ‘affective neuroscience’ (Davidson, 2003) is beginning to make
strides in understanding the neurophysiological substrates of emotion, including the ‘neural
correlates of wellbeing’ (Urry et al., 2004). This is exemplified by the use of technologies
like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to connect the activation of particular
brain regions to mental processes that are relevant in wellbeing. For instance, the type of
executive cognitive control that is associated with emotional management has been linked to
activation of the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex (Newberg & Iversen, 2003).
Such research is beginning to be conducted in occupational settings, including in relation to
ME. In an RCT of an MBI delivered to employees, Davidson et al. (2003) found a significant
pre-post increase in relative left-sided hemispheric activation a pattern associated with
wellbeing in the experimental group (while the intervention also appeared to positively
affect immune function). More recently, Haase et al. (2015) explored the impact of
mindfulness training on neural processing in elite athletes, linking this to outcomes such as
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
increased activation of the anterior cingulate cortex (a brain region implicated in executive
attention). Such research is in its infancy, and is an exciting area for future studies to explore.
Nervous system
Moving up to the more encompassing level of the nervous system, investigation of outcomes
associated with this has long been a feature of occupational research. Indeed, over 100 years
ago, Hayhurst (1915) explored the impact of occupational strain on outcomes like cardiac
functioning. Today there are a wealth of studies analysing nervous system outcomes,
particularly in relation to the physical drivers of wellbeing, such as the association between
job control and blood pressure (McCarthy, Perry, & Greiner, 2014), or between shift-work
exposure (an aspect of workload and scheduling) and heart-rate variability (a biomarker of
physical and mental health) (Bernardes Souza et al., 2014). There is an emergent literature on
the impact of ME on such outcomes, indicating that action at this level is one of the ways that
ME ‘drives’ wellbeing. For instance, Appleton et al. (2014) found that emotion regulation
strategies were differentially associated with cardiovascular disease risk reappraisal
strategies had a 5.9% lower risk, and suppression a 10% higher risk suggesting that
effective emotion regulation may promote cardiovascular health. These kinds of analyses are
beginning to be conducted in work settings. An RCT by McCraty et al. (2003) found that a
work-based stress management programme featuring emotional restructuring/refocusing
techniques lowered systolic blood pressure in a hypertensive experimental group, a
reduction which also correlated with reduced stress symptoms.
The body
The final level here is the body ‘as a whole,’ encompassing all aspects of physical function
(that aren’t specifically accounted for by the preceding layers). This would include research
on work-related health generally. The literature is replete with analyses of the impact of
occupational factors on health, like the effect of health and safety factors on issues like
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
musculoskeletal functioning (Daltroy et al., 1997) and morbidity and mortality (WHO, 2008).
Of particular relevance here, from the perspective of our case study, are indications that ME
can positively affect physical health. Analysing Belgian adults, Mikolajczak (2014) reports
that EI was a significant predictor of numerous health indicators (from smoking to healthcare
use), over and above more conventional health predictors like social support. We are
consequently beginning to see research on the health impact of ME undertaken in work-
related settings. For instance, examining hospital managers in Greece, Gourzoulidis et al.
(2014) found that EI was associated with health-related quality of life. Explanations for the
positive impact of ME on health range from the notion that EI enables people to deal with
work-related stress more efficiently (as Karimi, Cheng, Bartram, Leggat, and Sarkeshik
(2015) found with Australian nurses), to the idea that EI means people are less likely to take
health risks (as Lana et al. (2015) found with Spanish nursing students). It is thus increasingly
recognised at a policy level that emotion management interventions can play an important
role in public health, including in the workplace (Hahn & Truman, 2015).
The Socio-Cultural Dimensions
Finally, we turn to the socio-cultural dimensions of the LIFE model. These are both stratified
into five emergent layers: microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem and
ecosystem. These are listed in table 6 below, which includes examples of existing work
pertaining to each level, together with suggestions for future research. The levels will be
considered in turn.
[insert table 6 about here]
The notion of the microsystem is taken from Bronfenbrenner (1977), as are the mesosystem,
exosystem and macrosystem. Essentially, the microsystem is the immediate social context of
the person, which in occupational terms would be their workplace and/or the organisation
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
they work for. In terms of ME, this has a bidirectional relationship with the microsystem; we
can thus explore the impact of ME on the microsystem, and vice versa. With the former, there
is a growing literature on the positive impact of ME on the intersubjective culture of the
microsystem; essentially, this work suggests that the development of emotional management
capacities has a positive impact on workplace relationships (one of the socio-cultural drivers
of wellbeing). For instance, an RCT of a meditation-based intervention to cultivate ‘loving-
kindness improved relationships among colleagues (Fredrickson et al., 2008). Conversely,
we can also consider the impact of the microsystem on ME. Here we find that the socio-
cultural drivers of wellbeing particularly values and leadership are important factors in
the extent to which employees are empowered to manage their emotions. For instance, as
helpful as emotional management interventions are, these are unlikely to be instantiated in the
first place unless employee wellbeing is valued by the organisation and its leaders. It is for
this reason that policy-makers recognise the importance of convincing leaders of the merits of
such initiatives as recognised in the recent Mindful Nation (2015) report so that these can
be implemented systemically at a micosystem level. (In turn, advocates of practices like
mindfulness appreciate the importance of first convincing the policy-makers, so that they are
motivated to exert their macrosystemic influence on business in the first place.)
The mesosystem refers to the interaction between microsystems. In a work context, this could
be construed in various ways. In an organisation, the relationship between different teams or
departments is a mesosystemic phenomenon, as is the interaction between the organisation
itself and other organisations. The relationship between a person’s work and home life –
captured in the notion of ‘work-life balance,’ part of the ‘workload and scheduling’ driver –
is also a mesosystemic process. In terms of ME, as with the microsystem, we can firstly
consider its impact on these mesosystemic processes. There are indications that EI skills can
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
mitigate mesosystemic conflict, such as work-life issues (Lenaghan et al., 2007), and
facilitate mesosystemic bonding, such as between different teams/departments within an
organisation (Ajay & Akhilesh, 2007). Conversely, from a top-down direction, mesosystemic
processes impact on ME. Mesosystemic conflicts, such as work-life issues, are a source of
stress, adversely affecting people’s ability to manage their emotions (Hobson, Delunas, &
Kesic, 2001). For this reason, Hobson et al. argue for corporate initiatives to help deal with
work-life conflict. Indeed, the importance of such initiatives has been recognised at a
macrosystemic level by the UK government, which launched a consultation on flexible
working rights in 2011, concluding that it generally enhanced outcomes such as productivity
and retention (Smeaton, Ray, & Knight, 2014). In terms of persuading organisations to invest
in such projects, this is helped by case studies of corporations like IBM, which have shown
that flexible working arrangements (e.g., telecommuting) have saved them millions of
dollars, due to factors such as enhanced retention (the CIPD (2011a) estimate the average
turnover cost per employee is £8,200) to reduced energy costs (Caldow, 2009).
The exosystem refers to the wider ‘social structures’ that ‘impinge upon or encompass’ the
microsystems (Bronfenbrenner, 1977, p.515). In an occupational context, we might regard
this as the broader organisation that encompasses any microsystemic workplace. In terms of
ME, the dynamics are somewhat different to that of the microsystem and mesosystem: the
exosystem is more structural and diffuse; it is therefore harder for employees’ emotional
management skills to impact directly upon the system. We can of course still analyse the
impact of emotion management at an exosystem level. For instance, as noted above, the
Mindful Nation (2015) report recommended that public bodies such as the NHS implement
mindfulness training for their employees, and also advocated the implementation of large
scale research trials. It would be conceivable and indeed desirable to combine these two
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
recommendations. The NHS could enact an extensive yet selective implementation of MBIs
among its workforce, such that only certain regions or trusts implemented it at first, with the
remainder serving as ‘wait-list’ controls. It would then be possible to examine the impact of
mindfulness training on a panoply of outcomes, from occupational health to job performance.
Such initiatives would also highlight the impact of exosystemic processes on ME, since the
very implementation of mindfulness training would be being driven at an exosystem level.
Indeed, these types of exosystemic wellbeing initiatives are increasingly common; for
instance, following the publication of the ‘Healthy Staff’ policy paper by the Department of
Health (2011), the NHS has been working towards engendering better staff wellbeing,
including through mindfulness (e.g., Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, 2015).
The macrosystem refers to overarching processes ‘economic, social, educational, legal, and
political systems’ (Bronfenbrenner, 1977, p.515) that influence the three preceding levels.
Indeed, as has been intimated throughout, this level exerts a powerful top-down effect on the
drivers of wellbeing generally, and ME in particular. For instance, as seen above with the
exosystem, efforts by bodies like the NHS to implement systemic wellbeing programmes for
staff have been partly driven by policy initiative such as the Department of Health’s (2011)
‘Healthy Staff’ policy paper. Indeed, this policy paper reflects a wider UK concern at a
political level with a wellbeing-driven policy agenda. This is reflected in various initiatives,
such as the creation of a National Wellbeing Index, involving data on subjective wellbeing
gathered by the ONS (2011) as part of its Integrated Household Survey, with the stated
intention that this index would help guide governmental decisions (Bache & Reardon, 2013).
Since then, a raft of other macrosystemic initiatives have likewise emerged to help deliver
evidence-driven policy pertaining to wellbeing. For instance, as part of the UK government’s
‘What Works’ network, Public Health England helped to establish a ‘What Works Centre for
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
Wellbeing in 2014 cited above in relation to the Mindful Nation report with a remit to
commission research into the impact of interventions and services upon wellbeing. This
includes a ‘Work, Learning and Wellbeing’ programme aimed at workers, adult learners and
job seekers. This kind of initiative can help drive forward the type of research outlined above,
exploring the ways ME impacts on wellbeing (and indeed analysing the impact of all the
drivers). Moreover, given the need for policy to be evidence-driven, such initiatives do not
only serve an important analytic role, but are themselves a key force behind the provision of
wellbeing interventions. This reinforces the point that the drivers are influenced by processes
occurring at all levels of the LIFE model.
To finish, it is worth briefly touching upon the ecosystem, i.e., the global biosphere that
encompasses even macrosystemic processes. This level is included in the LIFE model
because not only do environmental factors (e.g., pollution levels) influence wellbeing, but in
an existential sense, human wellbeing is ultimately dependent upon planetary wellbeing
(Smith, Case, Smith, Harwell, & Summers, 2013). While it might appear that this level has
little relevance to ME in a work context, there are relevant considerations and analyses. For
instance, in terms of the impact of humans on the environment, one of the biggest factors is
the behaviour of corporations (e.g., polluting behaviours by industrial manufacturers). One
might conceivably explore the impact of emotion management training on environmental
awareness and pro-environmental behaviour; indeed, practices like mindfulness have been
associated with just these types of outcomes (Jacob et al., 2009). As humanity begins to come
to terms with the challenges posed by climate change, these types of considerations will be
increasingly important.
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
This paper has sought to bring a multidimensional perspective to bear on the work-related
drivers of wellbeing. It had two main aims: (a) to provide a multidimensional overview of the
drivers; (b) and to illustrate how we could analyse these drivers in a multidimensional way.
The first part of the paper provided the overview. After consulting prominent taxonomies, 11
drivers were identified, which were aggregated into three broad categories: psychological
drivers (deploying strengths, managing emotions, aligning purpose, and personal and
professional development), physical drivers (health and safety, work load and scheduling, and
job content and control), and socio-cultural drivers (relationships, leadership, values, and
reward and recognition). Part 2 then sought to show what a multidimensional analysis of
these drivers might look like. It did this by focusing on one particular driver managing
emotions as a case study. It analysed this through the prism of the LIFE model, which
identifies four dimensions to the person, with each dimension stratified into five layers. Thus
managing emotions was examined in terms of how it impacts upon, and is impacted by, the
psychological dimension (comprising embodiment, emotions, cognitions, consciousness, and
awareness+), the physical dimension (comprising biochemistry, neurons, neural networks, the
nervous system, and the body as a whole), and the socio-cultural dimensions (aggregated
together, comprising micro-, meso-, exo-, macro-, and ecosystems). Consequently, the paper
offers a generative future research agenda in which this type of analysis might be applied to
all the other drivers thereby allowing us to further understand the work-related drivers of
wellbeing, and helping people to flourish at work.
This paper is novel in that it not only identifies the ‘drivers’ of wellbeing at work, but
presents an innovative multidimensional meta-theoretical framework for understanding how
these drivers might actually ‘drive’ wellbeing. Its policy implications include facilitating an
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
overarching multidimensional strategy for promoting wellbeing in the workplace, leading to
policy recommendations at multiple levels of scale, from micro to macro.
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Figure 1: The Layered Integrated Framework Example (LIFE) model
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Table 1: Psychological drivers of wellbeing indicative theories and interventions
Values-In-Action (Peterson & Seligman,
Realise2 (Linley, Woolston, & Biswas-
Diener, 2009).
Strengths-Finder (Rath, 2007).
Working for wellness program (Page & Vella-
Brodrick, 2013).
Strengths-based coaching (Coetzer, Redmond,
& Bastian, 2014).
Signature-strengths intervention programme
(Forest et al., 2012).
Role-shaping, complimentary partnering, and
strengths-based teamwork (Linley et al., 2009).
Emotional intelligence (Salovey & Mayer,
Emotion regulation (Gross, 1999).
Self-regulation (Baumeister & Vohs, 2003).
Resilience (Reivich et al., 2011).
PsyCap (Luthans et al., 2007).
Mindfulness (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).
Emotional Intelligence training (Nelis et al.,
PsyCap training (Luthans, Avey, Avolio, &
Peterson, 2010).
Master Resilience Training (Reivich et al.,
Mindfulness-based interventions (Kabat-Zinn,
Meaning in work (Steger, Dik, & Duffy,
Work-related values (Persson, Erlandsson,
Eklund, & Iwarsson, 2001).
Work orientations (Bellah, Madsen,
Sullivan, Swidler, & Tipton, 1996).
Work identities (Dutton, Roberts, & Bednar,
Career counselling (Dik, Duffy, & Eldridge,
Job crafting (Wrzesniewski, 2003).
Meaning-centred interventions (Fillion et al.,
Career education interventions (Bryan J. Dik,
Steger, Gibson, & Peisner, 2011).
Personal and
Career development (Super, 1990).
Ego development (Cook-Greuter, 2000).
Cognitive development (Rogoff, 1990).
Moral development (Kohlberg, 1981).
Psychological wellbeing (Ryff, 1989).
Work-based self-determination intervention
(Deci, Connell, & Ryan, 1989).
Continuous improvement programmes
(Schroeder & Robinson, 2002).
Vocational interventions (Giordano, 1995).
Skills training, e.g., writing (Kellogg, 2008).
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
Table 2: Physical drivers of wellbeing indicative theories and interventions
Health and
Work safety (Hayes, Perander, Smecko, &
Trask, 1998).
Muskuloskeletal disorders (Kennedy et al.,
Air quality (Satish et al., 2012).
Thermal comfort (Ormandy & Ezratty,
Noise levels (Basner et al., 2014).
Educational training (Daltroy et al., 1997).
Exercise/stretching programmes (da Costa &
Vieira, 2008).
Ergonomic design (Brewer et al., 2006).
Safety-based supervisory monitoring (Zohar
& Luria, 2003).
Safety Management by Walking Around
(Luria & Morag, 2012).
Occupational fatigue (Winwood, Winefield,
Dawson, & Lushington, 2005).
Shift rotation (Tucker, Macdonald, Folkard,
& Smith, 1998).
Recovery strategies, e.g., psychological
detachment from work (Moreno-Jiménez et
al., 2009).
Regulation, e.g., European Working Time
Directive (Health & Safety Executive, 1998).
Flexible scheduling initiatives (Kandolin &
Huida, 1996).
Open-rota systems (Pryce, Albertsen, &
Nielsen, 2006).
Work-life balance interventions (Rupashree &
Shivganesh, 2010).
Job content
and control
Quality of work (van der Doef & Maes,
Physical labour (Williams & Sambrook,
Varied versus repetitive content (Sauter et
al., 1990)
Self-regulation at work (Pomaki & Maes,
Self-efficacy (Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998).
Work-reorganisation interventions (Bond,
Flaxman, & Bunce, 2008).
Control-enhancing stress-reduction
intervention (Logan & Ganster, 2005).
Job control burnout prevention (Hätinen,
Kinnunen, Pekkonen, & Kalimo, 2007).
Task-restructuring interventions (Bambra,
Egan, Thomas, Petticrew, & Whitehead,
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
Table 3: Socio-cultural drivers of wellbeing indicative theories and interventions
Social capital (Bourdieu, 1986).
Perceived social support (Zimet, Dahlem,
Zimet, & Farley, 1988).
Social network analysis (Cross, Borgatti, &
Parker, 2002).
Communication training programmes
(Kruijver, Kerkstra, Francke, Bensing, & van
de Wiel, 2000).
Civility interventions (Leiter, Laschinger,
Day, & Oore, 2011).
Loving-Kindness Meditation (Fredrickson,
Cohn, Coffey, Pek, & Finkel, 2008).
Mediation (Ridley-Duff & Bennett, 2011).
Charismatic leadership (House, 1977).
Transformational leadership (Bass, 1991).
Spiritual leadership (Fry, 2003).
Distributed leadership (Gronn, 2000).
Leader-member social exchange (Bernerth,
Armenakis, Feild, Giles, & Walker, 2007)
Executive coaching (Thach, 2002).
Management by Walking Around (Rubin &
Stone, 2010).
Supervisory quality interventions (Wagner et
al., 2015).
Managerial leadership development
programmes (Collins, 2002).
Spiral dynamics (Beck & Cowan, 1996).
Authentizotic organisations (Kets de Vries,
Corporate social responsibility (Garriga &
Melé, 2013).
Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider &
Srivastva, 1987).
Spiral dynamics interventions (Robinson &
Harvey, 2008).
Corporate ethics training programmes
(Delaney & Sockell, 1992).
Reward and
Procedural fairness (De Cremer, van
Knippenberg, van Knippenberg,
Mullenders, & Stinglhamber, 2005).
Organisation-based self-esteem (Bowling,
Eschleman, Wang, Kirkendall, & Alarcon,
Employee financial participation (Morris,
Bakan, & Wood, 2006).
Collective performance rewards (Bartol &
Srivastava, 2002).
Non-financial recognition schemes
(Silverman, 2004)
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
Table 4: Examples of current and future psychological research (pertaining to managing emotions)
Existing research
Future research
Association between emotional and
interoceptive awareness (Herbert,
Herbert, & Pollatos, 2011).
Impact of body awareness on subjective
wellbeing (Mehling et al., 2009).
Psychomotor physiotherapy (Dragesund
& Råheim, 2008).
Cost-benefit analyses of the impact of
body-awareness training on injury,
health, and absenteeism.
Relationship between EI, workplace
physicality (e.g., sitting posture), and
work-place injury.
Emotional intelligence training (Nelis et
al., 2009).
PsyCap training (Luthans et al., 2010).
Master Resilience Training (Reivich et
al., 2011).
Analysis of impact of mindfulness on EI
(Lomas, Edginton, Cartwright, & Ridge,
RCTs comparing emotion-based
interventions (e.g., MRT vs. PsyCap).
Cost-effectiveness analyses of emotion-
based interventions (e.g., MRT).
Impact of socio-cultural drivers (e.g.,
leadership support) upon the
effectiveness of MBIs.
Analysis of the cognitive components of
job satisfaction (Weiss, 2002).
Adverse impact of emotion regulation on
other cognitive processes (Schmeichel,
The role of discursive cognitions in
emotional capacities like resilience
(Reivich et al., 2011).
Impact of EI training on discursive
Role of narrative restructuring (e.g.,
recalling positive events) in emotion
Impact of mindfulness on employee
distress (Virgili, 2015).
Impact of mindfulness on work
relationships and performance (Good et
al., 2015).
Mindful awareness as ‘meta-skill’ that
affects multiple aspects of wellbeing
(Brown, Ryan, & Creswell, 2007)
Large-scale RCTs of MBIs in the
workplace, featuring outcomes such as
wellbeing, health, and job performance.
Analysis of the efficacy of ‘second
generation’ MBIs (which explicitly draw
on Buddhist theory and practice) against
that of ‘first generation’ MBIs (which are
Impact of flow on work engagement
(Reid, 2011).
Factors that facilitate flow states
(Fullagar & Kelloway, 2009).
The importance of spirituality in helping
professions, e.g., nursing (Grant, 2004).
Factors that engender spirituality in the
workplace, and its impact (e.g., in term
of work being meaningful).
Working conditions that enable people to
experience a flow state, and the impact
such states has on wellbeing.
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
Table 5: Examples of current and future physiological research (pertaining to managing emotions)
Existing research
Future research
Cortisol levels associated with trait EI
(Laborde, Lautenbach, Allen, Herbert, &
Achtzehn, 2014).
Impact of mindfulness training on
cortisol (Malarkey, Jarjoura, & Klatt,
Impact of mindfulness on immune
system functioning (Davidson et al.,
Relationship between length of
mindfulness training and cortisol.
Impact of EI training on neurotransmitter
levels (e.g., serotonin).
Genetically-influenced susceptibility to
psychological interventions.
Neurons & neural
The role of the prefrontal cortex and
anterior cingulate cortex in executive
attention (Newberg & Iversen, 2003).
Impact of mindfulness of left-sided
hemispheric activation (Davidson et al.,
Impact of mindfulness on neural
processing (Haase et al., 2015).
Impact of EI training on prefrontal cortex
and anterior cingulate cortex.
Role of mirror neurons in empathy (and
the training of empathic responses).
Impact of emotion-based interventions
on relative left-sided hemispheric
Nervous system
Impact of stress-reduction programmes
on blood pressure (McCraty, Atkinson,
& Tomasino, 2003).
Impact of emotion-regulation strategies
on cardiovascular risk (Appleton,
Loucks, Buka, & Kubzansky, 2014).
Impact of EI training on biomarkers
(e.g., heart-rate variability), including in
response to specific work stressors.
Viability of biofeedback programmes in
the workplace, and analysis of their
impact on biomarkers.
EI lessens health-risk behaviours (Lana,
Baizán, Faya-Ornia, & López, 2015).
EI associated with health-related quality
of life (Gourzoulidis et al., 2014).
Impact of mindfulness and EI on health-
related work behaviours (e.g., adaptive
use of the body, or avoidance of risk).
Association between mindfulness and
take-up of work-based health initiatives
(e.g., exercise programmes).
Work-Related Drivers of Wellbeing
Table 6: Examples of current and future socio-cultural research (pertaining to managing emotions)
Existing research
Future research
Loving-kindness meditation enhances
workplace relationships (Fredrickson et
al., 2008).
‘Hopeful’ leaders engender emotional
resilience (Norman, Luthans, & Luthans,
The impact of MBI and EI interventions
on communication patterns among co-
The impact of resilience interventions on
team performance.
The association between social capital
and employee resilience.
EI skills mitigate work-life conflict
(Lenaghan, Buda, & Eisner, 2007).
EI skills enhance bonding between teams
(Ajay & Akhilesh, 2007).
The impact of MBIs on work-life
The impact of EI training on inter-
department co-operation.
Social network analysis of the quality of
network ties (Cross et al., 2002).
Organisation-wide implementation of
MBIs (e.g., Lancashire Care NHS
Foundation Trust, 2015).
Organisation-level (e.g., entire NHS)
RCTs of the impact of MBIs on health,
wellbeing, and performance-related
Impact of systemic processes (e.g.,
mechanisms for inter-departmental
interaction) on employee resilience and
National data on subjective wellbeing
(ONS, 2011).
Wellbeing-driven policy initiatives
(Bache & Reardon, 2013).
Assessment of the impact of national
guidelines on the use of ME training
(e.g., MBI) in workplaces.
Surveys of the current state of emotion-
based training offered by employers
The impact of mindfulness on ecological
awareness (Jacob, Jovic, & Brinkerhoff,
The wellbeing value of connection to
nature (Gesler, 1992).
The impact of EI on pro-environmental
behaviour among employees and by the
organisation as a whole.
The impact of ‘mindfulness of nature’
interventions on environmental attitudes
and behaviour.
... Traits, personality traits, skills and the very knowledge they have are an important factor (Ližbetinová et. al., 2020), (Lomas, 2019), (Lundin et. al., 2021). ...
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Research background: The paper deals with coaching as one of the methods of developing a manager's personality in many fields including the Horeca sector and academics. Academic field also faces challenges like decreasing number of applicants, little application of graduates in the studied fields and quality of education process too. Purpose of the article: The aim of the research was to analyze the awareness and interest in the coaching approach in the HoReCa sector. The purpose was to find out whether managers perceive the existence of coaching as one of the possible approaches to the development of a person's personality. Furthermore we wanted to show the possibilities to embody coaching approach also to academic field. Methods: Within the research for quantitative survey methods, a questionnaire is most often used, in which it is important to obtain the necessary number of answers from respondents. Other methods belonging to this group are experiment or observation. An interview was used in the article as well as analysis of current coaching activities in academia. Findings & Value added: From the achieved results of the questionnaire survey, it is possible to confirm several facts. It was found that the interest in coaching approach among managers in the HoReCa sector is present because more than half of the respondents answered in the affirmative, i.e. that they are interested in coaching. Respondents clearly think that coaching is a suitable method of developing a manager's personality. Some coaching activities e.g., workshops also took place in the academic field.
... (Liu and Maitlis, 2014), (Ližbetinová et. al., 2020), (Lomas, 2019). (Lundin et. ...
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Research background: Emotional intelligence is a set of emotional and social abilities and skills of a manager. Nowadays, the environment is global and very complex, and the association between emotional intelligence and performance in enterprises remains an important area of worry for managers and employees' globally. The article focuses on the aspect and abilities of managers dealing with increasing the performance of their subordinates, their relationships in the workplace, division of labour and the overall organization of the team regarding their emotions and individual feeling of importance in the work process. Purpose of the article: The aim of the survey was to find out how today's managers behave in common situations that occur in the daily work of managers. It was also investigated to what extent managers use emotional intelligence and whether they are emotionally stable enough to work as a manager. Methods: A questionnaire survey was attended by managers. The questionnaire contained two parts. Firstly, the filtering questions and secondly, the specific situations in managerial life were analyzed, from which the level of emotional intelligence of the given manager was evaluated. Findings & Value added: These results in the work served to suggest improving awareness and the importance of emotional intelligence in work environments. The knowledge gained from the questionnaire will help in possible further research to create similar activities and improvements to imply emotional intelligence in more efficient operation of the company. A manager with high emotional intelligence can communicate effectively with others, can tolerate, solve problems, and build relationships with and between his employees.
... Thus, workplace well-being to be measured (Zanjari & Sani, 2014). It has been acknowledged that it is a multidimensional construct because workplace well-being ranges from physical or health, emotional, psychological, and mental to the social aspect of the workplace (Lomas, 2019, Fleurbaey and Blanchet 2013, Reeves, 2019. Researchers have been trying to figure out the common dimensions to be measured related to workplace well-being. ...
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The study intended to determine the effect of workplace well-being particularly hedonic and eudemonic well-being on the organizational citizenship behaviour of the employees. To support the theoretical foundation of the study, related literature was reviewed. The respondents of the study were all employees from the Divine Word Colleges in the Ilocos region. The study applied descriptive assessment and correlational research design. To analyse the data, the weighted mean and Pearson r correlation was used. The study found that the workplace well-being of employees and their organizational citizenship behaviour were considered high and it was also found that there is no correlation between the workplace well-being and the organizational citizenship behaviour of the employees. Therefore, the hypothesis of the study, that there is a correlation between workplace well-being and organizational citizenship behaviour is rejected. This finding contributes to a wider discussion on the effect of workplace well-being on organizational citizenship behaviour.
... We propose that locus of control and psychological capital are psychological resources that enable individuals in different employment statuses to maintain high levels of psychological wellbeing. Such psychological strengths are important to drivers of psychological wellbeing (Lomas, 2019;Munoz et al., 2016). Psychological capital and particularly internal locus of control are constructs within positive psychology that reflect individual differences in response to events and contexts, therefore important for eudaimonic wellbeing. ...
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The unemployed, as well as individuals in self and salaried employment, face several work-related risks and uncertainties which can result in diminished psychological wellbeing especially for individuals with high ambiguity intolerance. However, positive psychology literature suggests that individuals with strong psychological resources can be resilient in difficult circumstances. Using a sample of 922 individuals (including 240 unemployed, 391 salary-employed, and 291 self-employed) from Uganda and Kenya, we investigated the moderating effects of locus of control and psychological capital on the association between ambiguity intolerance and eudaimonic wellbeing, comparing the unemployed with individuals in salaried and self-employment. Our findings indicated that ambiguity intolerance and external locus of control are negatively associated with eudaimonic wellbeing. Conversely, internal locus of control and psychological capital were positively associated with eudaimonic wellbeing. The moderation analysis revealed that whereas an external locus of control boosts the negative effects of ambiguity intolerance on eudaimonic wellbeing, internal locus of control and psychological capital buffer against the negative effects of ambiguity intolerance on eudaimonic wellbeing. Differences between employment status groups and implications are discussed.
... There are two elements of this definition worth highlighting. The first is that the WHO's well-being definition is multidimensional (Lomas, 2019). While it does include mental well-being, WHO also highlights the importance of physical and social well-being. ...
Employee stress and disengagement are of increasing concern in workplaces due to the adverse consequences of such employee states on business performance and employee quality of life. Conventional wellness strategies in organizations may help alleviate some work-related distress, but do little to enhance employee well-being towards flourishing. Workplaces have a unique opportunity to improve the well-being of their employees and can, as a result, reap benefits beyond health care cost avoidance. Positive psychology and affiliated disciplines (e.g. positive organizational behavior and positive organizational scholarship) can offer research-backed strategies to enhance well-being by ‘growing the good’ and capitalizing on strengths versus mitigating risk or deficit alone. This paper examines these fields and the general program implementation literature to synthesize a model of workplace well-being program design and implementation. This model can be leveraged by organizations and practitioners looking to establish workplace well-being programs rooted in science to enhance employee well-being and ultimately to drive positive business outcomes for the organization as a whole.
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Efforts to improve the well-being of healthcare professionals include mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). To understand the value of such initiatives, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of empirical studies pertaining to the use of MBIs with healthcare professionals. Databases were reviewed from the start of records to January 2016 (PROSPERO registration number: CRD42016032899). Eligibility criteria included empirical analyses of well-being outcomes acquired in relation to MBIs. Forty-one papers met the eligibility criteria, consisting of a total of 2101 participants. Studies were examined for two broad classes of well-being outcomes: (a) “negative” mental health measures such as anxiety, depression, and stress; (b) “positive” indices of well-being, such as life satisfaction, together with outcomes associated with well-being, such as emotional intelligence. MBIs were generally associated with positive outcomes in relation to most measures (albeit with moderate effect sizes), and mindfulness does appear to improve the well-being of healthcare professionals. However, the quality of the studies was inconsistent, so further research is needed, particularly high-quality randomised control trials.
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Given the demanding nature of many professions, efforts are ongoing to develop initiatives to improve occupational wellbeing, including mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). To assess the efficacy of MBIs, meta-analytic procedures were conducted on 35 randomized controlled trials derived from an earlier inclusive systematic literature search (covering all occupations, MBIs, and wellbeing-related outcomes). Mindfulness had significant moderate effects on deficit-based outcomes such as stress (SMD = −0.57), anxiety (SMD = −0.57), distress (SMD = −0.56), depression (SMD = −0.48), and burnout (SMD = −0.36), and significant moderate to small effects on asset-based outcomes like health (SMD = 0.63), job performance (SMD = 0.43), compassion and empathy (SMD = 0.42), mindfulness (SMD = 0.39), and positive wellbeing (SMD = 0.36), while no significant effects were observed for depression or emotional regulation. However, the quality of the studies was inconsistent, suggesting more high-quality randomised controlled trials are needed.
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Objective: Among efforts to improve the well-being of healthcare professionals are initiatives based around mindfulness meditation. To understand the value of such initiatives, we conducted a systematic review of empirical studies pertaining to mindfulness in healthcare professionals. Method: Databases were reviewed from the start of records to January 2016. Eligibility criteria included empirical analyses of mindfulness and well-being outcomes acquired in relation to practice. 81 papers met the eligibility criteria, comprising a total of 3,805 participants. Studies were principally examined for outcomes such as burnout, distress, anxiety, depression, and stress. Results: Mindfulness was generally associated with positive outcomes in relation to most measures (although results were more equivocal with respect to some outcomes, most notably burnout). Conclusion: Overall, mindfulness does appear to improve the well-being of healthcare professionals. However, the quality of the studies was inconsistent, so further research is needed, particularly high-quality randomized controlled trials.
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Work can be demanding, imposing challenges that can be detrimental to the physical and mental health of workers. Efforts are therefore underway to develop practices and initiatives that may improve occupational wellbeing. These include interventions based on mindfulness meditation. This paper offers a systematic review of empirical studies featuring analyses of mindfulness in occupational contexts. Databases were reviewed from the start of records to January 2016. Eligibility criteria included experimental and correlative studies of mindfulness conducted in work settings, with a variety of wellbeing and performance measures. 153 papers met the eligibility criteria and were included in the systematic review, comprising 12,571 participants. Mindfulness was generally associated with positive outcomes in relation to most measures. However, the quality of the studies was inconsistent, so further research is needed, particularly involving high-quality randomised control trials.
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Given the potentially demanding nature of teaching, efforts are underway to develop practices that can improve the wellbeing of educators, including interventions based on mindfulness meditation. We performed a systematic review of empirical studies featuring analyses of mindfulness in teaching contexts. Databases were reviewed from the start of records to January 2016. Eligibility criteria included empirical analyses of mindfulness, mental health, wellbeing, and performance outcomes acquired in relation to practice. A total of 19 papers met the eligibility criteria and were included in the systematic review, consisting of a total 1981 participants. Studies were principally examined for outcomes such as burnout, anxiety, depression and stress, as well as more positive wellbeing measures (e.g., life satisfaction). The systematic review revealed that mindfulness was generally associated with positive outcomes in relation to most measures. However, the quality of the studies was inconsistent, and so further research is needed, particularly involving high-quality randomised control trials.