When you spend much of your time at work, it’s important to feel good about what you do, says Jamie Gruman, a professor in the University of Guelph’s Department of Business, who studies well-being in the workplace.
Helping improve workplace well-being is one purpose of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association (CPPA), a new organization co-founded by Gruman to share knowledge and foster collaboration in positive psychology. In this field, scientists study personal characteristics, behaviours and relationships that help individuals and communities to thrive.
“Throughout history, people typically haven’t had the luxury of finding happiness in their jobs, but today, at least in the developed economies, this is often possible,” Gruman said. “Positive organizational psychology strives to understand how to make it happen.”
The “good life” has been the subject of inquiry since the time of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Positive psychology is the scientific study of the personal characteristics, behaviors, and relationships that enable individuals and communities to thrive. It is based upon the idea that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of happiness at work and play.
Positive organizational psychology, which explores, among other things, the impact of hope, confidence, and resilience on employee behavior, has long interested Gruman, who has published a number of academic papers on positive organizational topics such as work engagement and employees’ psychological capital.
The CPPA aims to advance the psychological health of Canadians through the research and application of positive psychology nationwide. Representing a network of experts who are engaged in rigorous research on positive psychology and practitioners ensuring a high standard in the application of positive psychology, the CPPA will provide reliable, evidence-based information about the nature of well-being and the application of positive psychology across disciplines, through the Internet, seminars, workshops and publications.
“The CPPA is a new platform for Canadian scientists to advance the knowledge of the science of well-being and for practitioners to explore novel ways to apply their knowledge,” said Gruman.
The organization will be launched at a conference in Toronto in July. The keynote speaker, Robert Vallerand, is president of the International Positive Psychology Association, an editorial board member of several pertinent journals and past president of the Canadian Psychological Association and the Société Québécoise pour la recherche en psychologie.
“We intend to host some of the biggest names in Canada as speakers at the inaugural conference,” Gruman said. “This will be the first time in Canada that researchers, practitioners, students and members of the general public can come together to learn about developments in this exciting field, and share their findings, best practices and knowledge of positive psychology.”