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Ancient Virtues in Modern Organizations: Causes, Consequences, and Contingencies of Courage in the Workplace

  • Purpose Although courage has generally been understood as a powerful virtue, research to establish it as a psychological construct is in its infancy. We examined courage in organizations against the backdrop of positive psychology with a design in the Grounded Theory tradition that connects Positive Organizational Behavior and Positive Organizational Scholarship. Method The sample consists of organizations that define courage in their mission statement and organizations without such a definition. It includes employees and executives, exploring workplace courage on the macro as well as the micro level. Eleven organizations and 23 participants contributed to the interview study. Results Applying Glaser's theoretical coding, specifically the C-family, we propose that courage arises from a decisional conflict in three major domains: the self, social interaction, and performance. It is located on a continuum between apathy and foolhardiness and can take on reactive, proactive, or autonomous forms. Whether and to what extent courage manifests, is a dynamic process contingent upon organizational structure, culture, and communication climate as well as individual cognitiveaffective personality systems. Limitations The model depicts the complexity of the phenomenon, rather than details of its individual components. It goes beyond pre-defined categories and prevailing definitions. Implications Modern organizations are characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA). Courage is crucial in such an environment and can be systematically fostered across the whole human resource management cycle. Value The study advances theory building on courage in the workplace and highlights its potential to be measured, developed and managed for more effective work performance.

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Metadaten
Author:Simone Wilson, Kai Externbrink
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Language:English
Date of Publication (online):2024/01/11
Year of first Publication:2019
Publishing Institution:Westfälische Hochschule Gelsenkirchen Bocholt Recklinghausen
Release Date:2024/01/17
Note:
Poster Presented at the Conference of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology, Turin, Italy.
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das Urheberrechtsgesetz

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