Towards a Positive Psychology of Buildings and Workplace Community:the Positive Built Workplace Environment

23 page Publication by Anthony M. Grant, Sean A. O’Connor & Ingrid Studholme , , , ,
| Disclipline

Open This Publication
Abstract in English:

Positive psychology has produced useful research findings that can offer insights into the psychological factors that promote flourishing in peoples’ personal life and in workplace settings. However, there has been little work explicitly linking positive psychology constructs to the physical built workplace environment. This paper explores the notion of a positive psychology of workplace buildings and introduces the concept of the Positive Built Workplace Environment (PBWE). We explore the links between the physical attributes of well-designed sustainable contemporary workspaces, performance and well-being and the humanistic values central to the positive organisational enterprise. Given the rise in the use of activity-based flexible offices and coworking spaces this is an area where positive psychology can make important contributions. Using a qualitative case study approach we explore the lived experience of people who work in physical and psychological environments that stimulate and support innovative, agile and collaborative workplace cultures. Five key categories emerged from the interview data: The impact of the physical environment on performance, engagement and gratitude; the role of values-based leadership in extending the utility of activity-based working; expressions of purpose, pride and well-being; issues in making a transition to a new way of working; and how physical spatial change can be a facilitator of corporate cultural change. We present three models that may be of use in exploring the PBWE from a positive psychology perspective: 1) the Positive Built Environment Scale which uses Self-determination Theory as a means of measuring the psychological aspects of the PBWE; 2) an adaptation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a psychological framework with which to evaluate the physical aspects of the PBWE; and 3) a theoretical model of the relationships between the constructs in this paper. As the nature and pace of work evolves, we hope that our paper helps further develop our understanding of how to develop positive workplace environments that support organisational and individual development in a sustainable, humanistic fashion.

Open Access? Yes

Journal International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology
Publication Year 2019
Volume 4, pages67–89

English | Discipline Psychology