What’s the connection between personal wellbeing and business success? Read this study to find out.

Thriving in organisations requires vitality and learning. Without these characteristics, organisations experience stagnation. Research suggests that thriving at work brings greater happiness, job satisfaction and positive outcomes. The research comes from the work of Gretchen Spreitzer and Kathleen Sutcliffe. They define thriving as being productive, enthusiastic and valued. The combination of positive emotions and positive work performance is also called flourishing.

In contrast to flourishing, Spreitzer and Sutcliffe define “slow death” as hopelessness, meaninglessness and desperation. To achieve a flourishing state and thrive within an organisation, Spreitzer and Sutcliffe argue that individuals need several things.

  • A climate of respect and trust
  • Positive effective resources
  • Knowledge in their field
  • Positive work behaviour


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The combination of these features and experience lead to vitality and learning, which results in individual thriving outcomes. Individual thriving does not automatically equal collective thriving.

Individual employees may thrive without their efforts benefiting the whole organisation. An organisation can also thrive without its employees thriving.

For the collective thriving, Spreitzer and Sutcliffe believe that employees need to remain energised and continue to learn. This requires higher authorities to focus on creating more positive emotions in the workplace, which brings enthusiasm to the team. Some of the elements needed to create a more positive work environment include:

  • Expressing gratitude
  • Giving feedback instead of criticism
  • Maintaining a positive vibe

Leaders help set the tone for the entire organisation. Setting a positive tone should have a ripple effect throughout the group. Spreitzer and her colleagues believe that creating a positive organisation is essential for the success of workers and teams. The bottom line is that thriving at work requires a positive work environment, trust, fairness and dignity. To learn how to promote these elements in your workplace, book a session with Think Learn Succeed.


About the author of this article:

Eleanor Shakiba is a positive psychology trainer. She teaches smart professionals to build positive thinking, communication and leadership habits. Eleanor is the author of the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D practitioners. She is an expert in experiential training and delivers dynamic and engaging training for corporate clients.