The experience of thriving at work for managers in the private and public sector

Judge, Emma and Simpson, Jane and Giga, Sabir (2020) The experience of thriving at work for managers in the private and public sector. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Thriving at work is a concept that has been influenced by a range of perspectives, including the thriving as a response to trauma and concepts of wellbeing, flourishing and happiness. The most influential theory of thriving at work in the extant literature as a combination of learning and vitality has informed a series of studies leading to a conceptual framework of antecedents, behaviours and outcomes. This thesis contends that thriving at work may differ across roles and explored the experience of thriving at work for managers in one public and one private sector organisation in the UK in order to understand their perceptions of cultural and individual factors that influence this experience. An integrated literature review identified the theoretical foundations of this debate, as well as critical questions to be addressed in this study, and informed the choice of a qualitative inquiry and a social constructivist paradigm. Semi-structured interviews incorporating the critical incident technique were carried out with 30 managers, and retrieved data was analysed using template analysis. This analysis identified three themes: trust as a foundation of thriving at work; making a difference as generating thriving at work; and the iterative, cumulative and emotive nature of thriving at work. The responses amplify the importance of immediate context, compared to broader cultural and demographic influences. Furthermore, the priority and weighting given to each factor varied significantly by individual, suggesting thriving at work is more personal than has been captured by current definitions and theories. A re-examination of the theoretical determinants of thriving at work suggests psychological safety and meaningful work could offer greater insight into the phenomenon for managers, and a new paradigm is proposed that reflects this theoretical position whilst placing greater emphasis on the individual nature of the concept.

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Thesis (PhD)
?? thrivingworkpositive psychologypsychological safetymeaningful workpositive organisational psychology ??
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24 Feb 2020 17:00
Last Modified:
23 May 2024 01:27