Tracking work-place happiness: Do happy managers perform more efficiently?

Workplace affect or emotions in the workplace appeared in the 1930s. Hersey (1932) first demonstrated a sure relationship between one’s emotional state and productivity at work. Simultaneously the Hawthorne studies (1939) also echoed that happy workers reported higher levels of job-related happiness, giving impetus to initiating the ‘happy-productive worker’ debate. Some sporadic interest in this ‘thesis’ since evinced some ‘mixed results’ though the research interest appeared to somewhat stagnate intermittently. Affect at work has been mostly conceptualised as job-satisfaction in literature. Judge et al. (2001) conducted a meta-analysis to find only a somewhat disappointing mean correlation of .30 between job-satisfaction and performance and the researchers recommended job-satisfaction be reconceptualised.
A revived avalanche of research exploring the impact of positive constructs like positive emotions, wellbeing, job satisfaction, job engagement and affective organizational commitment on performance appears in the onset of the twenty-first century. Refined conceptualization of happiness at work has since demonstrated greater support for the worker-affect-performance link and has recently expanded to explain leader efficiency. In a very recent paper for example, Hosie et al. (2012) explores the emerging concept of a happy performing manager and operationalizes manager-job-happiness dimensions into ‘affective well-being’ and ‘intrinsic job satisfaction’ respectively. In this paper, Hosie et al. recognises that in the ‘job satisfaction – job performance link’, job satisfaction needed to be differentiated into ‘intrinsic job satisfaction’ which focuses on one’s affect (disposition and mood), and ‘extrinsic job satisfaction’ that focuses on one’s cognitive appraisal of one’s job. The study supported the happy-performing manager proposition, in which managers with positive affective well-being performed their job more effectively especially those that required complex decision-making. The study helped to identify specific elements of affective well-being and intrinsic job satisfaction that must be taken into account to ensure increased levels of performance; further informed higher management and human resources on possible reasons for the upward or downward spiralling manager performance.
Hosie, P, Willemyns, M & Sevastos, P 2012, “The impact of happiness on managers’ contextual and task performance”, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, vol. 50, pp. 268-287.
Judge, TA, Thoresen, CJ, Bono, JE & Patton, GK, 2001, “The job satisfaction-job performance relationship: A quality and quantitative review”, Psychological Bulletin, vol. 127, no. 3, pp. 376-407.

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2 Responses to Tracking work-place happiness: Do happy managers perform more efficiently?

  1. Tina says:

    As a happy manager, I definitely believe that a high level of job satisfaction correlates to increased productivity and efficiency. Thanks for sharing this post!

  2. Dr. Papiya Banerji says:

    What if I think little differently! Are you working for a ‘Happy Employer/ Organization?’

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