Positive Organizations


This course aims to:
•Give you an advanced approach to organizational behavior;  
• Explore the new field of positive organization scholarship.
• Discuss how leaders and organizational members in general can contribute to the creation of good organizations
• Discuss the nature of “positive” organizations
• Explore the characteristics of positive teams
• Analyze the organizational characteristics contributing to individual flourishing
• Contrast positive organizations with toxic organizational environments
• Discuss how the positive can be used negatively (or have negative consequences)
• Consider the impact of the positive approach on effectiveness at the various levels.
• Explore the implications of the current digital transformation for the design of the organization of the future from a positive perspective.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Miguel Pina e Cunha and Milton de Sousa


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Highly recommended books are:
Cameron, K. (2008). Positive leadership. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Cunha, M.P., Rego, A., Simpson, A. & Clegg, S. (2019). Positive Organizational Behavior. London: Routledge.

The books do not directly cover all the topics of the classes. But they are fine sources on the topics discussed in class. We strongly advise you to take good notes of our discussions.

The following handbook is a great reading:
Cameron, K.S. & Spreitzer, G.M. (Eds.)(2011). The Oxford handbook of positive organizational scholarship. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
We explored the positivity of leader behavior in a recent book:
Rego, A., Cunha, M.P. & Clegg, S. (2012). The virtues of leadership. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
If you want to know more about the effects of negative behaviors in the workplace, a good place to start is
Sutton, R. (2007). The no asshole rule. London: Sphere.

Teaching method

The course is designed to be highly interactive in a “flipped classroom” approach. Students are required to read the (pre-reading) articles in advance of class. Various exercises will be developed in class to facilitate knowledge apprehension but also to practice leadership skills
(role-plays, presentations, etc.).
Based on the pre-reading, teams will prepare a short presentation with positive examples related to the ideas and concepts explained in the article(s). The presentation should also include 3 questions that the team suggests discussing in class.
The presentations and proposed questions will serve as a starting point for various exercises, reflection and debate. The whole class will select the 3 questions that will be discussed based on everyone´s presentations.
Class structure
The classes will be structured around the following moments:
• The class starts with the presentation of the exemplars of positivity
• This will be used to illustrate the conceptual underpinnings of positive organizational scholarship.
• In-class exercises will be done to practice and retain knowledge.
• The concepts will be transferred to the context of digitalization.

  • Evaluation method

    Evaluation is organized as follows:
    • Class attitude and participation: 15%
    • Team presentations: 15%
    • Individual report: 20%
    • Final exam: 50% (THE MINIMUM PASSING GRADE IS 10).

    We have learned that a number of students seem to be more interested in grades than in learning. You have the right to a fair grading process. But contestation can go both ways: in case you want to contest a grade, the lecturing staff will carefully reevaluate your work. If can
    be improved or downgraded. As such, if you want to protest do it responsibly. Make sure you have a point rather than a wish.

  • Subject matter

  • Class 1: Positive organization studies
  • Class 2: Positive individuals
  • Class 3: Positive interactions and great teams
  • Class 4: Positive organizations
  • Class 5: Positive communities and nations and the role of business in society
  • Class 6: Positive leaderships
  • Programs

    Programs where the course is taught: