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The Role of Positive Attitude in the Workplace

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Researchers have started to do studies on the affective component of attitudes. The reflective component of an attitude reflects our feelings and emotions. Managers once believed that emotion and feelings varied among people from day to day, research now suggests that although some short-term fluctuation occurs, there are also underlying predispositions toward fairly constant and predictable moods and emotional states.

People have two degrees of affectivity. The two degrees are positive and negative. Positive affectivity means that they are more upbeat and optimistic, have an overall sense of well-being, and usually see things in a positive light. This makes them seem like they are always in a good mood. It is suggested by research that positive affectivity plays a role in entrepreneurial success. Negative affectivity is the opposite of positive affectivity. People with this affectivity are usually more downbeat and pessimistic, and see everything in a negative way. They are viewed as always in a bad mood. The two types of affectivity can occur short term. People with a lot of positive affectivity, for example, may still be in a bad mood if they receive bad news. Someone with negative can be in a good mood if they receive good news. After the initial impact of these events wear off, they will return to their normal selves. Research has been done to show the role of positive affectivity in the workplace.

Seth Kaplan, Joseph Nicholas Luchman, and Jill C. Bradley-Geist did research on how positive affectivity affects job performance. Although interest regarding the role of dispositional affect in job behaviors has surged in recent years, the true magnitude of affectivity’s influence remains unknown. To address this issue, they conducted a qualitative and quantitative review of the relationships between positive and negative affectivity and various performance dimensions. Their research had three goals. First, they sought to quantify the magnitude of trait affect’s influence on workplace behaviors. Second, they investigated the role of three psychological mechanisms which are posited to mediate the relationships between affectivity and workplace behavior. Finally, they examined whether trait affect impact on task performance is distinct from that of the empirically-related traits of extraversion and neuroticism

Their research was very interesting. Positive and negative affectivity do have some effect on job performance. People with higher positive affectivity are more likely to do a good job when being compared to someone with high negative affectivity. The finding that positive affectivity and negative affectivity impact performance implies that organizational attempts to enhance worker well-being and performance should entail both minimizing negative emotions like stress and anxiety and promoting positive ones like excitement and enthusiasm. They also found that the type of affectivity can affect how a worker views their own job performance. Someone with high positive affectivity can overestimate their own success while people with high negative affectivity can see themselves as bad workers. They also concluded that affectivity is not directly related to extraversion and neuroticism. They stated that this research may not be useful in all job settings, but it can still be helpful in increasing the productivity of their workers.

Research has also found that positive affectivity can be beneficial up to a certain degree. This research was done by C.F. Lam, G. Spreitzer, and C. Fritz and was reviewed by Arlene Coelho. They said there are two broad explanations on how positivity affects work behavior. Being in a positive state stimulates an individual towards concentrating on the positives rather than the limitations of any given situation, which almost always results in a constructive outcome. Individuals in a positive state tend to feel satisfied by the world around them. As a result, they don’t act in ways that create change. They don’t want to change, because they are happy. However, this can block an individual’s need to seek out better opportunities and stunt creativity in the long run. Their argument is that too much positive affectivity can be bad. Once employees take notice of how well things are running in the organization, they are likely to stop taking initiative and will become more complacent, taking no action to look for new ways of working. However, a complete lack of positive affect in the workplace also results in complacent behavior and the underlying reason being low levels of energy and motivation.

In conclusion it is important to have positive affectivity in the workplace, and no negative affectivity. However, if you have too much PA it could harm the overall performance of the workers. Organizations should come up with ways to find the perfect balance of positive affectivity and effective working. 

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