1st Edition

Using a Positive Lens to Explore Social Change and Organizations
Building a Theoretical and Research Foundation

ISBN 9780415878869
Published March 12, 2012 by Routledge
544 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

How can application of a positive lens to understanding social change and organizations enrich and elaborate theory and practice? This is the core question that inspired this book. It is a question that brought together a diverse and talented group of researchers interested in change and organizations in different problem domains (sustainability, healthcare, and poverty alleviation). The contributors to this book bring different theoretical lenses to the question of social change and organizations. Some are anchored in more macro accounts of how and why social change processes occur, while others approach the question from a more psychological or social psychological perspective. Many of the chapters in the book travel across levels of analyses, making their accounts of social change good examples of multi-level theorizing. Some scholars are practiced and immersed in thinking about organizational phenomena through a positive lens; for others it was a total adventure in trying on a new set of glasses. However, connecting all contributing authors was an excitement and willingness to explore new insights and new angles on how to explain and cultivate social change within or across organizations. This edited volume will be of interest to an international community who seek to understand how organizations and people can generate positive outcomes for society. Students and researchers in organizational behavior, management, positive psychology, leadership and corporate responsibility will find this book of interest.

Table of Contents

A. Brief, M. Frese, K. Elsbach, Series Foreword. Part 1. Introduction. J. Dutton, K. Golden-Biddle, E. Feldman, The Call: Why a Book Now on Using a Positive Lens to Explore Social Change and Organizations? Part 2. Change Agency. O. Branzei, Social Change Agency Under Adversity: How Relational Processes (Re)produce Hope in Hopeless Settings. S. Sonenshein, Being a Positive Social Change Agent through Issue Selling. T. Rimac, J. Mair, J. Battilana, Social Entrepreneurs, Socialization Processes, and Divergent Change: The Case of Sekem. D. Meyerson, L. Wernick, Power Beyond the Purse: Philanthropic Foundations as Agents of Social Change. E. Steckler, J. Bartunek, Revealing Themes: Applying a Positive Lens to the Chapters on Change Agency. Part 3. Environment and Sustainability. A.J. Hoffman, K.K. Badiane, N. Haigh, Hybrid Organizations as Agents of Positive Social Change: Bridging the For-Profit and Non-profit Divide. D. Riddell, O. Tjornbo, F. Westley, Agency and Innovation in a Phase of Turbulent Change: Conservation in the Great Bear Rain Forest. M. Feldman, Practicing Sustainability. P. Perez-Aleman, Connecting Sustainability Movements and Enterprises in Developing Economies: Building Networks and Capabilities. J. Howard-Grenville, Revealing Themes: Applying a Positive Lens to the Chapters on Environment and Sustainability. Part 4. Health Care. M.G. Pratt, C.M. Fiol, E.J. O'Connor, P. Panico, Promoting Positive Change in Physician-Administrator Relationships: The Importance of Identity Security in Managing Intractable Identity Conflicts. K. Golden-Biddle, K. Correia, Hope as Generative Dynamic in Transformational Change: Creating and Sustaining "Collaborative Care" in the ThedaCare Health System. R. Wells, Amplifying Resources and Buffering Demands: How Managers Can Support Front Line Staff in Loving Action for Each Child. V. Myers, L. Wooten, Generative Change in Health Care Organizations: From Inertia to Action in Reducing Patient Disparities. T. Reay, Revealing Themes: Applying a Positive Lens to the Chapters on Healthcare. Part 5. Poverty and Low-wage Work. C.R. Leana, E.E. Kossek, Positive Organizational Change by and for the Working Poor. C.M. Beckman, B. Gatewood, Building Organizations to Change Communities: Educational Entrepreneurs in Poor Urban Areas. L. Jones Christensen, Navigating Change in the Company of (Dissimilar) Others: Co-Developing Relational Capabilities with Microcredit Clients. R. Canales, The Stranger as Friend: Loan Officers and Positive Deviance in Microfinance. J. Pearce, Revealing Themes: Applying a Positive Lens to the Chapters on Poverty and Low-wage Work. Part 6. Conclusion. K. Golden-Biddle, J. Dutton, E. Feldman, The Response: What Does This Book Contribute to the Understanding of Social Change and Organizations?

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Karen Golden-Biddle is Everett W Lord Distinguished Faculty Scholar and Professor of Organizational Behavior at Boston University School of Management. She currently serves as Senior Associate Dean. Karen received her PhD from Case Western Reserve University. Her research interests focus on large-scale organizational change, cultural dynamics and micro-processes in change, and health system transformation. She also examines the process of theorizing in field-based research. 

Jane E. Dutton is the Robert l. Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration and Psychology at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. She is currently Associate Director of the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship. Jane received her Ph.D from Northwestern University. Her research interests focus on organizations and compassion, high quality connections at work, job crafting and the dynamics of positive identities. 


'This is a very important book that opens up new arenas and vistas for organizational studies. Its key message that social change and organizations are deeply connected is one that we all need to hear and deal with. Its concern with critical social issues of sustainability, healthcare, poverty and low-wage work is, again, something that we all need to hear and deal with. The book provides a powerful voice for using a positive lens to further our understanding and stimulate our imagination. It will be a significant addition to my bookshelf.' - C.R. (Bob) Hinings, University of Alberta, Canada

'This is a super book. It moves beyond traditional perspectives to give a fresh impetus to understanding social change and organizations. The 'positive lens' has reinvigorated organizational scholarship in recent years and this book showcases the strengths of that approach.' - Royston Greenwood, University of Alberta, Canada 

'This groundbreaking work promises to add a new positive dimension to understanding and enabling social and organizational change processes. Its diverse collection of innovative chapters and stunning applications of positive scholarship make this a must read for anyone interested in positive psychology, organizational development, and social change.'  - Stewart I. Donaldson, Claremont Graduate University, California, USA

'This book will make a contribution to the positive organizational research and will emphasize the role of organizations in social change, linking organizations research to important problems in society and humanity. We clearly need more research on this topic.' - Anne Tsui, Arizona State University, USA

'This book will open new and important research frontiers and is destined to be a ‘must have’ volume for scholars and informed practitioners interested in examining the processes by which organizations create and sustain social change in the environment. For too long, organizational scholars have taken a limited approach to the interface between organizations and their environments. The time is absolutely right for this book.' - Belle Rose Ragins, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

'The major social changes of the last decade, such as the shift to an enhanced security state and the growth of a risk society, the crisis of casino capitalism, the socialization of private financial institutions’ debt, and the fiscal crisis of the North Atlantic nations, as well as global warming and the inadequacy of policy responses to it, should all be spurs to positive thinking. Interesting times that are more positive would be welcome and in this volume the contributors all seek to accentuate the positive in individuals and organizations making change for good happen.' - Stewart Clegg, University of Technology Sydney Business School, Australia