The main concept of this research is love-based leadership contemplated with an interdisciplinary approach. Consequently, it covers the idea of love-based leadership at work and in education and how it could be implemented through design as well.
The purposes of this project are
1) to direct attention and highlight love for work as a core of happy work communities;
2) produce a conceptual framework offered by the theoretical bases of educational psychology and education, psychology, design research, adult education, and administrative science for positively sensitive practices and services for individual and social wellbeing at work;
3) to produce practical approaches for love-based leadership at work and in education; and
4) to develop and evaluate them through research.
A particularly salient focus in this work is to determine how the select scientific approaches might be used in elaborating research models for re-thinking and designing caring working environment, the psychosocial wellbeing of employees and work communities, and for developing the models of decision making for caring leaders.
The research consortium consists of five subprojects:
Subproject 1. The baseline: Loving employee with individual virtues and strengths
Love can be seen as a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. In addition, love has been defined as one of the people’s basic strengths within the virtue of humanity. Indeed, love has been defined as a particular strength of character which is robustly associated with work satisfaction across a range of occupation types. Persistency, enthusiasm, commitment, an optimistic and reactive attitude as well as willingness to develop one’s proficiency seem to typify employees who have an enthusiastic and loving attitude toward work.
Subproject 2. Caring, love-based leadership
Those leaders who can recognize individual strengths and needs but also both confront and lead people will most probably be successful with workplace situations. However, a human being is a complex entity and thus organizational purposes may not be easily completed by any traditional leadership. From this perspective, new facilitating leadership approaches are needed. The perspective has three major foci that include the concept of positive:1) positively deviant performance, 2) strengths rather than weaknesses, and 3) human experience, e.g. emotion, intuition, knowledge, and belief.
Subproject 3. Designing wellbeing at work
In many respects, the phenomenon of designing wellbeing at work in the modern knowledge-intensive workplaces has not yet been analyzed and concretized. Before, also the awareness about happiness at work and enthusiastic attitude towards work have been studied limitedly and unexplored from the point view of design research. The purpose of the subproject 3 is to facilitate more convenient and agreeable, even luxurious, work contexts through design. In this subproject, the traditional ways of thinking about workplaces will be challenged and patterns for love-based leadership will be elaborated. Furthermore, we will produce scenarios and concepts in order to engage the users’ – namely, workers and leaders – experiences. Scenarios will be depictions of the future work contexts and proposed decisions for the focal problems faced by the users in present environments. The findings will be formulated to serve the challenges of the love-based leadership and enhancing happy work communities.
Subproject 4. Love-based vocational and in-service training
The purpose of the subproject 4 is to connect love with vocational training: How could (future) leaders’ and employees’ loving attitude toward work be ignited or enhanced by vocational and in-service training? This subproject aims to increase the positively sensitive actions of love-based leadership through training and activities on savoring and mindfulness, gratitude, optimism and resilience. Character strengths are promoted by identifying students’ and employees’ signature strengths and having them employ these strengths in everyday life. Furthermore, the purpose is to provide engaging in activities in vocational training that increase students’ and employees’ sense of meaning and fulfillment.
Subproject 5. Outcome: Love-based happy work communities
The fundamental presumption of this research is that positively sensitive practices of caring leadership, design, and professional training and by taking individual virtues and strengths as well as needs – that is love − into consideration result in happy work communities. Love, forgiveness, and trust have been defined as organizational constructs that are freedom producing, empowering, and vital to enhancing employee self-efficacy.2 Happy people perform better at work than those who report low wellbeing. Furthermore, happy workers are better organizational citizens because they, for example, help other people at work in various ways. Happiness can also be directly translated into engagement, productivity, and satisfaction – that is the wide definition of productive work. Likewise, positive affect is associated with multiple positive outcomes including better performance ratings at work, higher salaries, and improved health. Humanistic work values – regarded as the normative beliefs individuals hold about whether work should be meaningful – have an important influence on the likelihood of finding meaning in current work and psychological wellbeing.
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