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Abstract

The evidence is clear regarding applied science's longstanding fascination with the negative aspects of organizational life. The purpose of this special issue of the Journal of Organizational Behavior is to tangibly demonstrate that the concept of a “positive psychology” is gaining importance in both psychology and organizational behavior. To that end, our lead article focuses on five topic areas. First, we provide a limited historical backdrop of positive organizational research. Second, we suggest the theoretical basis for why the current overwhelming emphasis on the negative. Next, we introduce the seven peer refereed articles contained in this special issue which, when considered together, highlight the varied application and potentially widespread benefits of studying the positive in organizational research. Fourth, incorporating the “point/counterpoint” JOB framework, we offer two varying, but insightful, perspectives on positive organizational research by Luthans and Avolio and Hackman. Finally, the article concludes with a discussion of how emerging research on the positive can be used to help build a stronger science of organizational behavior. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.