The perils of positivity



The passion and productivity that characterizes research on positive organizational behavior (POB) is impressive. Yet POB research is accumulating so rapidly that it may exceed what the field's conceptual, methodological, and ideological foundation can bear. I discuss here six concerns prompted by the articles in this special issue. These concerns are (1) the emphasis of positive organizational scholarship on individual-level phenomena, (2) the ahistorical character of POB research and writing, (3) the construct validity of key concepts, (4) over-reliance on a particular research strategy, (5) implicit acceptance of fundamental flaws in how work and organizations are designed, and (6) the seductiveness of new research paradigms. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.