Happy Teams Perform Better
April 28, 2011
School of Business, Coimbatore
Conventional clinical psychology analyzes what makes people sick. Now a new branch of study in social sciences named positive psychology explores factors that lead to a happy, healthy and fulfilling existence.
The field emerged a few decades ago from attempts at unraveling the reasons for productive, happy lives of several individuals who had even faced challenging adversities.
Findings indicated that a life of pleasures and enjoyment don’t lead to long-lasting happiness. Other factors are significantly more important.
If an individual enjoys a sense of purpose in life, derived by contributing to a social, environmental or a community-related cause, chances are high that he or she has a sense of fulfillment and leads a happy life.
The capacity to contribute and work with one-pointed attention also plays a key role in ensuring a productive, healthy and happy life.
These findings are not different from ancient truths espoused by the Indian philosophy.
Research at the Amrita School of Business took these findings one step further, when Dr. Rajiv Prasad, Associate Professor at Coimbatore, explored the relationship between levels of happiness of team leaders, their management styles and the performance of their teams.
For his PhD dissertation titled Generating Happiness at the Workplace for Optimal Performance, he collected data* from the Bangalore division of a leading public sector manufacturer of electronic equipment.
From an analysis of the data collected, Dr. Rajiv found that team leaders’ happiness and spiritual maturity were the most important predictors of team performance.
Spirituality was defined in the study as a perspective that a person adopts towards life which is anchored in a very broad concept of the self causing one to consider the interests of colleagues, the work place as well as the community at least as important as one’s own personal interests.
“The more mature a person is spiritually, the more he or she will feel connected to the work, colleagues, workplace and community,” the author explained. “Teams led by such individuals will perform very well.”
This doctoral dissertation will soon be published as a research monograph by the prestigious German Lambert Academic Publishing House.
Dr. Rajiv completed his PhD in Organizational Behavior at IIM Calcutta under the guidance of Prof. Sunita Singh Sengupta. He joined Amrita in May 2007. He has over fourteen years of industry, teaching and research experience.
In addition to teaching MBA students at the Coimbatore campus, Dr. Rajiv also co-teaches a class on Organizational Behaviour and Leadership for students of the Executive MBA Program jointly offered by Amrita and the State University of New York at our Bengaluru campus.
He is also a visiting faculty at IIM Kozhikode.
* Data for the first phase of the study was collected from 38 team leaders, who responded to an initial set of questionnaires. All team leaders were in charge of their teams for at least two years at the time of the study.
For the second phase of the study, data was collected by sending questionnaires to team members of all 38 teams, whose leaders had participated in the first phase of the study. Nearly 200 team members from 31 teams responded.
Thirteen well-known hypotheses in social sciences were tested using the data collected in these two phases.