Presentation on theme: "International Society for Performance Improvement"— Presentation transcript:
1 International Society for Performance Improvement Flourishing vs Languishing Understanding Some Dynamics Underlying Individual, Couples, Group, and Business Team BehaviorPresented to theSan Antonio ChapterInternational Society for Performance ImprovementOctober 27th, 2005Randall C. Agee
2 My story begins... ...and reaches an abrupt end. “Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing”Barbara FredricksonDept of Psychology, University of MichiganMarcial F. LosadaDepartment of Information Technology & Knowledge Management, Universidade de Católica de Brazília
3 Language of Psychology Positive PsychologyLanguage of PsychologyAffect = EmotionMaslowPersonality derived from needsA hierarchy exists among needsGrowth occurs as individuals climb hierarchy from basic Physiological and Safety needs toward Belonging and Esteem needs, culminating in Self-ActualizationGrowth to higher stages blocked when needs at a given level are frustrated
4 Other Positive Psychology Theorists Carl RogersClient-centered TherapyIndividual is inherently goodMaturity is a continuous process of discovering innate capacity for positive affective experiencesindividuallysociallyMartin SeligmanEvolutionary purpose of positive affectbroaden and build cognitive and social resources for resilianceGood life comes from kindness, not “pleasure”Learned optimism can overcome learned helplessness
5 Chaos Theory Edward Lorenz (early 1960s meteorologist) Chaos Theory Developed 12 equations to predict what the weather might beSet measurement sensitivity low (6 decimals) but reporting sensitivity higher (3 decimals)Result: successive iterations generated radically different predictionsButterfly Effect“Butterfly flapping wings in Brazil, echoing for a month through dynamic systems governing weather, can cause a cyclone in Indonesia – or not!”Chaos TheoryExplains complex system behavior as a series of mathematical patterns follow closely, but do not exactly replicate themselves in different scales through timeMeg Wheatley: fractals are created by non-linear equations generating repeated iterations of ever-smaller levels of scale.
6 Chaos Theory (continued) Gladwell – The Tipping PointThree Rules of EpidemicsLaw of the Few – a handful of exceptional people can make a differenceStickiness Factor – simple changes may give an idea great impactPower of Context – people are more sensitive to environment than you thinkdescribe social phenomenon as diverse asflu and syphilis outbreaks,successful advertising campaigns, andcrime wavesa system remain in equilibrium until a very tiny event tips it out of balanceresulting in a new equilibrium brought on by Innovators and Early Adoptersfollowed by recruitment of the Early and Late Majorities,with Laggards dragging their feet and Recalcitrants never getting on board!
7 Origin of Chaos Theory (continued) Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg – Quantum MechanicsParticles may behave like waves and vice versa, depending on how you measure themElectron position and spin are not simultaneously knowableUncertainty and Complementarity gave headaches to proponents of an orderly world of PhysicsOrne (1962) – Demand CharacteristicsShowed that subjects in an psychology experiments strive to guess the purposes of the experiments, and then may inject what they know or think they know into reaction to the experimental conditionsIn Industrial Psychology, the classic Hawthorne experiments at Western Electric showed that workers may respond to any experimental conditions, even contradictory changes, with increased productivity!
8 Benefits of Positive Psychology Fredrickson cites biological research for benefits from positive affectBroadening scope of attentionExpanding behavioral répertoireIncreasing intuition & creativitySpeeding recovery from cardiovascular distressAltering frontal lobe asymmetryIncreasing immune functionSalubrious mental & physical outcomesIncreased resilience to adversityIncreased happinessPsychological growthLower levels of cortisolReduced inflammatory responses to stressReduction in subsequent-day physical painResistance to rhinovirusesReduction in stroke
9 Broaden and Build Theory of Positive Psychology They assert that chaotic patterns that provide flexibility and resilience for physical and neurological systems also extends benefits to emotional life“People in positive affect states are less predictable than when they are in negative states, and that positivity allows them to be more resilient and adaptable when the inevitable crisis erupts.They conclude a clear link exists between frequent positive affect and longevity.“... human ability to experience positive affect is an “evolved psychological adaptation that increased our ancestors’ odds of survival and reproduction” (Fredrickson and Losada, 2005)In Randy’s words“those unhappy souls that can’t play well with others and think poorly of themselves aren’t likely to contribute to the gene pool.”
10 Application of Positivity to Analyzing Marriage John Gottman (University of Washington Love Lab)Videotaped conversations sliced into 15-second intervals along with physiological data & jiggle-metersAnalyzed verbal and non-verbal behavior on a 20-category taxonomy of emotional statesProduced 1,800 variable record for each couple (900 each X 2)Criterion; identify marriages surviving 15 yrsWith 1 hr observation, successful 95%With only 15 min observation, successful 90%
11 Application of Positivity to Analyzing Marriage (continued) Examples of Emotional States RatedDisgustContemptAngerSadnessStonewallingGratitudeInterestCompassionSupportAffection
12 Search for the Losada Line Is there a Critical Positivity Ratio?Moderately positive affect equips individuals with adaptive bias to approach and explore novel objects, people or situationsBad is stronger than goodOvercoming toxicity of negative affective environment is not one-for-oneResearch suggests the balance to keep people in a “good mental health zone” ranges from~ 2.5:1 for individuals~5.1:1 for business teams
13 Losada on Business teams Conducted observational research with 60 teams engaged Strategic PlanningOne-way mirrorRated three variablesPositive speech vs Negative speechInquiry vs AdvocacySelf-oriented vs Other-orientedPositive speechencouragementsupportappreciationNegative speechdisapprovalcynicismsarcasm
14 Losada on Business teams (continued) Of the 60 teams:15 had a much more positive emotional team emotional climate16 had a mixed team emotional climate19 had negative emotional climateLosada derived a set of coupled differential equations to describe the within-team interactionsPlease see the Fredrickson and Losada paper for a more complete description of the math.Employed Fourier transformations of cross-spectral density function to generate a modelPlotting the model produces a graphic that looks like a butterfly, with three distinct geographical areasLosada Line: the ratio of 2.9 to 1 bifuricates flourishing from languishing teams
15 Losada on Business teams (continued) The 15 teams with most positive emotional climateWider range of ideas and initiativesMost successful as measured byprofitability,customer satisfaction, and360°evaluations by superiors, peers and subordinatesThe 16 teams with mixed emotional climateMixed successHave insufficient resilience; in moments of extreme adversity, lose their behavioral flexibility and capacity to question assumptions, resulting in endless languishingThe 19 teams with negative emotional climateUnsuccessfulTightly bounded, uncreative and generally negative in outlook“stuck in self-absorbed advocacy resulting in an endless loop”
16 Fredrickson’s Experiments Testing Losada Line Two samplesOne screened to exclude members with expressing depressionSecond randomly drawn and not screenedStudents rated 20 variables describing emotional state daily for 28 days (2 variables were neutral)Positive emotionsawecompassioncontentmentgratitudehopeinterestjoylovepridesexual desireNegative emotionsangercontemptdisgustembarrassmentfearguiltsadnessshame
17 Fredrickson’s Experiments Testing Losada Line (continued) ResultsSample 1Sample 2Flourishing Individuals3.2 to 13.4 to 1Languishing Individuals2.3 to 12.1 to 1Take-home message: Flourishing and Languishing members of both samples bracket the Losada Line
18 Upper Limits The logical journey nears a conclusion. Can we have too much of a good thing?After all, how much Mary Poppins can a guy take?Using Lorentz’ math, Losada calculated that the benefits of positive affect will begin to decay at or above 11.6 to 1Fredrickson & Losada suggest that appropriate negativity will help ground relationships in reality
19 Appropriate Negativity Looking to Gottman’s data on predicting successful marriages, Fredrickson and Losada observe that some degree of appropriate negativity promotes flourishingGottman identifies disgust and contempt as the most corrosive emotions in a marital relationshipHowever, an atmosphere where needs can be communicated honestly promote marital successFor example, guilt derived from viewing actions as improper or immoral is more tolerable than shame derived from a sense of diminished self-worthFredrickson and Losada cite examples where insincere verbal and non-verbal expressions of emotion (false smiles, patronizing) have detrimental consequences generally recognized as negativity
20 General Theory of Positivity Human flourishing and languishing can be represented by mathematical equations based the Lorentz’ efforts to predict weather systemsThe positivity ratio bifuricating phase space between flourishing and languishing is 2.9.Positivity ratios above 2.9 are associated with flourishing.Human flourishing in large scales (couples, groups, teams) emulate structure and process observed at lower scales (individuals).Appropriate negativity is a critical ingredient for flourishing.Complex dynamics of flourishing decay above positivity ratios of 11.6:1 and higher.Human flourishing is characterized by four components:goodnessgenerativitygrowthresilience
21 What’s In It For You? Individually? Are you a Spouse? Thriving comes from positive affect – spend time in environments promoting 3:1 ratioPut yourself in places that make you feel good; minimize toxic placesAre you a Spouse?Thriving marriages may require even more positive exhangesExpect to give 5:1; hope to get 5:1Keep negativity appropriate: focus on behaviorStay Away from the most corrosive expressions: Contempt! & Disgust!Are you a Parent? – “Teach your children well!” – David CrosbyToiling in the Vineyard of the Working World?Help co-workers and clients focus on what is right! Cast your recommendations in terms of what can be done to make it better!Keep Losada Line in focus: Help coworkers & clients find a range of 2.9 to 11.6 positive emotional experiences – give them something good to take home!Help coworkers & client avoid toxic experiences of Shame, Contempt & Disgust
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