In all ages and places, the pursuit of well-being seems to be one of the most constant and tenacious aims of human beings (Russell, 1930). Well-being has been a central concern in philosophy, psychology, sociology, medicine, law, literature and religion. Following the Second War, thanks to the huge progress in scientific and medical knowledge, the well-being movement began and gained increasing attention in both everyday life and scientific domains. Terms similar and/or related to the notion of wellbeing (wellness, happiness, quality of life, life satisfaction and work satisfaction) became very common.
In 1948, the World Health Organisation (WHO) was the first to introduce the term well-being in a holistic definition of health: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity". Over the last seventy years, the issue of well-being has gradually permeated the daily life of a wide variety of social spaces, in particular workplaces and organisations. As humans spend much of their life at work, fostering organisational well-being, in turn, promotes individual and social well-being. On one hand, the pursuing of organisational well-being involves several and heterogeneous benefits (medical, economic, psychosocial): lower turnover, lower absenteeism, lower accident rates and reduced health care costs, higher job satisfaction, higher job performance, increased productivity, more intense creativity, enhanced market positioning, and a more responsible sustainable behavior. On the other hand, practitioners and scholars are increasingly aware of the worrying risks and costs related to an organisational misbehavior (i.e. bullying behavior, mobbing, burn-out, unfair discrimination): health problems, lower job satisfaction, lower job performance, decreased productivity, reduced creativity, distrust, increased turnover and absenteeism, increase in conflicts and legal disputes. Worrying risks and costs because of which the organisation is likely to collapse.
For all the reasons above, well-being in workplaces and organisations is more and more drawing the attention of managers and scholars. Since the seminal Hawthorne experiments (1920s-1930s) both practitioners and organisational researchers have been fascinated by the hypothesis that organisational-level performance and employee's well-being are mutually interdependent and reinforcing each other. However, despite the several theoretical and empirical efforts, the understanding and pursuing of well-being in workplaces and organisations still remain challenging goals for scholars and managers. Indeed, although it is now quite accepted that workplaces play a crucial role in social well-being and health promotion, over the last decades, the challenges to occupational well-being have become more and more difficult because of the dramatic changes of work conditions. The diffusion of information and communication technology at work, the rise of globalisation and the intensification of strategic competition, the increase of outsourcing and downsizing, the need for a more flexible workforce and the related fear of job insecurity. All together these changes have shaped a more a more unpredictable and complex environment. The workforce suffers the increasing management and shareholders' pressures to keep pace and to save the organisational effectiveness. Under this conditions, organisational attempts to promote employees' well-being are likely to fail or to not be credible in the every-day life of work. Actually, the risk is that well-being is used as a managerial tool to get employees' colonisation. A new way to control the workforce at the so called "third" (unconscious) level (Perrow, 1986; Kunda 1992). In this view, further researches are required to deeper understand the true purposes and effects of the organisational well-being.
The special issue would like to shed light on these dramatic tensions and aims to offer academics as well as managers and policy makers who are interested in the current organisational challenges deeper insights in understanding and promoting occupational and social well-being. The wish is that we could contribute to the rise of an intercultural co-operation and we hope that it will be acknowledged as a successful experiment of interdisciplinary reflections contributing to the progress in the field of management.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to:
- The evolving challenges of well-being: Do we need new mental approaches?
- U-Theory: leading from the emerging future
- Achieving organisational wellness: leadership, organisational facilitators and happiness at work
- The role of organisational citizenship behavior in promoting a wellness-based organisation
- Wellness at work and organisational climate
- Motivation and organisational wellness: theoretical and practical insights of a complex relationship
- Well-being and organisational performance
- Measuring organisational well-being: instruments, models and critical issues
- Diversity management: theoretical models and practical implications
- Designing well-being based organisations: the human factor
- The dark side of occupational well-being: Happiness or illusion?
- A viable systems approach to well-being
- Conflict management
- Industrial archeology and social wellness: the future life from the past
- Wellness and labour market
- From health protection to health promotion: the evolutional path of health at work place
- Occupational health psychology (OHP)
- Occupational psychiatry
- Stress, burnout and mobbing: how to prevent and counteract the enemies of occupational well-being
- Stress, burnout and mobbing: individual and social costs
Submission of manuscripts: 31 March, 2017
Notification to authors: 31 May, 2017
Final versions due: 15 September, 2017