The Power of Awareness: Unlocking the Potential of Mindfulness in Organizations

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https://helda.helsinki.fi/dhanken/handle/10227/255942
Title: The Power of Awareness: Unlocking the Potential of Mindfulness in Organizations
Author: Ahlvik, Catarina
Contributor: Hanken School of Economics, Department of Management and Organisation, Management and Organisation
Belongs to series: Ekonomi och samhälle / Economics and society - 330
ISSN: 0424-7256 (printed)
2242-699X (PDF)
ISBN: 978-952-232-389-7 (printed)
978-952-232-390-3 (PDF)
Abstract: Today, the word mindfulness is so widely used that the profundity of this practice is sometimes overlooked. Furthermore, some articles, mostly in practitioner-oriented journals, have raised the concern of mindfulness practice having a pacifying effect on employees. This concern often stems from the notion of mindfulness having a non-judgmental component and the fear that this component may create complacency in the workplace. This is, however, a misreading of the practice, as non-judgement in this context refers to how to skillfully relate to one’s own experience. A non-judgmental attitude or attitudes such as acceptance and self-compassion are qualities that can facilitate contact with uncomfortable experiences and may thus diminish impulsive or defensive reactions. Thus, a non-judgmental attitude does not refer to complying with potentially disharmonious external conditions; rather, it enables turning towards and experiencing the present circumstances exactly as they are. In this thesis, I tackle this question in detail both theoretically and empirically, and show that mindfulness develops personal resources and may indeed be a powerful trigger for agency. Agency here refers to purposeful engagement with the social context, aiming to alter or maintain that context. Specifically, I argue that mindfulness may trigger what I refer to as institutional awareness, that is the ability to be aware of the emotional and cognitive impact of the institution in which you are embedded. Furthermore, I empirically show that mindfulness supports change-oriented behavior in organizations and that it does so through facilitating autonomous choice. Choices and actions are seen as autonomous when they are congruent with a person’s authentic interests and values. In line with previous research in clinical settings, I also show that mindfulness reduces, stress, burnout and increases the ability to detach from work after working hours. These findings are the result of a large-scale randomized field intervention, where 130 managers from four organizations in Finland participated in an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course.
URI: https://helda.helsinki.fi/dhanken/handle/10227/255942
Date: 2019-08-12
Subject: mindfulness
institutional awareness
agency
change-oriented behavior
personal resource
institutional theory
self-determination theory
job-resources demand theory


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