insium's newsletter on leadership: April, 2016

Written by  Thursday, 21 April 2016
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The subject of my Master of Applied Positive Psychology course this semester is Positive Psychology and Organisations.  Our first assignment was to find an example of a positive organisation and to analyse it against:

  • Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi’s notion of a positive institution (2000) where they define positive institutions as those that “move individuals toward better citizenship” through cultivating “responsibility, nurturance, altruism, civility, moderation, tolerance, and work ethic” (p. 5); and
  • Stansbury and Sonenshein’s (2012) three elements of positive ethics; these being morally praiseworthy, discretionary and positively deviant


I chose the Lort Smith Animal Hospital as my case-study.  The following are a few excerpts from my assignment.
 
The Lort Smith Animal Hospital has been committed to caring for animals for the past 80 years.  The hospital’s vision is “to be the recognised leader in Australia for animal health and wellbeing” and its mission is “to improve the health and happiness of animals and the people who care for them,” with the supporting values of care and compassion, quality and affordability, integrity and respect (Lort Smith Animal Hospital, 2014).  The hospital is the largest not-for-profit animal hospital in Australia, providing veterinary care, adoption and fostering services, emergency boarding and bereavement services to animals and their owners…

 … In addition to providing sanctuary, rehabilitation, welfare and a new home for animals, nurturance permeates all that the hospital provides and is linked to its core principle of preserving the human-animal bond … A further example of nurturance is the “Mates for Inmates” program (Humpage, 2015) in which female inmates care for and train rescue dogs, providing a second chance for the inmates by providing responsibility, a sense of purpose and future opportunities for employment.  The dogs also get a second chance where they are loved, cared for and trained to increase their likelihood of finding new homes. 
 
… A strong example of positive deviance and compassionate generosity to victims of hardship as described by Stansbury and Sonenshein (2012), is the hospital’s Emergency Boarding Program which is part of the Adoption Centre; … this program provides care for the pets of some of the most vulnerable members of community – for example, those who have mental health issues, the homeless, the elderly requiring emergency hospitalisation and victims of domestic violence.  The Lort Smith has been providing emergency accommodation since 1936 ensuring that pets are fed, accommodated, receive medical assistance if needed and receive tender, loving care until they can be reunited with their owner.  It can be argued that this program has been deviating existing norms in a way that is positive and honourable (Stansbury & Sonenshein, 2012) for many years.
 
… While the day-to-day actions described provide clear evidence that the hospital is a positive institution and is positively ethical, there many more actions undertaken by the hospital which, while not included, further reinforce its standing as positive and ethical. 
 
insium is a proud supporter of the Lort Smith Animal Hospital.
 
If you are interested in reading the entire assignment, please let me know.


Humpage, A.  (2015, September 3).  Rescue dogs in Mates for Inmates program at Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, Ravenhall.  Herald Sun.  Retrieved from http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/west/rescue-dogs-in-mates-for-inmates-program-at-dame-phyllis-frost-centre-ravenhall/news-story/1a27937d5ba808b9d783e40511ef0a0a
 
Lort Smith Animal Hospital (2014).  Mission, Vision & Values.  Retrieved from http://www.lortsmith.com/what-we-do/about-us/mission-vision-values/
 
Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. The American Psychologist55(1), 5-14.
 
Stansbury, J. M. & Sonenshein, S. (2012).  Positive business ethics: Grounding and elaborating a theory of good works. In K. S. Cameron & G. M. Spreitzer (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive organizational scholarship (pp. 340 – 352).  New York: Oxford University Press.

 

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