Positive Perspectives


This January, some Americans are celebrating a new president. Others are deeply concerned about the road ahead.

While presidents come and go, organizations persist. Organizations are a means to transform lives and transform society. Given how much time we spend at work, what we do, the meaning we assign to it, and the people around us matter immensely to the quality of our lives. With enough income, and with working conditions conducive to our flourishing, each of us can be a force for good in our families, our communities, our country, and our world. 

At the Center for Positive Organizations, we are committed to undertaking and spreading research into building high-performing organizations that enable people to thrive. We believe that there has never been a more important time to pursue our mission. Join us!

Managing Director, Center for Positive Organizations



Positive Links Speaker Series: Julia Lee

Bringing your best self to work: The power of seeing yourself through others’ eyes
February 20, 2017
4:00-5:00 p.m.
Michigan Ross Campus
Learn more and register

Positive Links Speaker Series: David Cooperrider

Positive organization development: The change equation that's changing everything
April 24, 2017
4:00-5:30 p.m.
Michigan Ross Campus or watch online
Learn more and register

Positive Business Conference

An annual gathering of positive business leaders and learners
May 11-12, 2017
Michigan Ross
Learn more and register
Visit our website to see all upcoming events
Positive Business Project
The 2017 Positive Business Project is now open! 
The Positive Business Project is an annual student-led initiative presented by the Center for Positive Organizations focused on identifying, studying, celebrating, and spreading positive business in organizations of all types.

Consider sharing your story in this year’s project. There are three levels of incentives and the best examples of positive business will be celebrated at Michigan Ross’ 2017 Positive Business Conference in May.
  • Early bird submissions and nominations due: February 17, 2017
  • Final submissions due: March 3, 2017


Dave Mayer quoted in Washington Post on ethics and presidential power

In the article, “Donald Trump just used his presidential power to advertise L.L. Bean,” Mayer explains the ethical issues associated with “reciprocity from the [then] president-elect.”
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Chris Murchison pens blog on connecting with colleagues through handwriting

“Why write a letter when you could more efficiently communicate the same sentiment via technology?” Murchison asks in a new post for Whil.
Read more

TED article features research by Jane Dutton and Adam Grant 

Dutton and Grant’s study, “Beneficiary or Benefactor: Are People More Prosocial When They Reflect on Receiving or Giving?,” was cited in this article about how people find meaning in the stories they tell about themselves.
Read more

How to heal post-election angst at work

Employers can foster a shared sense of empathy and compassion after an emotional and divisive election, and rally people around common values, explain Jane Dutton and Monica Worline in a Ross Thought in Action article.
Read more

Three CPO community members make Washington Post’s ‘10 Books on Leadership to Read in 2017’ 

The books include Christine Porath’s Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace, and the forthcoming books Option B (by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg) and Stretch (by Scott Sonenshein).
Read more


Visit our website for more news from our faculty, students, and friends
+LAB and Adam Grant
+LAB pop-up lunch with Adam Grant
Before his January 11 Positive Links session, Adam (a U-M and CPO alum) joined +LAB students for a pop-up lunch. Adam shared his insights on a range of topics including his reflections on his research, recruiting advice, and New Year's Resolutions.

Leading in trying times

We are proud to announce the re-launch of a Center for Positive Organizations exclusive resource called Leading in Trying Times. This resource is a renewed and updated version of a set of essays from Positive Organizational Scholarship scholars first published after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  

Leading in Trying Times was designed to support a vision of flourishing human organizations where people can undertake work with dignity, trust, and respect and where we can strive together for the highest aspirations of human life. We believe that positive organizations lay a strong foundation for a positive society.
This resource is a collection of reflections from our Community of Scholars and broader community represented as artistry, essays, or inspirations. We offer these ideas and resources to help us all to enact the kind of organizations and communities we want to live and work in daily.
We invite you to visit this living resource or contribute your own reflection from your work as a leader, from your view as a learner, and from the wisdom of your practice.
Learn more about Leading In Trying Times resources

5 questions with Kendra Sweet

Learn more about BBA student and +LAB Fellow, Kendra Sweet, in our monthly five question, five-minute interview series.

Kendra SweetQ: What is your favorite positive practice and why?

I really enjoy both the Task Enabling and Job Crafting exercises, as they connect each undertaking with a fulfilling underlying purpose. These tools align one's individual strengths to the redesigned task at hand, while reflecting on the intent of the action. Positively reframing these day to day micro moments, celebrating small wins, and reflecting on progress leads to a morale boost.


Q: What area of positive organizational scholarship research resonates most deeply with you?

I’m particularly fascinated by the power of tempered radicals and Adam Grant’s notion of the original. Through harnessing our differences, investing in relationships and empowering those who challenge the status quo, resources can be unlocked from within. Further, thriving at the personal level spirals up to flourishing at the organizational level, which is undoubtedly a win-win!

Q: If you could tell anything to the "you" of five years ago, what would it be?

Five years ago I was hoping to become a wolverine, and I would tell myself that there’s not one correct path and to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Personally, I am surrounded by people whose careers in the health field directly impact others every day. Finding a niche where I could similarly contribute in the business realm was a bit challenging at first, but having meaningful conversations and finding uplifting communities has led me in the right direction.

Q: What was the last book you read?

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Lemmon. A remarkable true story about how five sister entrepreneurs empowered other women in Afghanistan during Taliban rule. Their resiliency, hope, and creativity in trying times is an inspiring portrayal of positive deviance.

Q: What is one thing you cannot live without?

Love and laughs from my favorite people, coupled with great music.


Adam Grant

Adam Grant (requires U-M login)

Originals: How non-conformists move the world
Positive Links Speaker Series 2017
Watch video or view photos


Ted London

Ted London

Impact at scale: Fulfilling the base of the pyramid promise
Positive Links Speaker Series 2017
Watch video or view photos
The Center for Positive Organizations inspires and enables leaders to build high-performing organizations that bring out the best in people. We are a catalyst for the creation and growth of positive organizations. Learn more about our opportunities below.

Center for Positive Organizations
Stephen M. Ross School of Business | University of Michigan
701 Tappan Street | Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1234 734-647-8154

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