Compassion at Work

By: Jane Dutton, Kristina Workman, Ashley Hardin

Dutton, J., Workman, K., Hardin, A. (2014). Compassion at Work. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior. Vol. 1: 277-304.


Compassion is an interpersonal process involving the noticing, feeling, sensemaking, and acting that alleviates the suffering of another person. This process has recently received substantial attention by organizational researchers and practitioners alike. This article reviews what researchers currently know about compassion as it unfolds in dyadic interactions in work organizations. We begin by reviewing what we know about the benefits of compassion for the person who is suffering, for the provider of compassion, and for third parties who witness or hear about compassion at work. The heart of the article focuses on what research tells us about embedding compassion in the personal, relational, and organizational contexts in which compassion takes place. We conclude by discussing implications for practice and for the future research agenda regarding this vital interpersonal process.