Guest Feature: Positive Relationships at Work Microcommunity 2014 Meeting

June 16, 2014

By Sucheta Nadkarni (Drexel University), Rajashi Ghosh (Drexel University), Ilene Wasserman (ICW Consulting), and Lyndon Garrett (University of Michigan)

Old memories were rekindled and new thoughts forged when scholars interested in positive relationships at work came together in the second meeting of the Positive Relationships at Work (PRW) Microcommunity at Drexel University in March. This meeting was designed to build on the inaugural meeting held in March 2012 and strengthen the foundation for a thriving and self-sustaining research community. Thirty-five scholars at different stages of their careers (senior faculty/practitioners, junior faculty, and doctoral students) from across the United States and Canada gathered to engage in out-of-the-box ideas, help each other tackle tough research questions, and develop new friendships and collaborations.

Based on the enthusiasm and energy displayed during paper discussions, snack breaks, meals, and early-morning yoga—as well as the overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees—the meeting succeeded in its mission! Participants discussed a wide range of topics, including identity, entrepreneurs/TMT, incivility, communities of practice, organizational citizenship behavior, leadership, relational bonding, organizational development and change, virtue/vitality/moral courage, developmental networks, collaboration and social flow, mentoring, and work-family issues. Attendees also brainstormed ideas for disseminating knowledge about positive relationships to a broader audience of academics, teachers, and practitioners. Not only were positive relationships discussed in research topics, they were practiced throughout the gathering as friendships were developed and strengthened in a supportive and constructive environment. Emily Heaphy and Jean Bartunek captured wonderful images of  “positive-in-practice” in the conference photos posted on the PRW Microcommunity webpage.

This meeting would not have been possible without the invaluable help and support from the PRW Microcommunity Steering Committee (Stephanie Creary (Boston College), Kathy Kram (Boston University), Emily Heaphy (Boston University), and Elana Feldman (Boston University)), the sponsorship of LeBow College of Business and School of Education at Drexel University, and additional student travel funding from the Center for Positive Organizations. The March meeting is just another step in the process of building a flourishing community of scholars with a shared passion for positive relationships at work. Our hope is that more people will join, and that members will become actively involved in sustaining and enlivening the PRW Microcommunity. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing PRW scholars at the 2014 Professional Development Workshop at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in Philadelphia; it is being co-organized by Meghana Rao, Beth Schinoff, Dana McDaniel Sumpter, Njoke Thomas, Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk, Stephanie Creary, and Elana Feldman,  and will feature Wayne Baker (University of Michigan), Shelley Brickson (University of Illinois at Chicago), and Ryan Quinn (University of Louisville).

To learn more about this microcommunity, please visit the Positive Relationships at Work Microcommunity webpage.  To join the Microcommunity, please contact Stephanie Creary ( or Elana Feldman (