Harvard Business Review article on combatting loneliness cites CPO researchers

June 24, 2021

Photo: Marcus Aurelius on Pexels

Jane Dutton

Research by Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) co-founder Jane Dutton and CPO Doctoral Student Affiliate Hilary Hendricks is cited in the Harvard Business Review article “Employees Are Lonelier Than Ever. Here’s How Employers Can Help.

The article examines how employers can encourage employees to develop high-quality connections when they return to in-person work following the COVID-19 pandemic. It assumes that a sense of psychological safety is the bedrock upon which these types of relationships can be built.

Jane Dutton and her colleagues at the University of Michigan’s Center for Positive Organizations characterize high-quality connections as those based on empathy and interdependence,” the article says. “Ideally, as companies design their return-to-work policies and structures, they will focus on these two factors. But first they need to ensure psychological safety exists in their organization.”

Hilary Hendricks

The article also explores how different organizations are working to encourage empathy and interdependence.

“For example, Hilary Hendricks and fellow researchers at the University of Michigan and Notre Dame are studying the use of gratitude circles at a restaurant chain,” the article says. “Before the lunch shift, employees gather in a circle. One member is randomly chosen to stand in the circle to have peers describe aspects of them that they like and admire. Early results indicate that gratitude givers and receivers can emerge from this practice feeling more connected.”

Dutton is the Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Emerita Professor of Business Administration and Psychology at the University of Michigan.

Hendricks is a doctoral student in Management & Organizations at the University of Michigan. She studies purpose in organizations.