Inaugural Meeting of the Newly-Invigorated PRW Microcommunity

August 21, 2012

By Elana Feldman (Boston University), Kathy Kram (Boston University), Emily Heaphy  (Boston University), and Stephanie Creary (Boston College)

What happens when a group of scholars interested in positive relationships at work meet in one place? They forge new connections, rejoice in old friendships, help each other tackle current challenges, and plant the seeds for future collaborations.  And this was indeed the case in March, when approximately 30 researchers gathered in Ashland, Massachusetts, for the launch of the newly invigorated Positive Relationships at Work (PRW) Microcommunity.

The PRW Microcommunity was revitalized, after several years’ dormancy, through the efforts of a Steering Committee comprising Stephanie Creary (Boston College), Elana Feldman, Emily Heaphy, and Kathy Kram (all from Boston University). The Microcommunity is dedicated to the research, practice, and teaching of positive relationships in the workplace.  More specifically, PRW Microcommunity members are interested in the following topcs:

  • Studying how relationships at work can be a source of individual and collective growth, learning, and flourishing.
  • Identifying the conditions, contexts, and behaviors that enable the creation and maintenance of human connections in the workplace.
  • Building mutually supportive, positive relationships with others in the academic community.

The inaugural meeting of the re-launched Microcommunity was designed to create a strong foundation for a thriving, self-sustaining community.  Judging from the palpable energy in the room during paper discussions, snack break, meals, and early morning yoga—as well as from the overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees—the meeting succeeded in its mission! During the two-day gathering, a wide range of topics were discussed, including mentoring, compassion, gratitude, and identity. Attendees also brainstormed ideas for disseminating knowledge about positive relationships to a broader audience of academics, teachers, and practitioners.

The PRW Microcommunity Steering Committee views the March meeting as just the first 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 Microcommunity.

We look to others to propose and implement ideas to help members stay connected and supported on an ongoing basis. We have already seen a wonderful example of this type of shared leadership during the 2012 Academy of Management meeting: Co-organizers David Bright, Stephanie Creary, Elana Feldman, Rajashi Ghosh, Kerry Gibson, and Delia Mannen led a very successful professional development workshop featuring Kim Cameron, Emily Heaphy, Belle Ragins, and a fabulous group of attendees.

And, speaking of volunteer opportunities, we need members willing to plan (and gain sponsorship for) future PRW Microcommunity meetings, in collaboration with the Steering Committee. We were able to hold the first meeting in the greater Boston area thanks to the generous support of the Boston University School of Management and additional funding from the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship, but look to other energetic individuals to help us carry on the tradition!

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