Ryan Quinn

Positive emotions, instrumental resources, and organizational network evolution: Theorizing via simulation research

In the workplace, people seek positive emotional experiences as well as instrumental resources while doing their work. Yet we know little about how affective micro-dynamics drive the evolution of organizational networks, influence network trajectories, and determine macro outcomes such as collective affect and overall network structure. Given the lack of theory on affective micro-dynamics and network evolution, we propose a model that includes both affective and instrumental micro-mechanisms and use simulation methods to explore evolutionary dynamics and develop new theory. The core of our model is the empirically observed tendency for people to forego the acquisition of instrumental resources to avoid a decrease in positive emotion when choosing interaction partners. We conduct “experiments” with the simulation, considering the effects of the tradeoff, dispositional affect, resource inequality, and ingroup favoritism. The results show that dispositional affect and the tradeoff have considerable effects on network trajectories, collective affect, and resource transfer. We provide new theoretical propositions about affect in organizations.

How did you do that? Exploring the motivation to learn from others’ exceptional success

In this paper, we explore how perceptions of other people’s exceptional success influence individuals’ motivation to learn, a relationship that is surprisingly unexplored within the broad literature on learning in organizations. Our research reveals, across two distinct samples and methodologies, that individuals’ motivation to learn is higher when they encounter performance by another person that the individual perceives to be more exceptionally successful than when they perceive the other’s performance as a more “normal” success. We also observe, in line with prior research, some marginal support for the notion that this motivation to learn is also higher when individuals perceive other’s performance as more of a failure. Our second study further reveals that the relationship between others’ performance and the motivation to learn is mediated by interest and moderated by surprise. We discuss the implications of these results for provoking new theorizing, measurement, and practical implementation of learning in organizations.

CPO professors dominate INC Magazine’s list of best books for leaders

INC Magazine recently published a list of the best business books for leaders looking to incorporate positive leadership practices into their organizations.

On the list of eight books the magazine says the “smartest leaders have already read,” three are written by Michigan Ross Faculty from the Center for Positive Organizations, meaning books from Michigan Ross faculty make up almost 40 percent of INC’s list.

The books highlighted focus on the undeniable benefits of positively leading teams toward a defined vision, tools for inspiring groups to succeed, and how to successfully craft positive cultural change in your organization. Take a look:

How to be a Positive Leader
by Jane E. Dutton and Gretchen M. Spreitzer (editors)

From INC: “This collection of 13 essays explores how managers can learn to use positive leadership skills to actually draw energy from their day-to-day responsibilities rather than depleting their reserves. It offers insights into how leaders can use hope instead of fear to unlock their employees’ potential, including four strategies to leverage positive leadership and ‘Enable Thriving at Work.’”


Lift 2.0 The Fundamental State of LeadershipLift
by Ryan Quinn and Robert Quinn

From INC: “Lift helps managers develop tools to shield themselves against burnout and complacency from the daily grind. When managers fail to develop these tools, they start to feel that there is little they can do to improve. By providing skills to combat ‘management morose,’ Lift enables managers to inspire energy, passion, and openness to new ideas for the long haul.”


Practicing Positive Leadership
by Kim Cameron

From INC: “Cameron, a co-founder of the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan, outlines steps that managers can take ‘to use positive leadership practices, tools, and techniques to create an organizational cultural change.’ The aim, Cameron continues, is to create a ‘culture of abundance.’ Cameron offers a tool kit for management teams to proactively lead and sustain positive organizational change.”


Learning from Success

Positive Links Speaker Series

Learning from Success

Ryan Quinn

February 16, 2016

Tweetable Takeaways

1. “Success is a social construction: meeting or exceeding some goal that was set for us” #POSLinks @PositiveOrg
[Click to tweet!]

2. #Gratitude & #Mindfulness as reflections of success: Orgs can co-create a comprehensive list of enablers to promote learning from success [Click to tweet!]

3. Success leads to self efficacy, which increases intrinsic motivation, aspirations, & performance #POSLinks #LearningFromSuccess @PositiveOrg [Click to tweet!]