UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mindfulness in the workplace : what helps and what hinders Moodie, Melahnie Elena K.


Work-related stress is prevalent among many working adults and can lead to a host of detrimental health, psychological, and socio-economic consequences (Van Gordon, Shonin, Zangeneh, & Griffiths, 2014). Researchers have begun to look at the benefits of using mindfulness-based interventions in the workplace (Virgili, 2013), but they have yet to further investigate the mindfulness factors that promote or detract from work performance. To address the absence of empirical accounts in this domain, this qualitative study explored the subjective experience of participants applying mindfulness strategies in the workplace. Enhanced Critical Incident Technique (ECIT; Butterfield, Borgen, Maglio, & Amundson, 2009), a well-validated framework for data analysis and interpretation, was used to explore mindfulness factors that help or hinder effective work performance. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 participants from Google’s mindfulness-training program, Search Inside Yourself (SIY). Data analysis and interpretation identified common themes, patterns, and emerging categories among positive and negative outcomes on work performance, as well as wish list items of resources that participants felt would improve the SIY course and help them to effectively integrate mindfulness into their workplace. Among the helpful factors of integrating mindfulness, 10 categories emerged: (1) communication and interpersonal skills, (2) self-regulation, (3) optimization of performance, (4) ability to cope with stress, (5) empathy, (6) well-being, (7) self-compassion, (8) leadership skills, (9) creative and critical thinking skills, and (10) passion at work. Among the hindering factors of integrating mindfulness, four categories emerged: (1) misperceptions about mindfulness, (2) suitability, (3) time requirements, and (4) dissonance between work goals and mindfulness. To increase the trustworthiness of the research results, nine credibility checks were conducted throughout the study (Butterfield et al., 2009).

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