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Keep calm and carry on : charting the effects of mindfulness on work performance Kay, Adam A.

Abstract

Interest in mindfulness in the workplace is nascent and booming. Early research has associated mindfulness with some indicators of work performance, but the relationship with numerous other performance indicators remains unexplored. Research to date also suffers from a paucity of studies that test whether mindfulness causally affects work performance, as well as the psychological mechanisms by which it does so. The present research seeks to fill these gaps by examining the effect of mindfulness on two key performance-related outcomes: (a) conflict avoidance, and (b) interpersonal organizational citizenship behaviors. In so doing, it works within the framework of affective events theory and extends it by examining the role of affect regulation on work behavior. Building upon recent theorizing that mindfulness has a multi-faceted influence on affective experience, this research also seeks to test the effect of mindfulness on two broad types of affect regulation: (a) antecedent-focused, and (b) response-focused. On the one hand, this research posits that mindfulness can serve to enhance eudaimonic well-being and the positive affect it entails, thereby increasing interpersonal organizational citizenship behaviors; on the other, it contends that mindfulness increases emotion acceptance, thereby mitigating negative affect in the face of conflict and reducing the avoidance thereof. Across two series of three multi-methods studies each, this research seeks to test these and other hypotheses in the hope of enriching and expanding the literature on mindfulness in the workplace, and to do so in ways that are methodologically original, practically relevant, and theoretically meaningful. It concludes that mindfulness can indeed improve work performance, and that a key mechanism by which it does so is through its impact on affective experience.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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