How Can We Manage to Be Happy?

Document Type


Publication Date



Business | Organizational Behavior and Theory


Management bridges people, enabling us to build sustainable organizations and societies that foster human flourishing. Surveys have consistently shown that Danes are the happiest workers in the world. The Bhutanese prefer to see their country judged by how high they are on a Gross National Happiness index rather than a Gross National Product index. Their approach to defining sustainable societal wealth is gaining interest internationally. To what can we attribute so much happiness in two such disparate parts of the world, and what can we learn from them? This paper explores what happiness is and how conceptions of it and frameworks for it have evolved. It addresses what it means to find joy in our work and management’s responsibility to help those whose work we are responsible for coordinating to find it. To do so it integrates cultural comparisons and organizational, theoretical and applied frameworks involved in fostering such a shift. In particular it emphasizes the earlier work of Mary Parker Follett, Peter Drucker, W. Edwards Deming and Abraham Maslow, along with the contemporary “Appreciative Inquiry” work of David Cooperrider, Suresh Shrivastva and colleagues.


Date of publication is unknown.