Positive Organizational Psychology

Verbredende minor
10 weken


It is currently widely recognized that for organizations to flourish, be successful and have competitive advantage on the market, employees play a crucial role. In a fast changing and competitive environment, organizations’ performance largely depends on the dedicated, engaged and proactive behaviours of their employees at work. Organizations can no longer ignore the bottom-up processes of employees creating their own jobs, innovating daily work processes, or even creating entirely new organizational units. Modern organizations need to stimulate such positive organizational behaviours through invigorating job design and leadership. Building on a positive organizational perspective, this minor will unravel how organisations can build an engaged and proactive workforce. Examples of topics that will be covered are employees’ psychological capital, work engagement, positive emotions, employee and team performance, proactive work behaviour (job crafting and corporate entrepreneurship), positive human resource management, leadership, strengths use, coaching, and mindfulness.

This minor provides students who are interested in work and organizational psychology a unique opportunity to learn about the latest insights from the fields of positive organizational psychology, positive organizational behaviour and organizational health psychology, applied to relevant issues in performance management, personnel selection, and human resource management. The minor has unique added value to the knowledge gained in economics and business administration.

Learning objectives

Students will gain knowledge and understanding of:
1) Personal resources (psychological capital, positive emotions) and their role in organizational settings, such as their relationship with team performance.
2) The relationships between job design, work engagement and employee health and well-being.
3) Predictors and outcomes of employees’ proactive work behaviour (e.g., job crafting, idiosyncratic deals (I-deals), and employee corporate entrepreneurial behaviour).
4) Positive human resource practices. What HR practices contribute to both high performance and sustainable employability?
5) Leadership. How can leaders inspire and empower their followers, and how can leaders contribute to follower well-being and performance?
6) Strengths use. How can employees identify their strengths, and how can they apply their strengths in their daily work?
7) Coaching. How can we make a team out of a group of individuals? And how can we coach employees to empower themselves and optimize their job performance?
8) Mindfulness. How can mindfulness help to cope with job stress and psychological detachment from work during off-job hours?

Special aspects

The minor will be open for international students. For this reason, all the material and activities will be in English. The language used in all tutorial groups will in principle be English. The exam will be in English only, however, it will be possible to answer open ended questions on the exam in Dutch.

Students from all educational backgrounds are admissible for this minor. Students who do not have a background in problem-based learning (PBL) will need to be aware of the fact that the didactical model of PBL will be used in this course. Before the course, a short introduction will be provided in PBL for these students.

Overview minor modules


Module 1: Engaged Employees in Flourishing Organizations

  • Code: FSWP-MINOR-2A
  • ECTS:  7.5
  • Content:The first Module of this Minor focuses on optimizing human potential in the workplace through designing positive, healthy and invigorating work environments. Students will learn about the role of personal resources and emotions in predicting job performance. Next, students will learn about activating jobs that create opportunities for personal growth, stimulate work engagement and employee proactive work behaviour (such as job crafting and employee intrapreneurship). Students will also learn how positive organizational psychology can be used to prevent employee burnout. This part will conclude with implications for Positive Human Resource Practices.
  • Teaching methods: Problem Based learning: Tutorial groups, self-study and lectures
  • Teaching materials: Recent journal articles and book chapters, provided on the internet.
  • Contact hours: 5 hours per week.
  • Self study:  35 hours per week.

    Module 2: Employee Empowerment

    • Code: FSWP-MINOR-2A
    • ECTS:  7.5
    • Content: The second Module focuses on employee empowerment. Employees who feel self-efficacious and able to use their strengths are more likely to feel enthusiastic about their work, with optimal performance as a consequence. The role of the leader is taken into account as well. A constructive leader can offer social support and is able to coach followers towards goal attainment. Transformational leaders inspire their followers, and stimulate followers intellectually. Additionally, leaders can help their followers to identify their strengths, and apply these strengths in their work. Recently, scholars brought the mindfulness concept to the work floor. Mindfulness contributes to recovery from work during off job hours, but can also help cope with job stress.
    • Teaching method: Problem Based learning: Tutorial groups, self-study and lectures
    • Teaching materials: Recent journal articles and book chapters, provided on the internet.
    • Contact hours: 5 hours per week.
    • Self study: 35 hours per week.


    Method of examination
    Both modules will be concluded with a final exam consisting of True / False and open-end Questions. The grades of both modules count equally in the final grade. The exam is in English, but Dutch students are allowed to answer in Dutch to the open ended questions.

    In order for students to pass the course, both parts of the exam need to be graded with 5.0 or higher, and the average of both grades needs to be 5.5 or higher. That means students can to some extent compensate insufficient grades for one part of the minor.

    Composition of final grade
    The final grade is the average of the grades for Module 1 and Module 2.

    Students will be offered the possibility to review their answers for each part of the exam shortly after the grades have been announced.


    Contact information

    dr. W.G.M. (Wido) Oerlemans


    Faculty website

    Verbredende minor
    10 weken
    Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Studiepunten (EC)
    Campus Woudestein


    Please read the application procedure for more information. 

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