What is the value of cultivating companionate love within your organisation?
Love evokes sensations and ideas that span multiple cultures and generations in ways that are very much connected to a common song, and also worlds apart: some love a little, some love a lot, some confuse love and lust, some equate love with romance, others with companionship and family connection, and some base love on conditions, while others love unconditionally.
When I address love in the corporate world, I speak of ‘companionate love’, which you may equate to the love of a good friend; a love fostered over time, characterized by feelings of affection, intimacy and commitment. This article outlines what companionate love looks like in an organisation and the value to the organisation of cultivating loving qualities.
The value of Love in the workplace:
When Mandy O’Neill, an assistant professor in the George Mason University School of Management, carried out research (‘What’s Love got to do with it: The Influence of a culture of companionate love in the long-term care setting') with the University of Pennsylvania management professor Sigal Barsade, they demonstrated that “companionate love” in the workplace boosts teamwork and job satisfaction and leads to less burnout and absenteeism.
The study surveyed 185 employees, 108 residents and 42 family members of the residents. The embedded researchers rated the culture of love each time they spent at least 20 minutes in a particular unit of the facility. Employees and administrators also rated the emotional culture in the various units. The researchers found that employees in the more compassionate units showed greater engagement and less withdrawal than their colleagues elsewhere in the facility.
Barsade and O’Neill also surveyed 3,201 employees from 17 organizations in seven industries, including financial services, real estate, engineering and higher education, and the results were the same; the people who worked in a culture where they felt free to express affection, tenderness, caring, and compassion for one another were more satisfied with their jobs, committed to the organization, and accountable for their performance.
In a 2016 study on preferences in leadership style, it was found that 70% would prefer a ‘collaborative & supportive’ working environment, while 26% would prefer a ‘task-focused and goal-oriented’ working environment.
The challenges to growing a loving corporate culture: More companies are beginning to understand the benefits of monitoring employees’ emotions and are concluding that a culture of love can generate a brand of loyalty and commitment that is good for business, however, the reality of fostering this culture can be a challenge.
The process of integration:
Love in the corporate world is long overdue, the time is now to facilitate the emergence of care, compassion and kindness, and the beauty of this process is that every single person has the power to make the choice and the personal changes to facilitate the emerge and growth of a beautiful new world.
Preston Williams (2014) ‘Companionate Love’ in the Workplace Heightens Happiness, Productivity’ George Mason University News
Sigal Barsade and Olivia A O'Neil (2014 )Employees Who Feel Love Perform Better. Harvard Business Review,
Fiona Beddoes-Jones, PhD (2017)Love Is The Answer: A New Model of Corporate Love in the Workplace. Occupational Psychology Division of The Bristish Psychological Society
Ryan L Nlelmec (2017) Love in the Workplace? Yes! Why and how love and other strengths are important at work. Psychology Today Magazine
Would you like to explore how to integrate a loving culture within your organisation?
Get in touch to arrange a complimentary call to explore what this could look like:
Antonia Behan - Coaching Psychologist BSc MSc MICF PCC MBPsS
0034 620 741 361 firstname.lastname@example.org www.antoniabehan.com