Mindfulness at Work

21 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2012

See all articles by Michael Pirson

Michael Pirson

Fordham University - Gabelli School of Business; Humanistic Management Network; Harvard University

Date Written: December 18, 2012


Mindlessness at work has become a global touchstone of mockery and entertainers have enchanted audiences worldwide with comedies featuring mindless managers (including The Office or Office Space). Steve Currall, playing the role of Michael Scott as Regional Manager of a Dunder-Mifflin branch in Scranton, PA epitomizes mindless behavior which is characterized by a reliance on old, often outdated categories and a reduced awareness of one's social and physical world. While some argue that mindlessness is a necessity in the work environment a closer examination reveals that mindlessness is rarely, if ever, beneficial because it closes us off to possibility, freezes our responses and prevents needed change (E.; Langer & Moldoveanu, 2000; E. J. Langer, 1989). In this chapter I will outline how mindfulness can be beneficial in the work environment and in the organizational context. To do so I will give 1) a brief overview of the mindfulness notions and their convergence; 2) perspectives on mindful management; and 3) highlight organizationally relevant impacts of mindfulness with regard to a) organizational culture, b) learning and innovation, and c) decision-making.

Keywords: mindfulness, mindlessness, culture, decision-making, mindful management

JEL Classification: I00, M00

Suggested Citation

Pirson, Michael, Mindfulness at Work (December 18, 2012). Fordham University Schools of Business Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2191057 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2191057

Michael Pirson (Contact Author)

Fordham University - Gabelli School of Business ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10018
United States

Humanistic Management Network ( email )

St. Gallen

Harvard University

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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