Toward a theory of thriving

by Coddington, Jane A., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2007, 226 pages; 3251341


A grounded theory research design, including both qualitative and quantitative data, was used to explore the lives of high thrivers, eliciting proposed and definition and factors of thriving and creating a foundation for a theory of thriving. The central research question addressed in this study addresses this need: What are the dimensions of the sustained thriving over time? Fourteen factors emerged that fall under four super domains (Self with a capital "S," Connections with a capital "C," The P's---path, purpose and passion, and Abundance Mindset) which together create a theoretical basis for thriving in adults. The proposed definition is: Thriving in adults is an expression of internal coherence and the alignment of the authentic self that grows and develops over time. It is passionately expressed through a sense of path and purpose, characterized by deeply felt connections to other people and a greater whole, and fueled by a sureness of abundant possibility. The study contributes to the body of literature in positive psychology, specifically its goal of helping people to live thriving lives. It also relates to and builds upon Maslow's work on self-actualizing, adding to and broadening an understanding of what living and expressing an actualized self may look like and then identifying additional factors as the distinct construct of thriving. The results have application in organizational settings, as well as with individuals. The results of this study suggest a strong link between thriving and psychological well-being, indicating that an understanding of thriving may be a key to increasing individual well-being. The notion of thriving also has significant implication in organizations and for leadership. The results imply a connection between both thriving and servant-leadership, and thriving and notion of mastery. Thriving appears to be as much about allowing, balance and emergence as it is about doing, distinguishing it from alternative ways of operating which are striving and driving. Understanding thriving in individuals will contribute to understanding and developing thriving organizations.

AdviserDeborah Vogele-Welch
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Occupational psychology
Publication Number3251341

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