Well-being in the workplace through interaction between individual characteristics and organizational context

Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being. 2013 Feb 18:8. doi: 10.3402/qhw.v8i0.19823.


Well-being in the workplace is considered by many authors to be the outcome of the interaction between individual characteristics and those of the working and organizational environment. This study aims to understand the significance attributed to the concept of well-being in the workplace by employees, its influencing factors, and, among those, the role of individual psychological characteristics. The research was conducted on a sample of 72 employees using a qualitative approach based on focus groups and individual interviews. Data analysis was performed by a paper and pencil technique. The focus groups and interviews collected 628 statements, which were divided into three main areas: meaning of well-being in the workplace (248), any kind factors that affect well-being in the workplace (158), and individual characteristics that affect well-being in the workplace (222). The individual characteristics identified by the participants as capable of influencing well-being in the workplace include being positive, communication, management of difficulties and conflicts, socio-emotional skills, and values. The research was limited by the participants involved and by the sole use of the paper and pencil technique of data analysis. Results highlight that well-being in the workplace does not depend exclusively on external conditions in terms of the working and organizational environment within which the individual operates: so, it could be promoted not only from above, through actions by management, but also from below, influencing individual traits and behaviours. Results would be useful for developing training, workplace counselling, and organizational development activities aimed to support small groups, leaders, and other strategic players in the construction of the subsystems of well-being in the workplace.

Keywords: Communication; emotion in organizations; employee attitudes; organizational behaviour; organizational psychology; organizational well-being; personality; work environment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication
  • Employment / psychology*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Personality
  • Personnel Management
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace / organization & administration
  • Workplace / psychology*
  • Young Adult