Positive Organizational Scholarship in South Asia

Call for papers for: South Asian Journal of Business Studies

This Special Issue will open on ScholarOne for submissions Januray 2020.
Deadline:  June 30th 2020

Special Issue Editors:

Dharm P S Bhawuk, University of Hawaii ([email protected])
Ashish Pandey, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay ([email protected])

Maslow coined the construct of positive psychology (1954) and visualized the creation of human oriented organizations by people pursuing self-actualization (Maslow, 1965). However, it took others three decades to pick up the thread (Seligman, 1991, 1999; Snyder, 1995).  Positive Psychology (PP) represents a paradigm focused on the strengths of people (i.e. what is right about them) rather than their weaknesses, and how people can achieve optimal functioning and full potential (Seligman, 2002).  Positive organizational behavior and scholarship had developed on the foundation of positive psychology (Luthans, 2002; Cameron & Dutton, 2003).

South Asia has a population of 1.6 billion and is a heterogeneous region in terms of religious backgrounds. The Indian/Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic traditions have profoundly shaped South Asia both historically and culturally.

The scholarly work on Indian Psychology has strong elements of positive psychology, started with the three volumes by Professor Jadunath Sinha (1933). This has been  strengthened in the scholarly work of Bhawuk, Pandey, Paranjpe, Rao, Salgame, Sinha, and others (e.g. Bhawuk, 1999, 2003 2010, 2011, 2017, Paranjpe, 1984, 1998; Pandey et. al, 2009, Rao, Paranjpe, & Dalal, 2008; Salgame, 2014; Sinha, 1980, 1995, 2014). Walsh (2000) noted that Buddhism and yoga contain insights for exceptional psychological health and post-conventional transpersonal development.

Many original contributions have come from the life-world of South Asia, which reflect the positive aspects of human functioning at micro, meso and macro levels. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan, coined the construct ‘Gross National Happiness’ (GNH) in 1972 emphasizing the non-economic aspects of human wellbeing. This was adopted in   Bhutanease constitution as an alternative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or Gross National Product (GNP). The idea was finally adopted by the UN in 2011 as a holistic approach to development.  

Professor Muhammad Yunus created the concept and practice of micro-finance in 1976 (Yunus, 1999), which led to the creation of the Grameen Bank in 1983 that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, and has 8.9 million members reaching about 20% of the population of Bangladesh.  The concept of microfinance is a positive construct since it is founded on the belief that poor people are honest and can be trusted with a loan without any collateral, which is supported by Grameen's 99.2 percent rate of recovery of loan.  Grameen Bank’s work has been replicated in various countries (Ferguson, 2007) including the United States.

Amul, founded in 1948 as a cooperative that has more than 3.6 million milk producers as members today, is a case study in positive organizational scholarship. Bhawuk, Mrazek, and Munusamy, (2009) showed how Grameen and Amul present an approach for developing a community focused organization, which is inherently positive in its philosophy and spirit as these organizations are dedicated to serving the needy and increasing the wellbeing of the community.  

Thus, there is enough foundation for positive organizational scholarship in South Asia. For this special issue we are open to conceptual and empirical papers with an open mind for indigenous, cultural, cross-cultural, comparative, and other organizational research happening at the micro, meso and macro levels addressing unexplored questions about the processes, states, and conditions that underlie and facilitate individual and collective flourishing.


We welcome both conceptual and empirical papers. We are open to quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies. Papers should be focused on and related to positive organizational scholarship (POS) in the context of South Asia. The following topics are offered as a broad guideline only.

  • The concept of ‘Positive’ (emotions, positive traits and positive institutions) as seen from the lens of South Asian traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam)
  • Flourishing at the individual level that constitutes not only flow, growth, thriving and resilience but also ahiMsA (non-violence), satya (truth), zAntiH (peace), dayA (compassion), lajjA (conscience), kSamA (forgiveness), santoSa (contentment), vairAgya (detachment), dAna (giving, generosity), yajJa (spiritual activities), tapaH (penance), adhyAtma (spirituality), and so forth,
  • Flourishing at the collective level (group and organization) that may be indicated by creativity, innovation, resilience, thriving, virtuousness, lokasaMgraha (taking care of people), yajJa (collective spiritual activities), vasudhaiva kutumbakam (the worldview of “the universe is my family”), or any marker that is representative of positive deviance i.e. above the normal range.  
  • Positive institution and governance in South Asia
  • Role of spiritual traditions and cultures of South Asia in shaping POS
  • Positive Interventions: Contemplative practices to build positive, life-generating capabilities and organizational resources
  • Positive Leadership and  Positive Education: ancient traditions and its relevance
  • Socio-Spiritual Movements and Organizations in South Asia: Implications for POS
  • Well-being and Objectives of Life in South Asian perspective: Impact on POS
  • Gross Happiness Index and Positive Governance
  • POS in South Asian context and American-European context: A Comparison

Submission Guidelines

All submissions are expected to be prepared in accordance with the guidelines of SAJBS.  In case of any queries regarding the special issue, feel free to contact the special issue editors, Dharm P S Bhawuk ([email protected]) and Ashish Pandey ([email protected]).  


Bates, W. (2009). Gross national happiness. Asian‐Pacific Economic Literature, 23(2), 1-16.
Bhawuk, D. P. S. (2017).  lajjA in Indian Psychology:  Spiritual, Social, and Literary Perspectives.  In Elisabeth Vanderheiden and Claude-Hélène Mayer (Eds.), The Value of Shame – Exploring a health resource across cultures (pp.109-134). New York: Springer.
Bhawuk, D. P. S. (2011).  Spirituality and Indian Psychology: Lessons from the Bhagavad-Gita. New York: Springer.
Bhawuk, D. P. S.  (2010).  Epistemology and Ontology of Indian Psychology:  A Synthesis of Theory, Method, and Practice.  Psychology and Developing Societies, 22 (1), pp.157-190.
Bhawuk, D. P. S. (2003).  Culture’s Influence on Creativity: The Case of Indian Spirituality.  International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27 (1), 1-22.
Bhawuk, D. P. S.  (1999).  Who Attains Peace:  An Indian Model of Personal Harmony.  Indian Psychological Review, 52 (2 & 3), 40-48.
Bhawuk, D. P. S., Mrazek, S., & Munusamy, V. P.  (2009).  From social engineering to community transformation: Amul, Grameen Bank, and Mondragon as exemplar organizations.  Peace & Policy :Ethical Transformations for a Sustainable Future, vol. 14, 36-63.
Cameron, K., & Dutton, J. (Eds.). (2003). Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Ferguson, K. M. (2007). “Implementing a social enterprise intervention with homeless, streetliving youths in Los Angeles.” Social Work, 52(2), 103-112.
Fredrickson, B. & Losada, L. (2005) Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing, American Psychologist, 60 (7) 678-686
Hertz-Bunzl, N. (2006). Financing hope: Improving microfinance. Harvard International Review, 27(4), 32.
Salagame, K. K. (2014). Positive psychology and Indian psychology: Birds of the same feather. Psychological Studies, 59(2), 116-118.
Luthans, Fred. 2002. The need for and meaning of pos- itive organizational behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior 23 (6): 695-706.
Maslow, A. H. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York, NY:Harper and Brothers.
Maslow, A. H. (1965). Eupsychian management: A journal. Homewood: RD Irwin.
Pandey, A., Gupta, R. K., & Arora, A. P. (2009). Spiritual climate of business organizations and its impact on customers’ experience. Journal of business ethics, 88(2), 313-332.
Paranjpe, A. C. (1998). Self and identity in modern psychology and Indian thought. New York: Plenum Press.
Paranjpe, A. C. (1984). Theoretical psychology: The meeting of East and West. New York: Plenum Press.
Rao, K. R. Paranjpe, A. C. &Dalal,  A. K.  (Eds.),  Handbook of Indian Psychology. New Delhi, India: Cambridge University Press.
Salagame, K. K. (2014). Positive psychology and Indian psychology: Birds of the same feather. Psychological Studies, 59(2), 116-118.
Seligman, M. (2002) Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment. New York: Free Press.
Seligman, M. E. P. (1999). The president’s address. American Psychologist, 54, 559–562.
Seligman, M.E.P. (1991). Learned optimism. New York: Knopf.
Seligman, M., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology. American Psychologist, 55, 5–14.
Sinha, J. (1933). Indian psychology (3 volume set on Cognition, Emotion, and Will). London, UK: Kegan Paul.
Sinha, J. B. P. (1980). The nurturant-task leader: A model of the effective executive. Concept.
Sinha, J. B. (1995). The cultural context of leadership and power. New Delhi: Sage.
Sinha, J. B. P. (2014). Psycho-social analysis of the Indian mindset. New Delhi: Springer India.
Snyder, C. R. (1995). Conceptualizing, measuring, and nurturing hope. Journal of Counseling & Development, 73(3), 355-360.
Walsh, R.  (2001).  Positive  psychology: East  and  West.  American  Psychologist,56,83–84.
Yunus, M. (1999). The Grameen Bank. Scientific American, 281(5), 114-119.