Small Acts of Kindness Benefit Receivers, Givers, AND Organizations

New research published in the journal Emotion studied acts of altruism within an organization and demonstrated how acts of kindness ripple throughout the company.

Findings also indicated that giving was itself rewarding, and on some indicators more rewarding than receiving. The givers saw the same benefits as the receivers experienced plus givers enjoyed higher levels of life and job satisfaction, and fewer depressive symptoms.

Another interesting note was that the study showed that receivers didn’t just enjoy acts of kindness, but they ‘paid it forward.’ In fact, by the end of the study, the receivers reported engaging in nearly three times more prosocial behaviors than did the study control population. 

Although there are individual origins of prosocial behavior, findings support that there is also a strong contagious quality. Just as negativity, rudeness, and even behaviors like smoking and overeating move socially through groups, in much the way positivity, kindness, and prosocial acts are also contagious. 

We definitely found this in our research on the impact workplace interactions had on well-being.  Employees reported negativity permeating all aspects of the job and into their personal lives. Findings also indicated that positive interactions were also just as contagious and impacted all dimensions of well-being.  The quality of interactions in the workplace matter!

As Adam Grant stated, “Small, kind gestures – freely chosen – can create virtuous cycles in organizations”.

Small Acts of Kindness at Work

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