Courage in Organizations

Monica C. Worline

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Courage in Organizations

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  • Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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Even everyday work has powerful consequences—a loan officer who houses a mother and her children, a teacher who moves a vulnerable student—consequences that demand courage. Courage crosses disciplinary, industrial, cultural, and historical boundaries as a cherished virtue that is necessary to social order. This chapter reviews recent research that reinforces the necessity and value of courage as a fundamental pattern of action in organizations. Necessary elements of that pattern include the simultaneous expression of individuation, an individual’s ability to stand apart from the crowd; and involvement, an individual’s ability to internalize the values and aims of the collective. The chapter demonstrates that understanding courage as part of organizational life involves research that taps these two important dimensions, and it offers suggestions for future research to expand our understanding of the antecedents and consequences of this pattern in organizational behavior.

Keywords: Courage; self-efficacy; leadership; emotion; prosocial behavior; conformity

Article.  8709 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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