ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2024, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (6): 981-994.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2024.00981

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The interpersonal effects and mechanisms of workplace mindfulness

LIU Xia, WEI Wu   

  1. Economics and Management School, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
  • Received:2023-06-10 Online:2024-06-15 Published:2024-04-07

Abstract: The vast majority of research on workplace mindfulness to date has focused on its intrapersonal effects, such as improving stress management, cognitive resource recovery, emotion regulation, well-being, and job performance at work. However, this predominant focus on intrapersonal effects has limited our knowledge of how mindfulness is related to interpersonal interactions, which are common in the workplace. Researchers have increasingly emphasized the fact that mindfulness can also benefit interpersonal processes and outcomes in the workplace; thus, it is necessary to develop an integrated overview of the interpersonal effects of workplace mindfulness with the goal of identifying valuable opportunities for the theoretical development and practical application of workplace mindfulness in the interpersonal domain.
In this paper, we review evidence concerning the interpersonal mechanisms and outcomes associated with workplace mindfulness, thereby making novel contributions to the mindfulness literature. To begin, we summarize the conceptual development trends of workplace mindfulness with the goal of addressing the concerns expressed by scholars regarding the clarity of this notion in terms of conceptualization, measurement, and application in the workplace. We propose that the conceptual development trends of workplace mindfulness can be categorized into outcome-oriented and process-oriented trends. While the former category focuses on the congruence between concepts and measurements in the work context, thereby promoting beneficial outcomes, the latter category emphasizes the process mechanism of workplace mindfulness during interpersonal interactions. By presenting the conceptual foundations and trends associated with this topic, our review work can provide effective guidance for future research and interpersonal applications at work.
Next, we organize the findings concerning the interpersonal outcomes of workplace mindfulness into quality-related outcomes and function-related outcomes. Quality-related outcomes refer to feelings and perceptions of interaction quality or relationship quality that emerge during the interpersonal interaction process, primarily including relationship quality, interaction quality, and relationship satisfaction. Function-related outcomes refer to the behavioral responses that emerge during the interpersonal process, such as cooperation, conflict, citizenship behavior, and deviant behavior. With regard to the outcome-oriented trend, workplace mindfulness can be connected to both quality-related and function-related outcomes, whereas with respect to the process-oriented trend, workplace mindfulness pertains primarily to quality-related outcomes.
Then, we propose that connections are the core links underlying the interpersonal effects of workplace mindfulness since mindful people can consciously invest in and allocate attention to interpersonal interactive processes in real time, thereby establishing positive connections between themselves and others with the goal of promoting interdependent work. In this context, four types of interpersonal connections are identified that can interpret the relationships between workplace mindfulness and interpersonal outcomes: (1) intellectual connections that capture information through open attention to the task of coordinating interdependent work during interactions; (2) emotional connections that reduce the self-inference of both internal and external emotional experiences and strengthen connections with others in terms of belonging, support, and care; (3) resource connections that promote resource accumulation and mitigate resource loss during interactions; and (4) exchange connections that direct the flow of resources and influence people’s willingness to engage in value exchange. We further contend that intellectual and emotional connections could play dominant roles in this context by enhancing these interaction patterns and that resource and exchange connections could play supporting roles in this process by reflecting the psychological experience. Moreover, given that organizational work depends on interactions, connections, and communication among subjects at multiple levels, such as employees, leaders, and groups, our research framework distinguishes among the different interpersonal connection mechanisms of employee mindfulness, leader mindfulness, and team mindfulness, thereby enriching the integrated perspective of the literature on workplace mindfulness and interpersonal relationships.
Overall, by explaining how workplace mindfulness influences the connections and outcomes of interpersonal interactions, our work advances beyond extant reviews of the literature on mindfulness, which has focused predominantly on the cognitive functions of workplace mindfulness, thereby opening up promising opportunities for future research. First, future research could investigate the potential interpersonal processes and mechanisms associated with workplace mindfulness in the contexts of digitalization and artificial intelligence; second, scholars could enrich cross-cutting knowledge in the field of telecommuting and workplace mindfulness; and third, it is necessary to establish organizational cultures based on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and to improve stigma management by focusing on the integration of mindfulness into leadership and employee management practices.

Key words: mindfulness, workplace, interpersonal effect, connection mechanism

CLC Number: