MULTIDISCIPLINARY THEORETICAL PARADIGM: POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY

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CHAPTER TWO THE MULTIDISCIPLINARY CONTEXT OF THE THESIS

 INTRODUCTION

My study initially originated from practical experience or what can be regarded as a non-scientific idea. In Chapter 1, I contextualised the study and explained how my pragmatic interest developed into a scientific endeavour. I also presented in Chapter 1 the background and rationale linked with the research problem and the aim of this study, its anticipated contributions and an outline of the chapters of the thesis.
In Chapter 2, I delineate the meta-theoretical boundaries and lenses that impacted the methodological choices in the study, as well as my interpretations of the data. In this regard, Chapter 2 presents the multidisciplinary conceptual framework that was fundamental to the meaning-making in this study. This conceptual framework was initially presented as Figure 1.2 in Chapter 1. Here, I elaborate on the meaning of each frame presented in Figure 1.2.
I commence with an explanation of the overarching multidisciplinary theoretical paradigm, which contains the meta-theoretical lenses underpinning this study. Positive psychology as the theoretical paradigm, was, apart from my personal background and my exploration of the three world views of science, a primary driver leading me to opt for a multidisciplinary approach. I then discuss the meta-theory, meta-constructs and intervention approach as contextualised in each of the three disciplines relevant to this research.

 MULTIDISCIPLINARY THEORETICAL PARADIGM: POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY

Positive psychology has been studied vigorously in the past and embraces optimal psychological experience and functioning (Cilliers, 2011; Csikszentmihalyi, 2003; 2004; Deci & Ryan, 2006; Duckworth et al., 2005; Kwan, 2010; Peterson et al., 2005; Peterson Positive psychology has scientifically influenced various disciplines (such as psychology, economics, sociology, anthropology) in order to distinguish the understanding of human experiences relating to loss, suffering, illness and distress (the ill-being model) through connection, fulfilment and health (well-being model) (Linley et al., 2006). Based on Frankl’s view on health, Wong (2004) argues that professionals should recognise the physical, psychological, and spiritual needs of people as being a core part of healing in human beings. Similarly, Becker and McPeck (2013) opine that while risk reduction and health maintenance are noble intentions, there is a need to shift toward positive health potential that could enhance physical, mental and social capabilities. Gable and Haidt (2005) argue for a balanced positive psychology focus (a focus on well-being and on distress).
The aim of positive psychology is to increase the extent of flourishing in an employee’s own life and within the world (Seligman, 2011, p. 27). Biswas-Diener (2009) points out that positive psychology resides in the study of subjective well-being, flow, optimism and other positive human features and behaviour. Similarly, Keyes (2010) in his model of complete mental health, ascribes flourishing to emotional (i.e. happiness and life satisfaction), social and psychological well-being. Lomas and Ivtzan (2016) introduce a second wave of positive psychology to future scholarship on the nature of well-being (i.e. flourishing depends on the dialectic interaction of positive and negative aspects of life).
WellPeople is an online wellness programme with a focus on a whole person wellness solution, that originated from the work on wellness by Dr John Travis, the founder of the first wellness centre in the United States in 1975 (Travis, 2004, 2008; Travis & Ryan, 2004). With reference to Figure 2.1 below, the illness-wellness continuum by Travis and Ryan (2004) is a professional tool for distinguishing between ill-being (a paradigm for treating and curing an illness) and well-being (a paradigm for enhancing high-level wellness through three learning processes, namely, awareness, education and growth) and spans across the multiple disciplines of note here, IOP, HRM and Theology.
Figure 2.1 depicts the complete state of mental health that Travis and Ryan (2004) proposes by integrating the two continua of illness and wellness in one, demonstrating a point where there is no discernible evidence of illness or wellness. At this point, signs of pathology may be low but it does not mean that the individual is flourishing.
The reason I depict wellness in Figure 2.1, on the one continuum in reference to Travis and Ryan (2004) is to gain a holistic sense of well-being (or complete state of mental health) and to highlight the positive psychology perspective on enhancing well-being. In this regard, I take cognisance of the two continua model of Keyes (2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2016) which postulates complete mental health as constituting the absence of mental illness plus the presence of well-being. Thus rather than mental health and illness constituting the opposite poles on a single bipolar continuum, “confirmatory factor analysis supported the hypothesis that measures of mental health (i.e., emotional, psychological, and social well-being) and mental illness (i.e., major depressive episode, generalized anxiety, panic disorder, and alcohol dependence) constitute separate correlated unipolar dimensions” together as a complete state of mental health (Keyes, 2005, p. 539).
Keyes (2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2016) also made invaluable contributions in advancing the concept of flourishing (which I expand on later in this chapter). In positive psychology, ongoing debates regarding whether the focus should be on both of the continuums of illness and wellness in order to experience quality in life have resulted in a paradigmatic shift (Linley et al., 2006; Meyers & Sweeney, 2007) to the promotion of positive well-being. Seligman et al. (2004) moreover emphasise that well-being is a way to nurture individuals and communities rather than to treat illness.
To fully understand the complexity of life (Lomas & Ivtzan, 2016; Wong, 2011), positive psychology has shaped the discipline of psychology so as to focus on both strengths and weaknesses and thus to create an interest in building the best things in life as to repair the worst. By acknowledging an integrated body of knowledge, positive psychology has changed the language and landscape of mainstream psychology (Gable & Haidt, 2005; Linley et al., 2006; Lomas & Ivtzan, 2016; Niemiec, 2018; Wong, 2011) of which IOP is regarded as a sub-discipline. Duckworth et al. (2005, p. 630) articulate the label for positive psychology as follows:
[P]ersons who carry even the weightiest psychological burdens care about much more in their lives than just the relief of their suffering. Troubled persons want more satisfaction, contentment, and joy, not just less sadness and worry. They want to build their strengths, not just correct their weaknesses. And, they want lives imbued with meaning and purpose. These states do not come about automatically simply when suffering is removed. Furthermore, the fostering of positive emotion and the building of character may help – both directly and indirectly – to alleviate suffering and to undo its root causes.
Positive psychology creates a shared and different language orientation through which to understand stories of people from positive states, traits, and outcomes in relation to each other and the building of character to alleviate ill-being (Linley et al., 2006). Positive psychology according to Biswas-Diener (2009) reinstates psychological interventions in order to study subjective well-being, flow, optimism and other positive aspects of human behaviour (as stated earlier in my evolving interest that prompted the current study). This paradigm shift has caused a number of researchers and practitioners to focus their research and practice only on positive topics such as personal strengths, health, well-being and optimal functioning (Biswas-Diener et al., 2011; Linley et al., 2006; Peterson et al., 2005). Wong (2004, 2011) accordingly criticises positive psychology (keeping in mind the one-sided focus on the positive realities of life) for being a ‘black-and-white’ thinking style that denies ill-being:
[It is] the artificial dichotomous thinking of positive versus negative psychology. Such distinction served a strategic function to launch the positive psychological movement. It is also a useful short-hand to differentiate between two different motivational systems (approach vs. avoidance) or two emotional systems (positive affect vs. negative affect). However, in the final analysis, most psychological phenomena cannot be properly understood without considering both positive and negative experiences. Emotional experiences are often complex, involving a mixture of positive and negative elements.
Keyes’ (2010) explanation however demonstrates that positive psychology may not necessarily contradict negative experience; it just represents a different way of looking at behaviour positively with the aim to enhance well-being. In reflecting on the value of regarding illness and wellness on two separate continua, new ways of achieving total mental health (flourishing) is thought of because “treatments that aim to lower the bad do not necessarily increase the good” (Keyes, 2010, p. 105). In addition, positive psychology may be viewed as a study to create an understanding of well-being with an emphasis on the causes of a better life and higher productivity instead of the causes of problems (Becker, 2013; Becker & McPeck, 2013).
Gable and Haidt (2005) argue that positive psychology may be viewed as a study of conditions and processes that contribute to the flourishing or optimal functioning of people, groups and institutions. Nevertheless, the summary of positive psychology by Wong (2011, p. 72) seemed appropriate to create a holistic understanding about pastors’ well-being experiences within this multidisciplinary research study:
The focus on what is good about people in times of peace and prosperity is only half of the story. The whole story of PP5 is about how to bring out the best in people in good and bad times in spite of their internal and external limitations.
In my opinion, it is important to consider the holistic influences on employees’ well-being and productivity despite any internal and external limitations. HRM relies heavily on the meta-theoretical foundations of IOP. Lately, a holistic perspective has enabled scholars to embrace well-being from a cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual perspective (Kirsten, Van der Walt & Viljoen, 2009; Koen et al., 2012; Marques et al., 2013; Wong, 2004). Wong (2011) highlights people’s struggles to survive and flourish despite lacking one or more of the four positive psychological pillars: virtue, meaning, resilience and well-being. Therefore, in relation to peoples’ struggles to survive and flourish in their work or life endeavours, one needs to be cautious about inappropriate philosophies of life and skewed perceptions and expectations of life (Louw, 2014a, 2014b) within all three disciplines.

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CHAPTER ONE  CONTEXTUALISING THE STUDY
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 BACKGROUND TO AND RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY
1.3 RESEARCH PROBLEM
1.4 RESEARCH AIM AND OPEN-ENDED QUESTION
1.5 FROM NON-SCIENCE TO SCIENCE: A MULTIDISCIPLINARY FRAMEWORK AND METHODOLOGICAL ORIENTATION
1.6 CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE STUDY
1.7 OUTLINE OF THE CHAPTERS IN THE THESIS
1.8 SUMMARY
CHAPTER TWO  THE MULTIDISCIPLINARY CONTEXT OF THE THESIS
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 MULTIDISCIPLINARY THEORETICAL PARADIGM: POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
2.3 INDUSTRIAL AND ORGANISATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
2.4 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
2.5 PRACTICAL THEOLOGY
2.6 SUMMARY
CHAPTER THREE  LANDSCAPING THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 IDENTIFYING THE SCIENTIFIC BUILDING BLOCKS THAT CONSTITUTE A RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.3 EPISTEMOLOGICAL BELIEFS AND ONTOLOGICAL ASSUMPTIONS
3.4 AN INTERPRETIVE PRAGMATIC THEORETICAL PARADIGM PERSPECTIVE
3.5 MY APPROACH TO THEORY IN THIS STUDY
3.6 A QUALITATIVE RESEARCH INQUIRY
3.7 RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES (IQA, NARRATIVE SYNTHESIS AND AUTOETHNOGRAPHIC REFLECTION)
3.8 MY STRIVING FOR ETHOS IN THIS STUDY
3.9 MY MISSION TO ENSURE QUALITY DATA IN THIS THESIS
3.10 SUMMARY
CHAPTER FOUR  RESEARCH DESIGN
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 IQA AS FUNDAMETNAL RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
4.3 NARRATIVE SYNTHESIS
4.4 AN AUTOETHNOGRAPHIC REFLECTIVE WRITING STRATEGY
4.5 SUMMARY
CHAPTER FIVE  REPORTING OF IQA DATA AND RESULTS
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 THE CONSTITUENCIES IN THIS STUDY
5.3 FOCUS GROUP ENGAGEMENT AND ANALYSIS OF IQA DATA: AFFINITY PRODUCTION
5.5 SUMMARY
CHAPTER SIX  MAPPING AND NARRATIVE SYNTHESIS OF IQA DATA
6.1 INTRODUCTION
6.2 THE ANALYTIC PROCESS IN THE NARRATIVE SYNTHESIS
6.3 THEMES EMERGING FROM A NARRATIVE SYNTHESIS OF THE IQA RESULTS
6.4 CONCEPT-MAPPING THEMES IN A SYNTHESISED SID
6.4 SUMMARY
CHAPTER SEVEN  SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING: THE MISSING NARRATIVE IN PASTORS’  FLOURISHING IN THE MINISTRY
7.1 INTRODUCTION
7.2 A DATA-DRIVEN AND META-THEORETICAL RATIONALE FOR SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING
7.3 FEATURES OF SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING TO FLOURISH AT WORK
7.4 WORKING HYPOTHESIS FOR SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING AS A DIMENSION OF FLOURISHING AT WORK
7.5 SUMMARY
CHAPTER EIGHT  A COACHING MODEL TO CARE FOR AND OPTIMISE PASTORS’ WELL-BEING 
8.1 INTRODUCTION
8.2 A COACHING MODEL TO CARE FOR PASTORS’ SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING
8.3 TALENT MANAGEMENT: AN HRM PERSPECTIVE AND ORGANISATIONAL ORIENTATION TO COACHING IN THE MINISTRY
8.4 SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING COACHING FOR KHULISA ABANTU CURA ANIMARUM OF THE MORUTI
8.5 SUMMARY
CHAPTER NINE  THE END WITH NEW BEGINNINGS: A REFLECTION OF THIS STUDY
9.1 INTRODUCTION
9.2 REFLECTING ON WHAT TRANSPIRED IN THIS THESIS
9.3 CONCLUSIONS
9.4 STRENGHTS, PROBLEMS/LIMITATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
9.5 SUMMARY
LIST OF REFERENCES
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