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Contaduría y administración

versão impressa ISSN 0186-1042

Contad. Adm vol.63 no.4 México Out./Dez. 2018 


Effects of organizational climate and psychosocial risks on happiness at work

Francisco Javier Díaz Pincheira1  * 

Moisés Esteban Carrasco Garcés1 

1Universidad de Concepción, Chile.


This study check factors of work climate and psychosocial risks, and how these affect the happiness at the organizational. For this, we measured three variables (happiness, work climate and psychosocial risks) with their respective dimensions in a sample of 107 workers in the area of education in the city of Los Angeles, Chile. We applied three scales previously validated in the national average and ranked the happiness levels in ranges high and low; also we applied a binomial probit model to establish the relationships between the variables of climate organizational and psychosocial risks. The main results describe that the high levels of organizational happiness are explained by jobs with high performance standards, where workers are positively reinforced and there is flexibility with family needs.

Keywords: Accruals; Organizational happiness; organizational climate; psychosocial risks

JEL Classification: M10; M12; M19


The sustainable development of the organization must consider the social, economic, and ecologic aspects; however, the psychosocial aspect has been frequently neglected in studies (Posada and Aguilar, 2012). In recent years, positive organizational psychology has developed new variables that affect the development of people within the organization, with happiness being one of these new dimensions for analysis. Therefore, happiness is key in the quality of life of people, be it in the personal or organizational area, facilitating the creation of better interpersonal relations, increasing the persistence in the achievement of goals, productivity, creativity, innovation, job satisfaction, and the intrinsic motivation within the company (Fernández, 2015). Baker, Greenberg and Hemingway (2006) have indicated that organizational happiness is a strategic management element in the area of human resources. In view of this, it is necessary to develop this construct and to identify the elements, both at the personal and organizational levels, that permit happiness at work. Fisher (2010) indicates that the concept of organizational happiness entails job satisfaction, but that it is broader than that, as it considers being involved with the organization and its functions. The objective of this research is to know the dimensions of the organizational environment and the psychosocial risk factors that affect organizational happiness. Finally, we seek to increase the knowledge on the organizational factors that have an impact on happiness at work.

Review of the literature

Happiness has been defined as a positive internal experience that entails a pleasant emotion, satisfaction with life, absence of negative emotions, self-fulfillment, and personal growth (Andrews and Withey, 1976; Ryff, 1989). Moyano and Ramos (2007) argue that happiness is an emotional state in people, which seems to be cognitively fed by reflection on their general satisfaction with life and by the frequency of intensity with which positive emotions are felt. Historically, it was believed that the happiest countries were those that had a higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and a higher per capita income. However, several researches have presented the opposite effect, where an objective improvement of material conditions in the lives of people (health, education, economy) did not necessarily bring about an advancement in the levels of happiness (Veenhoven, 1994; Diener, 1984; Lyubomirsky 2007). Layard (2005) provides evidence of this, indicating a negative relation between an increase in wealth and a decrease in happiness in the developed world, where economic growth does not automatically increase social harmony. This phenomenon has been replicated at an organizational level and the trend of current literature on the positive aspects of individuals in organizations has focused on happiness (Pashoal, Torres and Porto, 2010). The basis of happiness in the organization are emotions and organizational behavior, that is, organizational happiness is the result of strategic thinking (Baker et al., 2006). The same authors indicate that in happy organizations, the collaborators and directors are effectively and emotionally involved with the organization, considering work as a happy occupation, indicating that in happy organizations collaborators have a positive attitude and a high motivation to work. Silverblatt (2010) indicates that those employees who are not happy with their work cost millions to the economy, mainly through the loss of productivity. The author considers that promoting happiness in employees is of utmost importance and that positive emotions tend to act as an antidote for negative emotions, so if the collaborator learns to increase the levels of positive emotions, then they will feel less stressed and more resilient. Fisher (2010) also indicates that the concept of organizational happiness considers dimensions such as the participation of the professionals in the organization, their job satisfaction, and positive commitment with the organization. Baker et al (2006), based on case studies, indicate that in happy organization, collaborators are more creative and capable of creating changes and attempting to transform possibilities into real solutions that contribute to the sustainability of the organization. For their part, the leaders motivate the creation of an environment that will promote collaboration, cooperation and responsibility to innovate, fostering teamwork and positivism. Hosie, Sevastos and Cooper (2007), in a research work with 400 professionals in Australia, found positive correlations between the performance of the organization and happier employees. The applied model considers dimensions that evaluate professional happiness with regard to personal characteristics, characteristics of the job functions, the definition of objectives, work flow, balance between work and family, and job satisfaction. It has also been indicated that happiness at work can also be associated with greater work creativity and an increase of prosocial conducts with coworkers and clients, generating, as a result, fewer indices of counterproductive conducts (Rodríguez and Sanz 2013). Dutschk (2013), in a study carried out in Portugal, managed to identify eight factors of organizational happiness through a factor analysis, these being: personal development, recognition and respect, work environment, objectives, balance with social life, influence and support from superiors, commitment with the organization, and safety. Job satisfaction has also been frequently related to the general levels of happiness (Bowling, Eschleman and Wang, 2010; Erdogan, Bauer, Trujillo and Mansfield, 2012). In their meta-analysis of job satisfaction and subjective well-being, Bowling et al (2010) found that job satisfaction was positively associated with life satisfaction and happiness. Statuf, Monteiro, Pereira, Esgalhado Afonso and Loureiro (2016), in a study with 971 people in Portugal, pointed that job satisfaction is strongly linked to happiness and the emotional dimension of health; for its part, a high job satisfaction increases the probabilities of reporting good levels of energy, increases the quality and quantity of social interactions and provides workers with additional protection against anxiety, depression and loss of emotional and behavioral control. Wright and Cropanzano (2004, cited by Moccia, 2016) showed that with a higher level of happiness and positive emotions in workers, the stronger the link between job satisfaction, execution and results. The first variable analyzed was work environment and its effects on organizational happiness. Work or organizational environment is defined as the shared perceptions of organizational politics, practices and procedures, both formal and informal (Rousseau, 1988; Reichers and Schneider, 1990). In this manner, there may be multiple environments within the same organization, as life in the organization may vary with regard to the perceptions of the members according to the levels of the same, their different work places or the different units within the same workplace (Litwin and Stringer, 1968; Schneider and Hall, 1972). James and James (1989, cited by Hernández, Méndez and Contreras, 2014) characterized five primary domains of the perceptions on work environment: 1) characteristics of the job: autonomy, challenge, and importance of the task; 2) characteristics of the position: ambiguity, conflict, and overload; 3) leadership characteristics: emphasis on goals, support, and rising influence; 4) teamwork and social characteristics of the environment: cooperation, pride, and warmth; 5) attributes of the organization and the subsystem or department: innovation, openness to information, and a reward and recognition system. For their part, Koyts and Decottis (1991) included the following as dimensions in organizational environment: autonomy, cohesion, equity, pressure, innovation, recognition, trust, and support. Parker, Baltes, Young, Huff, Altmann, Lacost and Roberts (2003), through one of the more relevant studies, identified common dimensions in the researches on environment at an almost global level, such as: position at work, work in itself, the leader, work group, the organization in general, job satisfaction, feeling well in the work environment, motivation, performance, and other attitudes toward work. Table 1 presents the dimensions of work environment presented by Koyts and Decottis (1991).

Table 1 Description of the eight scales of Organizational Environment, Koyts and Decottis (1991)  

Autonomy Perception of the worker concerning self-determination and responsibility regarding work procedures, goals, and priorities.
Cohesion Perception of interpersonal relations among workers in the organization.
Equality Perception that the employees have on whether the policies and regulations of the institution are fair and clear.
Pressure Perception regarding the standards of performance, functioning and completion of assignments.
Innovation Perception regarding the willingness to take risks, be creative, and adopt new work areas, where experience is gained.
Acknowledgement Perception that the members have of the organization regarding the rewards they receive for their positive contributions in the development of the organization.
Trust Perception of the freedom to communicate with their superiors concerning sensitive and personal matters with absolute confidentiality and knowing that this communication will not be violated or used against the members.
Support Perception that the members have regarding the support and tolerance of their behavior in the institution, for which learning from their mistakes will be taken into consideration by the worker, without fear of retaliation from their superiors or coworkers.

Source: Elaborated based on Koyts and Decottis, (1991)

For their part, the psychosocial risks are defined as work situations that have a high probability of seriously damaging the physical, social, or mental health of the workers, with these being scenarios that usually affect health in a significant and serious manner (Moreno, 2011). From the binomial worker-organization dichotomy vs productivity-, Tous, Bonasa, Mayor and Espinosa (2011)) present the psychosocial risk factors that could affect not only the wellbeing and health of workers but could also negatively influence work performance. The psychosocial risks are exposed in Table 2.

Table 2 Psychosocial risk dimensions in the SUSESO-ISTAS21 instrument. 

Dimensions Sub- dimensions Description
Psychological demands Quantitative demands Work quantity or volume demanded contrasted with available time to get it done.
Cognitive demands Demands on different mental processes (attention, memory, decisions) and responsibility for the consequences of actions.
Emotional demands Demands to not get involved in the emotional situation derived from inter personal relations that work entails, especially those in jobs where services are provided to people and where changes are to be made.
Demand to conceal emotions Demand to conceal the emotions that arise during work, usually in the presence of other people.
Sensory demands Work demands that entail the use of the senses, specially vision, with a high level of attention and alertness to details.
Active work and skills development Work influence Margin of autonomy regarding the content and conditions of work (sequence of the task, methods to use, tasks to be done, quantity of work, schedule, selection of coworkers).
Development possibilities It is assessed whether work is a source for the skill and knowledge develop ment of each person.
Control over work time Possibility of pausing or momentarily interrupting the task, be it for a brief break, to take care of personal obligations, or to take a vacation.
Sense of work Relate work with values and transcendental objectives.
Company integration Identification of each person with the company or institution in general. It does not refer to the content of the work.
Social support in the company and leadership quality Clarity of the position Degree of definition of the actions and responsibilities of the position.
Position conflict Contradictory demands presented in the work that could cause professional or ethical conflicts when the demands of the tasks to be performed are diffe rent from the norm and personal values.
Leadership quality Behavior and attributes of the boss or direct supervisor that allow judging their value as leaders. It includes the capacity to settle conflicts, plan and distribute work in an even manner, concern for the well-being of their subor dinates, and their communication skills.
Quality of the relationship with co-workers Relation with coworkers that is expressed both in manners of communica tion and in the possibility of receiving the type of help to carry out work in a timely manner, as well as the sense of belonging to a team.
Quality of the relationship with superiors Attributes both of the direct boss and of the organization in general that make it possible to receive the help and information needed at the moment when it is required to do the job.
Compensations Esteem Acknowledgement and support of the superior and coworkers for the effort done when doing the job. Includes receiving a just treatment.
Double Presence Uncertainty regarding the conditions of the contract Concern for the conditions of the contract, stability or renovation, variations in salary, payment methods, possibilities of termination and promotion.
Uncertainty regarding the conditions of the work carried out Includes uncertainty regarding work conditions such as functional mobility (changes in tasks) and geography, changes in the working hours and schedule.
Concern regarding domestic chores Unrest caused by the domestic demands that could affect work performance.

Source: Alvarado, Pérez Franco, Saavedra, Fuentealba, Alarcón, Marchetti and Aranda (2012)

The researches that seek to link work environment variables, psychosocial risks and organizational happiness are scarce, mainly due to the recent study of some of these constructs. In this regard, the research by Contreras, Juárez, Barbosa and Uribe (2010) stands out, as they analyzed the relations between psychosocial risks, organizational environment, and the leadership style in Colombian companies in the social services and health sectors of four cities in the country (Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, and Bucaramanga). This study shows how organizational environment reduces stress, favoring well-being or happiness, while on the other hand, disjunctive environments lead to the presence of risks at work. Regarding studies that analised relations between the elements of work environment with organizational happiness, the one by George and Brief (1992) stands out, who present the benefits of happiness on organizational behavior, where collaborators with a high level of happiness are more cooperative with their coworkers, provide constructive criticism regarding work, and are more committed to their professional development. There is evidence that happier people have more favorable results related to work and that those who regularly experience positive emotions and are generally in a better mood are more confident about the achievement of their goals and are more likely to efficiently face challenges (Statuf et al, 2016). For their part, Warr (2013) has studied the factors that generate happiness and unhappiness in organizations, the author mentions 12 factors (see Table 3) in companies that created happiness and some of these coincide with the elements of the organizational environment. The author does an analogy between their research and the use of vitamins in that these are important for physical health and low levels of consumption of the same could lead to physiological deterioration. However, once a moderate level of vitamins (the recommended daily quantity) has been reached, there is no benefit received from additional quantities. He also indicates that some vitamins can instead become detrimental in large doses, so the relation between the increase in the consumption of vitamins and physical health can become negative after the constant consumption of moderate amounts. In view of this, the author indicates that the first six elements would behave according to this last rule, where their excess directly affects the decrease of happiness at work, while the maximization of the last six would not affect the development of happiness at work whatsoever.

Table 3 Main work characterisitics that affect happiness or unhappiness. 

Work characteristic Sub-components
A1 Control opportunity Autonomy; freedom of choice; participation; freedom in the making of decisions.
A2 Opportunity for the use and acquisition of skills Potential environment for the use and development of competencies and skills.
A3 Externally generated goals Challenge; low load or overload of work; identification with the task; conflict with the position; emotional work; work-home conflict.
A4 Variety Changes in the content of the tasks and social contracts.
A5 Clarity in the environment Predictable results; clear requirements; clarity in the position; task feedback; little uncertainty regarding the future.
A6 Contact with others Social contact; quality in social relations; dependency on others; teamwork.
A7 Money availability Available income; salary level.
A8 Physical safety Adequate working conditions; degree of risks; quality of the equipment at work.
A9 Socially valued position Importance of the task or function; contribution to society; status among valued groups.
A10 Supervisor support Consideration from supervisors; fair treatment by supervisors; concern for the emplo yee’s well-being.
A11 Career development Job security; opportunities for promotion
A12 Equity Justice within the same organization; equality in the relationships of the organizations with society.

Source: Warr (2013).

Gamero (2013), in a sample of workers from Arequipa, Peru, found a positive relation between happiness and variables such as compatibility between the position and the worker, autonomy, recognition, clarity of the position, career development, and organizational commitment. Similarly, the author provided evidence of positive correlations between happiness and job satisfaction, indicating that happiness fluctuations affect more strongly the perception of job satisfaction than job satisfaction fluctuations affect happiness. In general terms, it could be argued that an individual with a high level of happiness, psychological well-being, healthy and with self-control (internal factor) and control over their environment (external factor) could feel good about themselves, develop positive relations with others, adapt their dimension for the fulfillment of needs, develop autonomy, find a purpose to live, maintain permanent interest for the search of personal growth and the development of their capabilities (Vásquez, Herbás, Ravona and Gómez, 2009). Among some researches that have established relations among some dimensions of psychosocial risks and happiness some studies stand out, such as the ones by Camargo, Fajardo and Correa (2012), who found several positive associations regarding the area of work demands and well-being of the worker. For their part, Aguilar, Rodríguez and Salanova (2002) analyzed the relation between the leadership behaviors of the supervisor, psychosocial risks and happiness in Spanish workers, where the study sample was comprised of 874 workers from different sectors and professional areas, concluding that the results obtained in the statistical analyses of the study showed that the style of leadership that the supervisor utilizes with their collaborators will directly influence the well-being or happiness perceived by the workers. It was also shown that collaborators who are more satisfied are those with leaders that are more focused on emotional support. Pozo, Salvador, Alonso and Martos (2008), in a study conducted on professors, established that social support is a direct influence on happiness, decreasing the negative effects on health. Finally, Arias, Masías and Justo (2014) studied the effect of psychological demands associated with burnout and its relationship with the well-being of the worker, finding negative and significant relations between happiness and emotional exhaustion, where men experiment lower levels of burnout than women. However, negative relations between happiness and burnout are stronger in women, so happier women experience less emotional exhaustion.

Materials and methods

The study population corresponded to an education institution in the city of Los Ángeles, Chile (Liceo Alemán del Verbo Divino). A sample size calculation was not established, as the study was done on the whole universe of the institution, corresponding to 107 workers, where 33 individuals were men (30.8%) and 74 women; 69.2% were between the ages of 24 and 64 years and the mean was of 46 years. Three instruments were applied to the research: (a) The Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS) by Lyubomirsky and Lepper (1999) adapted in Chile by Moyano and Ramos (2007), which measures global or lasting happiness. People answer a questionnaire with Likert scales with responses ranging from 1 to 7, answering items such as: “Compared with the majority of my equals (friends, coworkers, or neighbors), I consider myself”, “Some people are very happy in general, they enjoy life regardless of what happens, they make the most out of everything, to what extent are you like that?”. For this instrument in this research, a reliability for internal consistency of 0.64 was obtained through Cronbach’s alpha. (b) SUSESO ISTAS 21: Questionnaire to measure psychosocial risks in Chile, being the translation and validation of the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ). The questionnaire was validated in Chile by the Social Security Superintendence in coordination with the Labor Office, the Public Health Institution in Chile, and the Public Health School of the University of Chile (Alvarado, Pérez-Franco, Saavedra, Fuentealba, Alarcón, Marchetti and Aranda, 2012). People respond to a questionnaire with Likert scales with answers ranging from 0 to 4. The questionnaire measures five variables: psychological experiences, active work, social support and leadership, compensations, and double presence. Some examples of the items are: “Do you have to make difficult decisions at work?”, “In general, do you consider that your work causes you emotional stress?”. For this instrument in this research, a reliability for internal consistency of 0.62 was obtained through Cronbach’s alpha. By scale, the following coefficients were obtained: psychological demands 0.66; active work and development of abilities 0.56; social support in the company and leadership quality 0.70; compensations 0.64; and double presence 0.56. (c) Questionnaire for Organizational Environment by Koyts and Decottis (1991). This instrument is comprised of 40 questions and people respond with a Likert scale of 1 to 5. The questionnaire measures eight variables: autonomy, cohesion, confidence, pressure, support, recognition, equitability, and innovation. The instrument was adapted in Chile by Chiang, Vega, Salazar and Nuñez (2008). For this instrument in this research, a reliability for internal consistency of 0.78 was obtained through Cronbach’s alpha. By scale, the following coefficients were obtained: autonomy 0.83; cohesion 0.85; confidence 0.71; pressure 0.72; support 0.88; recognition 0.81; equitability 0.50; and innovation 0.91. Once the data was collected, they were organized and classified to facilitate a better analysis of the information obtained. A reliability analysis of the instrument was carried out through the statistical package SPSS 21.0, while for the procurement of the econometric results the econometric Stata 13.0 package was utilized.

The discreet selection models are appropriate when two alternatives need to be modeled. Consider the typical use of the model, for example, for the case of a company that must decide whether or not to buy an input, or the hiring of a worker. In the case of this research work, we look for the determinants that cause a worker to have a high level of happiness in the organization. A worker has a certain inclination to feel happy, yi*. Additionally, it is linearly related to a vector of observable variables, Xi, for example, variables related to the work environment and variables related to psychosocial risks. The factors that we cannot observe are considered in the error term, ɛi (see equation (1))

yi*=βXi+εi (1)

When yi* is greater to a certain threshold, it is considered that the worker has a high level of happiness. Of course, we cannot observe the probability that a worker is happy, we can only observe if it surpasses the threshold, which we will call yi; we give it a value of one when the worker surpasses the threshold and of zero when they do not. The probability that yi =1 is modeled by equation (2), for the case of a binomial probit model where β is the vector of coefficients to estimate. If the coefficients are positive it means that the probability increases when the explicative variable increases.

Pyi=1|Xi=ΦXi'β (2)

Where Φ is the function of accumulated density of the normal standard. This formula has two favorable characteristics. Firstly, it is limited between 0 and 1, and is appropriate for a probability. Secondly, the distribution is intuitively attractive. The impact of the changes on the coefficients of the probability that an event occurs depends on the initial probability of the event.


Relation between happiness and work environment variables: There are few studies that link these factors, therefore, this research aims to address said variables. Warr (2013) studies some work factors that generate happiness and unhappiness showing that in some cases, if excessive levels are reached, they could generate unhappiness. If we observe Table 4, where the marginal effects of the probit regression model are shown for high levels of happiness, we can see that the cohesion variable has a negative effect on high levels of happiness (-0.133), that is, increasing cohesion in a unit would decrease the probability of finding high levels of happiness by approximately 13%. Now, it could be assumed that to obtain high levels of happiness, cohesion must be decreased or workers should be isolated. In this sense, Warr (2013) mentions that excessive cohesion would affect human relationships, as it would exceed the basic limits of privacy, where the worker would enter a symbiotic dynamic with their equals.

Table 4 Probit model for work environmenta 

Variables dydx Valor de p
Cohesion -0.133 0.013
Pressure 0.233 0.032
Pseudo R2 0.0956
Pr > x2 0.0027
n 107

aDepent variable: Happiness (dichotomous). Standard deviation between parentheses. This is a refined model; the marginal effects are presented.

If we observe the pressure variable, this shows positive correlations with happiness. Therefore, increasing this variable in a unit would increase happiness by 23%. It ought to be understood that the pressure variable is defined as the perception that there is with regard to the standards of performance, functioning, and completion of the task. That is, a worker will show happiness when there are clear goals and high-performance standards at work. This coincides with the positive results obtained by Camargo, Fajardo and Correa (2012) regarding the effect of pressure on the happiness of the worker.

Lastly, the goodness of fit measure (pseudo R2) and the global significance measure ("Pr">X2) can be observed. First, even if the level of goodness of fit is low (0.0956), we need to consider that the model attempts to explain the variability of the high levels of happiness in workers and then to adjust to this variability. Happiness is an experience that influences emotions, thus, being able to predict them is a great challenge. It is not wrong to consider low levels of fit when we attempt to predict these types of emotions. Secondly, we have the global significance of the estimated model (0.0027), this shows whether the variables used to explain the high levels of happiness are globally significant, and we can observe that at a level of 1% of significance the model is globally significant. In general, even if the model shows a low fit, the variables presented are capable of providing an explanation to the high levels of happiness.

Relation between happiness and dimensions of psychosocial risks: The literature supports that psychosocial risks have a high probability of damaging the physical, social, and mental health of workers (Moreno, 2011). Table 5 indicates the dimensions of psychosocial risks that show a significant relation with happiness.

Table 5 Probit model for Psychosocial Risksa 

Variables dydx P value
Double presence -0.209 0.006
Compensations -0.161 0.041
Psicological Demands -0.198 0.007
Pseudo R2 0.1793
Pr > x2 0.0000
n 107

aDependent variable: Happiness (dichotomous).

Standard deviation between parentheses. This is a refined model; the marginal effects are presented.

In this research, the dimension of psychological demands negatively influences high levels of happiness, where increasing psychological demands would cause a decrease of 19.8% in the levels of happiness. It should be mentioned that increasing psychological demands entails increasing the volume of work with regard to the available time to do it, with a great emotional load. Now, we would like to stop with this result, given that if we consider what we discussed in the previous section, pressure would increase the probability of having extremely happy workers, but if this pressure is accompanied by psychological demands, the levels of happiness will decrease. This coincides with the statements made by Arias, Masías and Justo (2014), who found a negative relation between happiness and emotional exhaustion, caused by emotionally exhausting tasks, which could, in the long-term, generate high levels of burnout.

Similarly, a negative relation between double presence and happiness can be observed. This means that the increase of a unit of this variable would cause a decrease of 20.9% of the high levels of happiness, that is, the unease caused by the domestic demands that could affect work performance negatively influence happiness.

The rewards variable also shows a negative correlation with happiness, where an increase of a unit of this variable would entail a percentage decrease of happiness of 16.1%. It is important to understand that high scores in rewards refer to low social recognition at work, insecurity regarding work conditions, and insecurities regarding the work performed.

Lastly, as with the case of environmental work, the model for psychosocial risks presents a low level of fit defined by Pseudo R 2 (0.1793), but it is a globally significant model at 1% (Pr>X 2 =0.000).


The scarce and recent literature found that links some psychosocial risk dimensions with organizational happiness show that dimensions such as bad leadership quality, the lack of clarity of the position, and the psychosocial demands, negatively affect happiness at work (Aguilar et. al., 2002; Pozo et. al., 2008). Unlike other researches, we present results that include all the dimensions of the psychosocial risks that affect happiness. In this manner, the dimensions that were significant with regards to happiness were: double presence, psychological demands, and compensations. All of these dimensions had a negative effect on organizational happiness, highlighting the fact that the tasks with a great psychological load and demand affect happiness at work. Similarly, the double presence variable defined by Torns, Carrasquer and Borras (2002) as the reality characterized by the synchronous and daily combination of productive and domestic work appears as an important variable that negatively affects happiness. Some authors such as Fouche and Fartindale (2011) indicate that this variable, also denominated work-family conciliation, must be balanced to achieve work happiness and, to this end, it is suggested to generate strategies such as work flexibility, which presents a beneficial and significant effect on the work context and a decrease of psychosocial risks (Recio, 1997; Useche, 2002). Boreham, Povey, and Tomaszewski (2016) point that flexible work hours are a common component that allow employers meet workload pressure and retain employees. For this reason, all those jobs that offer little recognition for the tasks performed, and where there is contractual uncertainty with regard to the duties to be carried out, will generate low levels of happiness.

If we consider the dimension of work environment and the pressure variable, the latter positively influences high levels of organizational happiness. It should be noted that when speaking about pressure we are referring to high-performance standards and clear goals. It is in this manner that our results lead us to believe that presenting tasks with clear objectives and goals to the workers would increase happiness, provided that these tasks do not represent a great load or emotional toll. An interesting aspect is what happens with the cohesion variable, as our results suggest that increasing this variable would lead to lower levels of happiness; this could be paradoxical. However, War (2013) explains this clearly by indicating that there are certain variables of the organizational environment, one of which is cohesion, which in excess would negatively affect happiness at work; particularly because the excessive contact with other people at work could negatively affect happiness in high density situations or through a lack of control over the personnel, frequent interruptions, and the hindering of interesting activities due to the demand of others.

From this research it is possible to indicate that the search for happiness is an inherent wish of all human beings in all areas of life. Work, for its part, should also be a source of happiness, as we spend a great portion of our day at it. Csikszentmihalyi (2003), for example, points out that the flow state or being in the zone is defined as: the experience where a person is engrossed in the task at hand, enjoying said activity and losing track of time; it is produced only when people carry out a work activity. This type of experiences is common among workers with a higher level of commitment, involvement, motivation, and job satisfaction. Therefore, organizations should take advantage of this situation to generate more instances of happiness at work.

In the same manner, previous researches have indicated happiness as a catalyst for job satisfaction, organizational commitment, innovation capacity, problem solving, improvement of interpersonal relations, and productivity. For this reason, it would be necessary to maintain workers active and developed, presenting goals and demanding high performance standards, but avoiding psychological demands.

It is also essential to be able to generate initiatives that will minimize the work-family conflict, and which will make work schedules more flexible.

It is worth noting that, at a relational level, cohesive work environments are important to develop happiness. However, if these environments are invasive and/or absorbing, they could cause adverse effects.

These results are subject to a small sampling size, and so it would be important to explore with a larger sample and with companies in other areas. Additionally, we suggest research lines associated with the study of factors that affect organizational happiness and how it relates to the productivity of the worker in the organization.


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Peer Review under the responsibility of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Received: June 30, 2016; Accepted: September 29, 2017

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