Assoc. Prof. Dr., Karamanoğlu Mehmetbey University
Res. Asisst., Karamanoğlu Mehmetbey University

Published 2020-09-25


  • Self Compassion Organizational Behaviour
  • Öz Şefkat, Örgütsel Davranış

How to Cite

ÖZPEYNİRCİ, R., & KIRMIZI, C. (2020). THE CONCEPT OF SELF COMPASSION AND IT’S ORGANIZATIONAL REFLECTIONS. Business & Management Studies: An International Journal, 8(3), 2924-2952. https://doi.org/10.15295/bmij.v8i3.1559


Although the concept of self-compassion has been around in Eastern philosophy for a long time, its effects have just started to be evaluated in Western psychology. It has become one of the essential positive psychology concepts by taking part in a wide range of academic researches in recent years. The concept, rooted in the Buddhist tradition, was brought to Western psychology by Neff (2003a).
Self-compassion simply defined as compassion directed inward. It involves open to one’s suffering, not disconnecting or avoiding it, generating the desire to heal oneself with kindness, and to alleviate one’s suffering. It includes three primary dimensions, namely self-kindness versus self-judgment, common humanity versus isolation, and mindfulness versus over-identification (Neff, 2003b, s. 87)
Many researchers have studied on self-compassion. Meta-analyses and systematic reviews have linked that self-compassion was more strongly related to many positive outcomes, such as optimism, happiness, overall well-being (Zessin et al. 2015). Additionally, it has been associated with less stress, anxiety and depression (Luo et al. 2019). However, it seems that the effects of self-compassion in the organizational behaviour field are not sufficiently explored. It is noteworthy that most of these studies are carried out within the health and education field. Limited studies have done in the organizational field also show that compassion affects many critical organizational outcomes such as performance and creativity. It is thought that organizations can have happier and more productive employees by bringing the positive effects of the concept to the field. It has the potential for contributing to both managers and employees. Therefore, self-compassion researches from an organizational perspective should be enhanced. In this respect, this study is considered to be a useful review in light of current researches. It is hoped that the study will provide a guide for researchers.
This study has the characteristics of a formal review and focused on the concepts or theories that explain or describe the self-compassion. It aims to provide a general perspective on the concept of self-compassion; its dimensions, related variables, and to draw attention to the usability of the concept in the organizational behaviour field. Accordingly, the study consists of three main parts. First, the concept of self-compassion was evaluated within the scope of different approaches, and the dimensions of the concept were explained. In the second part, the theoretical and empirical development of self-compassion is detailed. National and international relevant literature has been scanned, and recent studies associated with self-compassion have been reviewed. In the third part, the reflections of self-compassion on the organization were examined in line with the researches.
In this study firstly, the development of self-compassion was discussed in light of the relevant literature. It is observed that there has been a gradual increase in the number of research of self-compassion in recent years, and these researches have explored different aspects of self-compassion. Similarly, in Turkey, this concept has gained attention. However, it is seen that the academic accumulation in the self-compassion literature is at the beginning stage. In this respect, it is seen that more theoretical and empirical studies are needed.
Recent studies have claimed that the current conceptualization of self-compassion and the way this trait is currently assessed with the Neff's scale are inappropriate and not in keeping with the true nature of this positive psychology construct. In this context, the five-dimensional structure (Strauss et al. (2016)) and scale (Gu et al. (2020)) should be evaluated with future research.
In the last part of the study, the effects of self-compassion on the organization were reviewed. It has been observed that employees with a high level of self-compassion show more loyalty to their organizations (Yalap & Baygın, 2020), exhibit more prosocial behaviours, and can quickly eliminate negativities such as stress and burnout (Dev et al., 2018). It is also mentioned that self-compassion is associated with creativity (Zabelina & Robinson, 2010) and emotional intelligence (Fabio & Saklofske, 2020) and has an enhancing effect on performance (Neff & Knox, 2017). Further studies should be conducted on different samples in order to make a general inference.
As a result, self-compassion is seen as one of the essential individual strengths in psychology literature and is related to many positive concepts. Hence, it can be predicted as an essential determinant of desired behaviours in the organizational field. Therefore, the concept should be examined for both employees, and managers aspects in different areas and its relationship with variables within the scope of organizational behaviour should be revealed. In future research, it is suggested to reveal the relationship between self-compassion and organizational alienation, organizational loneliness, organizational identification. At the same time, it is thought that the studies to be carried out about personality and generations will contribute to understanding individual differences in the level of self-compassion.
In this context, this study is expected to be a guide in order to increase the number of studies in the organizational context, which is relatively less studied in the expanding self-compassion literature. On the other hand, this study also has some limitations that need to be addressed. The most important limitation of the study is that there are no empirical results; conceptual evaluations are included. Also, they are limited to the accessible resources available to databases that we had access to.


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