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A success story: EAWOP Summer School, Valencia, 2010


It was 10 years ago, we were a group of early career women: postdocs, assistant profs and grad students about to defend our PhD dissertations. We were German, Irish and Spanish. We decided that the summer school project had to be a realistic one, one that we could set up and develop, because we did not want to waste time on developing a project that was not going to take off. We were all excited about the idea of figuring out how positive psychology could be applied to work settings so we decided to commit to it.

Within 2 years we succeeded in obtaining funding, completing pilot studies and setting up a full study to examine the impact of short positive psychology exercises on employees’ well-being. The full study data collection was finished by 2013, and other studies following the paradigm we had designed followed. We were presenting our research and ideas at conferences and the WOP community started to learn about our research. We were awarded the Best paper award at the 5th International Seminar on Positive Occupational Health Psychology. Dublin,  Ireland, 7-8 June. (O’Shea, D., González-Morales, M.G., Hoppe, A., Michel, A., Steidle, A.  (2012). Investigating the effect of daily positive psychology interventions for the enhancement of well-being in administrative staff.)

Some of us organized an EAWOP small group meeting in 2013 and edited a special issue in JOOP published in 2015. We were able to add this to our resumes to prepare for jobs and tenure applications.  Since we started working together, we have involved many graduate students in our labs who have become first authors of publications and had the experience of doing international internships in our labs. Because of this partnership, we have been awarded several competitive grants from Canada, Ireland and Germany. We were able to hire a postdoc who is now a great addition to our research team.

This last year we were honoured by the Best European Journal of Work and Organisational Psychology 2017 Paper Award for the study: Steidle, A., Gonzalez-Morales, M. G., Hoppe, A., Michel, A., & O’Shea, D. (2017). Energizing respites from work: a randomized controlled study on respite interventions. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 26(5), 650-662.

This award closed the circle that we had started 9 years ago, as early career scholars. Carrying out this international and collaborative project has provided us with the necessary experience to manage large research projects. On top of being experts in dealing with SKYPE meeting problems, we have figured a way to develop close friendships as we collaborated. If we don’t meet at EAWOP, we organize a research retreat every other year. We have supported each other through the development of our careers, and we have no doubt that lifting each other up while developing our research, complementing our strengths and weaknesses with our “superpowers”, has been key in our success as seniors scholars.