How a Growth Mindset Can Lead to Happiness at Work

happy employees
Topic(s): job satisfaction
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (2022)
Article: Getting Unstuck: The Effects of Growth Mindsets about the Self and Job on Happiness at Wor
Authors: J.M. Berg, A. Wrzesniewski, A.M. Grant, J. Kurkoski, B. Welle
Reviewed by: Josie Anker

Having a growth mindset means believing that people can change their abilities and traits. On the other hand, having a fixed mindset means believing that people cannot change. Previous research has shown that having a growth mindset about either oneself or one’s job can be beneficial, because it encourages people to change themselves or their employment situations for the better. Having a “dual-growth mindset” – meaning a growth mindset about both oneself and one’s job – may be even more beneficial. However, until now, research has not examined this.


Researchers (Berg et al., 2022) conducted two experiments in which participants received an intervention designed to either foster self-growth mindset alone, job-growth mindset alone, or dual-growth mindset. The results showed that employees who received the dual-growth mindset intervention had increases in happiness that continued to last six months after the intervention. However, people who received an intervention aimed at fostering only self-growth or job-growth mindset alone did not experience these lasting increases in happiness.

The researchers suggest one possible reason for this. They say the increased happiness that people in the dual-growth mindset condition experienced may be because participants in the dual-growth mindset condition planned to engage in more job crafting. This refers to actively changing the tasks and relationships that make up one’s job in order to better suit oneself. 


This research suggests that fostering dual-growth mindset may help employees take advantage of their ability to engage in job crafting, and subsequently experience lasting gains in happiness. One practical application of these findings is that organizations may wish to offer workshops that are designed to help employees foster dual-growth mindset in order to improve employee happiness in a way that is sustained over time. 


Berg, J. M., Wrzesniewski, A., Grant, A. M., Kurkoski, J., & Welle, B. (2022). Getting unstuck: The effects of growth mindsets about the self and job on happiness at work. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication.