A new study has found that mindfulness can be used to achieve successful change in organisations. Cranfield and The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) carried out an in-depth analysis looking beyond the value of mindfulness-based techniques and outcomes for individuals to consider their potential impact at a strategic level.

Some organisations already offer mindfulness training to individual employees, and the evidence shows that it can have benefits, including stress reduction, wellbeing, and focus. However, this new report, Mindfulness in organisations, reveals how organisations could be applying mindfulness more thoughtfully in support of organisational objectives such as change readiness, agility and resilience.

The researchers mapped evidence from mindfulness studies against studies into strategic change, and explored several case studies. They also convened more than twenty experts to discuss the topic and offer their insights. These combined perspectives led them to conclude that organisations are missing a big opportunity to use more strategically oriented mindfulness initiatives to support major organisation change.

The report describes in detail how different organisations implemented mindfulness in their organisations, and the progress they have made. It also offers a summary of the main tips the experts agreed on, which have informed an accompanying infographic.

Jutta Tobias, co-author of the report and a senior lecturer at Cranfield School of Management, added:

‘Mindfulness is about more than meditating. And an organisation’s culture and leadership are pivotal in making – or breaking – any mindfulness initiative in the long run. So in order for any mindfulness training to be effective and sustainable, it needs to be embedded in the organisation’s context, and mindfulness tools and techniques need to target culture change as well as individual transformation.’

Alison Carter, a principal research fellow at IES, commented:

‘Attitudes towards mindfulness in workplaces tend to be binary: it’s either considered brilliantly effective or cuddly nonsense. However, our research goes beyond whether it’s good for individual employees, and looks at the broader benefits it can bring. The organisations we spoke to all used different approaches but without exception they believed it had some positive impact on their organisation at a collective level. The experts we gathered also agreed, all giving us their own perspectives on how organisations can find success with it.’

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