The aim of the project ‘Hope as an incentive’ is to explore how to understand ‘hope’ in an interdisciplinary scientific context, while taking into account the philosophy of Randstad expressed in ‘to know, to serve and to trust’. This research will be conducted in view of the possibility to study practical relationships between hope and human development, and in particular of the relationship between hope and happiness.
In her most elementary form, hope can be regarded as optimism about the future. Hope is awareness of the tension between reality and the ideal that people envision. This makes it a motivating force for development that distinguishes itself from optimism in that it takes into account possible setbacks and is able to formulate alternative goals. In this way, hope enlarges our perseverance and our innovativeness.
We can distinguish between two different kinds of hope; the eager hope for something we have no control over, such as the weather; and ambitious hope that drives us to take action, for example, to invest in a company. In organisational psychology hope is therefore seen as a form of positive psychological capital. Hope and thinking about possible ways to achieve our goals can be a powerful incentive. Hopelessness, pessimism and stress on the other hand, reduce both the will to try something new, as the available resources to do so. Realistic hope could also be a capacity or competence; a belief that influences what we think is possible.
Hope and happiness often go hand in hand
As a positive incentive, hope is important in human development. Hope and happiness, for example, often go hand in hand. Hope can lead to happiness, because hopeful people experience less stress, and because it encourages people to take action and improve their living conditions. Hope can also lead to connections between people and thereby strengthen social cohesion and trust.
In organisations hope also plays an important role. For example, scientific research generally finds a positive correlation between hope at work and life satisfaction, job satisfaction, commitment to the organisation and the health of employees. On the other hand a negative correlation is found between hope and burnout and work related stress.