Research Study: Practical Philosophy Contributes to High Performance Project Teams

A formal, academic research study: High-Performance Project Teams: Analysis from the Stoic Approach has found a correlation between successful project teams where team members embodied principles of the ancient practical philosophy of Stoicism.

The study’s Conclusions section summarizes their findings; in part:

  • [. . .] we can conclude that the principles of Stoic philosophy positively impact the performance of work teams [. . .]
  • [. . .] a contrary and classic discipline such as philosophy provides answers to current project performance problems, through a different vision for project team management.
  • [. . .] when comparing some of the postulates of Stoicism with the daily reality of the project manager, many points are found in favor of strengthening the high performance of the work teams.

(The study paper is academic and not exactly easy reading–at least for me–but the opening Abstract and Conclusions sections, and some other parts, are worth a look for a more complete picture than the above.)

My devotion to Asana is well-known to some readers here, but another deep interest of mine is in the practical philosophy of Stoicism.

I like to find connections between disparate topics and have enjoyed considering overlaps and similarities between Stoic principles and Asana’s mission and underlying approach to teamwork. Imagine my surprise to happen upon this research study! I wonder if @Rebecca_Hinds and The Asana Work Innovation Lab have already made explorations in this area or seen similar corroboration?

If this piques your interest in Stoicism (which is nothing like lowercase “stoicism,” and is also often misrepresented by some entrepreneurs and the popular press), the research paper’s coverage of this 2000-year-old practical philosophy is not really the best primer on the topic. A short, engaging introduction is How to Be a Stoic, an opinion piece in the New York Times by a favorite modern Stoic philosopher and author.

There’s always something new, or 2000-years-old, under the sun.




Very cool, @lpb! (I’ve queued up the NYT article to read.)

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Thanks, @Phil_Seeman! Will be interested to hear your thoughts…

Thank you, Larry.

I didn’t know anything about stoicism. Except for the keyword “stoic”, which we probably misuse to describe a “not very emotional” person.
The New York Times article was great to get started with.

Would you have any suggestions for a book (accessible) for my Santa’s wish list? :grin:

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@lpb Larry, this is fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing. My team has done a bit of research on Stoicism but we haven’t done anything in-depth. A topic to consider for the future for sure!
You are likely familiar with this, but Tim Ferris has an extensive collection of related resources: Stoicism Resources and Recommendations - The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss


Thanks, @Arthur_BEGOU!

There are many options, but I recommend starting with one of these, any of which could work well, but they’re different approaches. See what strikes your fancy, but I’ve listed my first choice first:

All three are by the author of the NYT piece I linked before, Massimo Pigliucci (the third a collaboration with Greg Lopez).

Primary sources are great, and Epictetus was covered in the first. The other two most important ones are: Seneca’s Letters (there’s no more beautiful writing), and Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations (memorable and widely beloved, but actually his own journal so not an overview of Stoicism).

Thanks so much, @Rebecca_Hinds! I hope The Work Innovation Lab pursues it further, and it would be very fun to see.

I’m familiar with the Tim Ferriss resources, and that’s one source to read Seneca’s Letters (three free volumes with extra features compiled by his team), which I mentioned above.