Distanced from Others, Connected to Self: Online Mindfulness Training Fosters Psychological Wellbeing by Cultivating Authenticity

    Published Online:https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2020.0316

    Management students are experiencing a crisis in wellbeing and educators have a pressing responsibility to help them cope with the stresses of business school under the new realities of physically distanced learning. Amid rapidly growing interest in mindfulness in management education, we examine the effects of a promising new technology for cultivating student wellbeing: online mindfulness training. In investigating whether and how online mindfulness training works, and which students it most benefits, we conducted a large quasi-experiment with a custom-designed active control group (physical exercise) and multiple waves of data collected over two semesters of an academic year. Results show that online mindfulness training improved psychological wellbeing by helping students cultivate authenticity, but that such rewards were only realized by those who were relatively high in trait conscientiousness. In presenting our theory and findings, we shed new light on the role of personality in helping management students integrate experiential learning into their sense of self, and we offer novel, practical, and empirically substantiated guidance to management educators on how to help students develop authenticity and psychological wellbeing through an innovative, engaging, and ready-made online solution that requires little extra effort or cost to implement.