Wellbeing as Emergent from the Leveraging of Polarities: Harnessing Component Interdependencies

  • Lance NeweyEmail author
  • Rui Torres de Oliveira
Original Research


The starting premise of this article is that within existing approaches the nature of the interrelationship between components of wellbeing is both under-conceptualized and under-measured. This paper contrasts three perspectives of wellbeing component interrelationship. The first and most common is a hierarchical approach, which prioritizes economic wellbeing and uses this to fund attainment of other components of wellbeing, such as social and environmental. A second perspective, which we call aggregation approaches, list dashboards of wellbeing components and average them. Both of these approaches emphasize the dependence and independence of the underlying components respectively. In this paper we develop a conceptualization of wellbeing based on the interdependence of eight components: economic, environmental, social, cultural, psychological, physical, spiritual and cultural. Our theory of interdependence is a multarity-based view of wellbeing which sees the latter as emerging from the integrated leveraging of at least four fundamental polarities: economic and environmental, physical and psychological, material and spiritual and social and cultural. Wellbeing costs increase and value creation opportunities lost when interdependence between components is ignored.


Wellbeing Components Interdependence Polarities Leveraging 



The authors would like to express sincere gratitude to Leslie DePol and Susan Dupre from Polarity Partnerships for their invaluable insights and expertise in all things polarity. The paper benefitted greatly from their feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Queensland Business SchoolUniversity of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Queensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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