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Positive psychological capital: A comparison with human and social capital and an analysis of a training intervention

Milan D Larson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Today's organizations are competing in an increasingly complex global economy. In particular, today's employees are finding themselves in a turbulent environment where technology changes are the norm, downsizing has become rampant, loyalty and commitment are diminishing, and work-life balance issues are a priority. Yet, for competitive advantage, managing human resources has become the major challenge. ^ To meet this challenge of effectively managing human resources requires new thinking and approaches. This dissertation study investigates such a new model of employee capital that extends the current paradigm of human and social capital. Although the idea of positive psychological capital has been recently introduced, it has not yet been experimentally tested. Drawing from psychology's positive psychology and the positive organizational behavior movements, the first purpose of the dissertation is to analyze the value-added contribution that positive psychological capital can have over recognized human and social capital. The second purpose is to conduct, for the first time, a field experiment that tests whether or not positive psychological capital and its individual capacities of self-efficacy, hope, optimism, and resiliency can be developed. ^ The results indicated support for positive psychological capital's additive value to the human and social capital model. With a sample from a Midwest manufacturing firm's employees (N = 74), correlation analysis indicated positive psychological capital as a whole had a stronger relationship with job satisfaction (r = .373) and organization commitment (r = .313) than the individual capacities of self-efficacy, optimism, and resiliency. Further hierarchical regression analysis of the additive impact of positive psychological capital over human and social capital found a significant change in R2 for the relationship between positive psychological capital and organization commitment and job satisfaction As to the training intervention, although participants in the experimental group experienced an increase in their reported levels of self-efficacy and resiliency, it was a non-significant change from pre- to post-measures and when compared to the control group. The study hypotheses related to the effects of the developmental intervention for psychological capital in this relatively small study of short duration were not supported. The discussion and limitations note the possible reasons for these findings and conclude with practical implications. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Management

Recommended Citation

Larson, Milan D, "Positive psychological capital: A comparison with human and social capital and an analysis of a training intervention" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3142090.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3142090

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