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Emerging Positive Organizational Behavior
Fred Luthans
University of Nebraska - Lincoln,

Carolyn M. Youssef
Bellevue University,

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Luthans, Fred and Youssef, Carolyn M., "Emerging Positive Organizational Behavior" (2007). Leadership Institute Faculty Publications.
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Published in Journal of Management 33:3 (June 2007), pp. 321-349;
doi: 10.1177/0149206307300814 Copyright © 2007 Southern Management Association;
published by Sage Publications. Used by permission.

Emerging Positive Organizational Behavior

Fred Luthans
Department of Management, Gallup Leadership Institute,
University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588-0491
Corresponding author: tel 402 472-2324, fax 402 472-5855, email

Carolyn M. Youssef
College of Business, Bellevue University,
1000 Galvin Road South, Bellevue, NE 68005-3098

Although the value of positivity has been assumed over the years, only recently has it be-
come a major focus area for theory building, research, and application in psychology and
now organizational behavior. This review article examines, in turn, selected representa-
tive positive traits (Big Five personality, core self-evaluations, and character strengths and
virtues), positive state-like psychological resource capacities (efficacy, hope, optimism, re-
siliency, and psychological capital), positive organizations (drawn from positive organi-
zation scholarship), and positive behaviors (organizational citizenship and courageous
principled action). This review concludes with recommendations for future research and
effective application.
Keywords: positive organizational behavior, psychological capital, positive organizational
scholarship, hope, efficacy, resilience, optimism

As positive psychology has gained momentum (e.g., Aspinwall & Straudinger, 2003;
Carr, 2004; Compton, 2005; Giacalone, Jurkiewicz, & Dunn, 2005; Keyes & Haidt,
2003; Linley & Joseph, 2004; Lopez & Snyder, 2003; C. Peterson, 2006; C. Peterson &
Seligman, 2004; Snyder & Lopez, 2002; see also
for a continually updated Web site on this body of knowledge), its implications for
the workplace have not gone unnoticed. In particular, several identifiable domains
and approaches to positivity in the workplace have recently emerged. These include
positive organizational behavior (POB; e.g., see Luthans, 2002a, 2002b, 2003; Nelson
& Cooper 2007; T. A. Wright, 2003; Youssef & Luthans, in press), positive organiza-


322   Luthans & Youssef in Journal of M a n a g e m e n t 33 (2007)

tional scholarship (POS; Cameron & Caza, 2004; Cameron, Dutton, & Quinn, 2003;
see, and, more recently, psychological cap-
ital (PsyCap; see Luthans, Avey, & Avolio, 2007; Luthans, Avey, Avolio, Norman,
& Combs, 2006; Luthans, Avolio, Avey, & Norman, in press; Luthans, Avolio, Wa-
lumbwa, & Li, 2005; Luthans, Luthans, & Luthans, 2004; Luthans & Youssef, 2004;
Luthans, Youssef, & Avolio, 2007a, 2007b; see for continual
updates). There is a general consensus, even among the few dissenting voices (e.g.,
see Fineman, 2006), that the world in general, and our workplaces in particular, are in
need of a more balanced approach that takes into consideration both the positive and
the negative, both building on strengths and trying to correct weaknesses.
In this article, we review positivity in the workplace literature as it relates to or-
ganizational behavior, organizational leadership, and human resource manage-
ment. Following Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi’s (2000) initial conceptualization
of positive psychology and Roberts’s (2006) recent recommendations concerning the
study of positivity in organizational behavior, our approach in structuring this re-
view is to examine positive traits, positive state-like psychological resource capaci-
ties, positive organizations, and positive behaviors. Moreover, in line with Kilduff’s
(2006) recent proposed guidelines for analysis and review, we position the emerg-
ing stream of positivity-oriented theories and research as being complementary and
an alternative perspective rather than as a substitute or replacement to the exist-
ing positively oriented and/or negatively oriented organizational behavior body of
knowledge. Like positive psychology, the recently emerging POB does not proclaim
to represent some new discovery of the importance of positivity but rather empha-
sizes the need for more focused theory building, research, and effective application
of positive traits, states, organizations, and behaviors as represented in this review.

Positivity: Why? Why Not?
The workplace is increasingly becoming a place where survival, let alone suc-
cess, necessitates higher-than-average performance (Avolio & Luthans, 2006; Sut-
cliffe & Vogus, 2003). Cutthroat competition and unhindered access to information,
on a global scale, have created a world that is “flat” (Friedman, 2005). In flat-world
competition, a sustainable edge can no longer be just achieved through raising en-
try barriers or technological breakthroughs. By the same token, success can also no
longer be attained by just trying to fix weaknesses. In today’s level playing field,
success can be attained by “breaking the rules” (Buckingham & Coffman, 1999) and
challenging traditional assumptions and existing paradigms through appreciative
inquiry (see Cooperrider & Srivastva, 1987; Thatchenkery & Metzker, 2006) of what
is being done right and building on strengths.
Similar to a deficits approach, a positive perspective is far from being simple,
straightforward, or risk free (for a comprehensive critique, see Fineman, 2006). For
example, a positivity approach may promote a more benevolent view of humans
than is truly warranted. This unfortunately was played out in the ethical meltdowns
and the dark side of leadership that have recently plagued many of our former cor-
porate icons. To focus only on what is positive may lead to at least implicitly attrib-
uting every vice and things that go wrong to the social context within which orga-
nizational behavior takes place. However, the social context is largely a creation of
the individuals that make up that context and their interactions. In addition, what

namely the Big Five per- sonality traits. classic business models. However. managed. positive approaches should not be refuted based only on what they may exclude (Roberts. Virtues in one culture may not hold true in another culture. Vancouver. excellence. and positive psychological traits. extro- version. and their participants. An integrative approach is necessary for a fuller understanding of the dynamics of suc- cess and failure in today’s flat-world environment. Youssef. Thompson. et al. 2006). & Ilies. We would argue that much can be gained from utilizing approaches that help scholars and practitioners gain insights into both the positive strengths and the nega- tive weaknesses and their interactions and limitations. In other words. Colbert. 2000). flourishing. Peterson. goals. resources. 1984. 2002. As examples. This review article. 2007a). growth. see Luthans. E. unrealistic optimism can lead to evasion of responsibility (C. there is substantial support for the significant contribution of general mental ability to human performance across various domains. et al. Hunter & Hunter. emotional stability. states. & Pearlman. 2001). 1981). organizations. Hunter. Positive Traits The role of enduring. we now turn to a re- view of positive traits. Schmidt & Hunter. and deficit-oriented approaches can offer (Luthans. Intelligence is also positively related to leadership. positively oriented human traits. 2007a). systems. and fulfillment. al- though recent meta-analytic findings show that this relationship may be weaker than traditionally assumed (Judge. In this section.. agreeableness.. and openness to experience have been shown to strongly . The Big Five Personality Traits The Big Five personality traits of conscientiousness. core self-evaluations. overconfidence has been found to hinder subsequent performance (Vancouver. to the detriment of both the individual and the organization (for other potential pitfalls in relation to the var- ious positively oriented capacities. or learned from. relatively stable. there seems to be more loss than gain from trying to separate the positive from the nega- tive when they are so tightly entangled. the absence of psychopathology does not explain optimal function- ing. organizations.g. Today’s organizations. positive traits in enhancing human perfor- mance in the workplace has been traditionally studied in the field of organizational behavior. and each in isolation of the other leaves much to be desired. does not aim to discour- age academic critical thinking or practical prudence. and behaviors may have a substantial positive im- pact on performance and other desired outcomes beyond what material resources. Schmidt. Thompson. state-like capacities. and behaviors. 2004). & Putka. including the workplace (e. and positivity as a domain of inquiry. and strategies. For example. With this framing of the role and perspective of positivity in the workplace serving as a point of departure. & Williams. Moreover. Youssef. Tischner. and false hope can lead to poor allocation of resources and energies toward ineffective goals. We would argue that much is lost when either the positive or the negative is slighted or forgotten. 2000. J. constitute positives to be cele- brated and accelerated and negatives to be avoided.Emerging Positive Organizational Behavior   323 is considered positive (or negative) is to a great extent contingent on cultural val- ues. As Seligman (2002) points out.. we focus on three more recently emerging research streams of positive traits.

the higher an individual’s self-evaluations. cultural intel- ligence (Ang. enduring character strengths. van der Zee. & Judge. 2006). & Locke. the past several years have witnessed a substantial amount of research on positive psycho- logical traits. These personality traits have also been found to be positively related to entrepreneurship (Zhao & Seibert. they generate higher intrinsic motiva- tion and trigger higher performance and satisfaction (Judge. & Locke. Van Dyne. & Downey. Lebiecki. satisfaction. 1998. and political ideology (for a comprehensive review. generalized self-efficacy. 2005). Judge & Bono. Because of the value congruence of the goals. In essence. & Reymen. Those with goal self-con- cordance are intrinsically motivated to pursue their goals for their intrinsic value. job and life satisfaction. L. and romantic others. both independently and when combined into one higher order con- struct. A recent promising trend in personality research has also been to study the interactions be- tween the Big Five personality traits and more transient states or situational factors that can enhance or dampen their impact on various work-related outcomes (Ilies. Stewart & Nandkeolyar. & Cortina. Dur- ham. Because of their stability and development over one’s lifespan. Rutte. interpersonal-level outcomes such as quality of re- lationships with peers. 2005). 2006) and negatively associated with undesirable outcomes such as burnout (Bakker. criminal activity. Van Vianen. have been shown to be significant positive predictors of goal setting. Bono. In addition. 2006). and virtues and values that are held in the highest regard by many societies and cultures. Stapleton. & De Pater. van Tuijl. community involvement. Further contribution to the prediction of job performance beyond each of the global Big Five personality traits has recently been attributed to the “narrow traits” that constitute those traits (Dudley. moti- vation. family. Bono. performance. 2001. rather than through brief interventions or one- time events. physical and psychological health. 1995).or social- level outcomes such as occupational choice. Higher self-evaluations are also negatively associated with undesirable out- comes such as burnout (Best. 2006). These traits. and emotional stability. locus of control. & Kluger. Judge. 2001. and satisfaction with teams (Peeters. and organizational. Core Self-Evaluations Another classification of positive traits that have an effect on work-related out- comes comes from Judge and colleagues’ research on the four core self-evaluations of self-esteem. Judge. Judge. & Koh. 2004). Lewig. see Ozer & Benet-Martínez. Positive Psychological Traits More than ever before. as part of the positive psychology movement. 2006). conscientiousness has been found to be the strongest and most generalizable predictor of these person- ality traits (Mount & Barrick. 2006). spirituality. positive psychological traits can serve as a strong foundation for the . Scott. performance.324   Luthans & Youssef in Journal of M a n a g e m e n t 33 (2007) relate to performance (Barrick & Mount. and other desirable outcomes (Erez & Judge. & Dollard. 1991). Erez. G. 2006. 2000. Locke. the more positive the person’s self-regard and the more goal self-concordance is expected to be experienced. 2006). and identity. The Big Five traits have been found to be re- lated to individual-level outcomes such as happiness. Orvis.

hope.g. Several classification systems supported by theory. This classification system is also in line with recent applications of positive psychology to the workplace (for a compre- hensive review. states. Peterson and Seligman (2004) classify 24 character strengths into six broad virtue categories. and research have recently emerged for systematically organizing the broad spectrum of posi- tive psychological traits. humility and modesty. interpersonal (e. although hope has been sup- ported as being state like and thus open for development and improvement (Lu- thans.g. goal setting. Youssef. For example. any classification system for positive psychological traits should not be viewed as fully comprehensive. humor. C. exhaustive.Emerging Positive Organizational Behavior   325 development of more transient states. Two of the primary criteria for char- acter strengths are. They con- ceptualize and classify positive psychological approaches as emotion focused (e.. The sixth and final category is transcendence and includes the traits of appreciation of beauty and excellence. The second category is the virtue of cour- age. spirituality). 1996).. tracking the theoretical traditions for its historical de- velopment. and behaviors pre- . and perspective. that they should be trait like or stable over time and gen- eralizable across situations and. gratitude. Youssef.. forgiveness... second. curiosity.g. prudence. it also has a more stable trait-like baseline that can enhance or limit the level and range for one’s state hope. not just in relation to positive psy- chological traits. wisdom). self based (e. C.. humor. open-mind- edness. and spirituality. 2007a). and vitality. which includes the strengths of creativity. flow). that they should be valuable in their own right. and self-regulation. integrity. see Luthans. We are in agree- ment with C. kindness. and leadership. persistence. Repeated initiatives to enhance state hope can in turn contribute to building trait hope over time and across situations (Snyder.g. Snyder et al. a classification sys- tem better serves an emerging field such as positive psychology through establish- ing some working boundaries for its research and practice to develop and grow. gratitude. self-ef- ficacy. biological (e. organizations. The focus of those who study character strengths is on reaching a consensual definition for each strength.. first. not necessarily through the desirable outcomes they are capable of predicting or explaining (C. et al. the positive traits. For example. taking inventory of its correlates and consequences. Therefore. which includes the strengths of bravery. unlike a scientific taxonomy em- phasizing an underlying structure based on established theory. Thus. The fourth category is the virtue of justice and includes the traits of citizenship. humility). Peterson & Seligman. love of learning. Although the first of these two crite- ria may have some relevance to the workplace. 2004). 2000). and social intelligence. fairness. especially in terms of selection. empathy). assessing its existing measures. et al. and coping ap- proaches (e. authenticity. or exclusive of others. meditation. subjective or psychological well-being.. the second criterion may be viewed as less applicable in today’s bottom line–oriented organizational culture. 2007a. The first category is wisdom and knowledge. toughness). cognitive focused (e.g. measurement. Peterson and Seligman (2004) contend that. and outlining the factors and approaches that can contribute to its development or inhibition over the life span. Peterson and Seligman’s (2004) argument that the utilization of flex- ible classification systems is more relevant than that of rigid taxonomies given the current status of positivity research in general.. The fifth category is the virtue of tem- perance and includes forgiveness and mercy. The third category is the virtue of humanity and includes the traits of love. Another classification system is offered by Snyder and Lopez (2002).g.

optimism. Youssef. 2002a. on one extreme of the continuum de- picted by Luthans. talents. 2007a). in press.g.. and positive heritable characteristics). 2007a. et al. and resilience).. the state-like psychological capacities may be somewhat stable and not change with each momentary situation. 2002a. positive moods. Consequently. There is also preliminary test–retest empirical evidence that the consci- entiousness personality trait and core self-evaluation traits are relatively more sta- ble across time than are the identified state-like psychological capacities of efficacy. These state-like capacities are followed on the continuum by the trait-like con- structs that are relatively stable and difficult to change (e.. 2006. whereas self-opin- ions also revealed high test–retest correlation but still significantly lower than for the traits. optimism. et al. un- predictable environment. and character strengths and virtues). in- telligence. and resilience (Luthans et al. and commonly referred to as being “hard wired” (e. as would the more “pure” states such as positive moods.. which are characterized by relative stability over time and applicable across situations. Luthans. 2002b. hope.g. On the other extreme end of this continuum would be positive traits that are very stable. pleasure.. Luthans. and colleagues (2007a) would be positive states that are very changeable representing momentary feelings (e. We have deliberately used the term state like when referring to positive capaci- ties in POB to recognize they lie along a continuum with traits (Avolio & Luthans.. the self-opinions were relatively less stable than the more fixed traits.. the term state like also infers to be- ing relatively less fixed than personality or self-evaluation traits. fixed. In other words. 2007a. Youssef.g. In other words.. positive state-like capacities are relatively more mallea- ble and thus are open to change and development (Luthans.. Youssef.326   Luthans & Youssef in Journal of M a n a g e m e n t 33 (2007) sented in this review article. and in the supporting references cited throughout. positive psychological capacities open to in- vestment and development (Luthans. 2006. 2002b. et al. core self-evaluations. very difficult to change. Luthans. This newly recognized resource draws its competitive advantage from its potential for development and performance impact. This developmental characteristic of positive psychological re- source capacities is particularly relevant to today’s workplace. 2007b) may provide organizations with an unprecedented potential source of com- petitive advantage through their people. He found almost perfect test–retest correla- tions for recognized traits such as intelligence and personality. By the same token. Positive State-Like Capacities Unlike positive traits. efficacy. in which swiftness and flexibility in growth and development have to match the realities of a fast-paced. in press). . Avey. Luthans. Youssef. and many lay definitions of happiness).. hope. at least in the short run. Youssef & Luthans. Exploration of uncharted territories of untapped hu- man potential is far from having been concluded. however. et al. Big Five personality di- mensions. in press). Luthans et al.g. Next along the continuum would be the state-like positive psychological resource capacities that are still relatively mallea- ble and open to development (e. Allied support for this conceptualization of being state like can be found in the research of Conley (1984). should be thought of as serving as representative examples and anchor points rather than as exhaustive lists. The state-like positive psychological resource capacities are more malleable and thus open to change and development than are trait-like personality and self-evalu- ation constructs. Specifically.

A. Finally. 2001. Moreover. valid measurement. emotional stability. & Hayes. A. positive affectivity. as described above. Harter. or negative affectivity. re- cent research supports such interactive mechanisms (e. Recent conceptual theory building has also helped distinguish the trait-like ver- sus state-like nature of traditionally recognized positive constructs. Wright (2005) makes the case for a trait-like measure of positive psychological well-being as more reflective of the happiness construct.Emerging Positive Organizational Behavior   327 To further support the proposed distinction between trait-like and state-like psychological constructs. In its emphasis on theoretical grounding. for a positive psychological capacity to qualify for inclusion in POB. Buckingham & Coffman. and effectively man- aged for performance improvement in today’s workplace” (p. 2006). it must be state like. which includes being state-like as one of the primary inclusion criteria. in- cluding (a) dispositional (trait-like) ones such as extraversion. contrasting various operationalizations of happiness. developed. We now turn to a review of the POB resource capacities. (b) transient ones (states) such as posi- tive mood or lack of emotional exhaustion. 2007) to introduce the importance of time as a main effect variable in organizational behavior research. 2002b). 2002a. measurement. and em- pirical support. 2002). it is important to identify its unique distinguishing characteristics. and managed at the individual. More specifically. 59). having significant main ef- fects on performance and other desirable work-related outcomes. POB Because POB is not the only positively oriented approach to organizational stud- ies that has been stimulated and supported by positive psychology. which share its positivity but lack theory. Schmidt. a number of years ago George (1991) found positive mood as an affective state. Wright (1997.. and rigorous re- search. see Ilies et al. with stability during 6 months as a proposed operationalization of the temporal demarcation between traits and states. The state-like criterion distin- guishes POB from other positive approaches that focus on positive traits (discussed .g. measured. organizational behaviors tend to be spontaneous and interactively induced by both personality and situational factors. POB stands in stark contrast to the exponentially expanding body of pop- ular best sellers. He argues that this is especially true in relation to the happy worker–productive worker thesis. 1999. positive states that meet the POB definitional criteria are primarily researched. Indeed. and (c) highly contextualized ones such as job satisfaction. which would make it open to development and manageable for performance improvement. For example. it must be pos- itive and must have extensive theory and research foundations and valid measures. but not the more stable trait of positive affectivity. with positive states. to be predictive of both extra-role and in-role prosocial behaviors and sales perfor- mance 1 month later. developed. These empiri- cal findings and others led T. T.. Luthans (2002b) first defined POB as “the study and application of positively oriented human resource strengths and psychological capacities that can be measured. compared to other operationalizations. She argued that although positive traits are predictive of more transient positive states. A notable exception is the Gallup Organization’s research-based consulting practice and its steady stream of publications documenting the outcomes through measurement and research (Buckingham & Clifton. but not necessarily positive traits. micro level (Luthans.

Kanter. Zhu. Maurer & Pierce. measured. 1997. when combined. 2006). Stajkovic. 2003. individual-level constructs separates it from positive perspectives that address positive organizations and their related macro-level variables and measures (discussed next under positive organizations). 2003.g. 1998. These desirable outcomes include work attitudes across cultures (Luthans.. Such self-directed initiatives reflect proactive discrepancy creation. self-ef- ficacy is operationalized in terms of challenging self-set goals. 2001) social cognitive theory and extensive empirical research. 1997). the underlying higher-order. 1998. 2002). which less-confident people may passively display as they respond to challenges that are imposed on them by their external environments. 2002). Neck. hope. & Avolio. 2004. 1998) as a state. and resiliency and. career decision making (Nilsson. 2006). whereas lack- ing efficacy in some contexts does not preclude being efficacious in others (Ban- dura. although hope. self-efficacy represents the best fit with all the cri- teria (Luthans. 2002a). Neck. self-efficacy has the most established theoretical foundation and the most extensive research support. & Meek. Chan- dler & Jansen. Third.. C. Hodges. Stajkovic and Luthans (1998b) define self-efficacy in the work- place as “one’s conviction (or confidence) about his or her abilities to mobilize the motivation. and resiliency have been conceptualized. less-effica- cious individuals are more prone to failure. learning (Ramakrishna.. leadership effectiveness (Chemers. 66). Luthans. & Schaubroeck. & Godwin. 1998a. moral or ethical decision making (May. Second. cognitive resources. Often associated with confidence (e. Self-Efficacy as a State-Like Psychological Resource Capacity Building on Bandura’s (1986. Schmidt. despair. 1998a) also support that self-efficacy is strongly related to work-related performance.g. rather than reactive discrepancy reduction. Chen. participation (Lam. 1997) and measured (e. Manz. core construct of PsyCap (Luthans. 1994. C.. self-motivation. Youssef. and losing confidence when faced with negative feedback. Stajkovic & Luthans. Meta-analytical findings (e. the relationship between self-efficacy and numerous work-related per- formance dimensions is highly established. 1998b). Greene. 1999). and entrepreneurship (Boyd & Vozikis. optimism. and perseverance when faced with obstacles (Stajkovic & Luthans. self-effi- cacy has been primarily supported (Bandura. & Crick. Parker. or even . et al. & Luthans. generous effort investment and mobilization to- ward task mastery and goal accomplishment. Watson. 2002). whereas its emphasis on micro. 2005a).328   Luthans & Youssef in Journal of M a n a g e m e n t 33 (2007) previously). optimism. First. Its state-like nature is manifested not only in its developmental nature over time but also in its domain specificity. Hodgetts. Luthans. and tested both as traits and as states. 1997. Luthans & Ibrayeva. 2001). creativity (Tierney & Farmer. Youssef & Luthans. social disapproval. Having effi- cacy in one domain is not necessarily transferable to other domains. Several factors are unique to self-efficacy and make it partic- ularly relevant to POB. 2006.g. Bandura & Locke. self-selection into difficult tasks. & Avolio. 2007a). & May. Chen. and courses of action needed to successfully exe- cute a specific task within a given context” (p. Consequently. 2002). 2000. Among the POB criteria-meeting capacities selected for inclusion. Chan. obstacles and setbacks. Meeting the inclusion criteria for POB are the state-like psychological resource ca- pacities of self-efficacy.

1997.. T. 1998b). 1998b). and self-motivation when one takes a temporary emotional dive. . Avey. and informal approaches such as mentoring or coaching. self-efficacy can be developed through modeling and vicar- ious learning from others’ successful experiences. 2000. are very effective for build- ing efficacy. the development of self-efficacy can take place in training interventions and pro- grams (e. 2001. 2002. and psychological well-being. and psychological resources (Fredrickson. Self-efficacy. and psychological and physiological arousal (Bandura. forethought. Forethought (e. A. T. or unavailable.. Observation can facilitate learning from others. see Luthans. Maddux. group support and encouragement. has been found to be related to productive work (Quick & Quick. Youssef. see Bandura. A. et al. Luthans. confident individuals employ cognitive capacities such as symbolizing. diet and exercise. 1997. pre- ventive health care. Wright. even when extrinsic motivators are lacking. costly. However. On the other hand. creating mental pictures of products. 2006. 2007a). 2006. Thus. and psychological well-being and happi- ness.g. self-regulation. social persuasion. and its facilitating cognitive processes.. processes. prioritization. for practical examples of these cognitive processes. Luthans. and trust can de- velop efficacy. 2004. 2003) and their impact on one’s experiences. 2006. or negative perceptions and attributions (Bandura & Locke. observation. Mastery experiences can occur through on-the-job training and similar hands-on approaches. 2000.g. 2004) and also self-efficacy. and outcomes that would be of interest to important stakeholders) can facilitate preparation for crit- ical and challenging encounters. Finally. respect.g. especially when the trainee can perceive similarities and relevance with the role model and when the observed task is as similar as possible to the ac- tual tasks to be mastered. phys- ical health. Luthans & Avolio. which in turn would promote positive cognitions and emo- tions that can broaden one’s range of possible actions and help build intellectual. Avey. physical.. 1997. where actual experiences of success are risky. 2001. Formal training programs. et al. Physical well-being. Self-regulation provides the initia- tive. and self-reflection toward the accomplishment of their goals (Bandura. 2003b). social. 2007) and through simple. skepticism. Stajkovic & Luthans. vicarious learning and modeling. et al. anticipating proximal and dis- tal milestones. In addition to mastery and vicarious experiences. social persuasion through positive feedback. can be developed and nurtured through mastery experiences. This can directly occur through the impact of these positive social influences in creating a can-do attitude and indirectly occur through causing psy- chological arousal. informal factors such as a supportive organizational culture and even through the incremental accumulation of unplanned life events (Avolio & Lu- thans.Emerging Positive Organizational Behavior   329 self-created challenges such as self-doubt. with tasks gradu- ally increasing in their level of difficulty to allow for more frequent opportunities for practice and success. 2003). which can be accomplished through adequate work–life balance.. 1998a. 1986. Wright & Cropanzano. self-reflection magnifies the positive im- pact of past experiences in terms of learning valuable lessons and applying them to future opportunities and challenges (for comprehensive descriptions. Sym- bolizing (e. accomplishments and potential obstacles) can enhance contingency planning. proactiveness. Stajkovic & Luthans. and self-discipline necessary for confidence to materialize into actual productive behaviors that would lead to goal accomplishment. saving some of the time and energy involved in trial-and-error experiences..

recent empirical studies sup- port a positive relationship between employee hope and performance and work at- titudes (Youssef & Luthans. 1996). 1995a. Michael. 1994. 1995b. Youssef & Luthans.. 1997. including academic and athletic achievement. 2003) and its cross-cultural applications (Luthans et al. and Anderson (1991) define hope as “a positive motivational state that is based on an interactively derived sense of successful (1) agency (goal- directed energy) and (2) pathways (planning to meet goals)” (p. in press) and organizational profitability (Adams et al. 1995a. Cook. Youssef. Sny- der. . 2002). 2000.. and re-goaling to avoid false hope (Snyder. 2004. However. hope has been found to relate to performance in various domains. information. Sny- der. and trust (Luthans & Jensen. unique to hope. 1994. One of these mechanisms or ingredients of hope is the sense of agency or internalized control that creates the determination and moti- vation (willpower) to accomplish one’s goals. physical and mental health. These in- terventions include goal-setting training. and changed if necessary in light of additional evidence and new realities of the situation (Snyder. Snyder. survival and coping beliefs and skills. 2000). Snyder. 2002b. Irving. 2005). Organizational cultures and initiatives that also encourage participation. Luthans & Youssef. Avey.. et al. Veninga. Onwuegbuzie & Snyder.. More generally. Peterson & Luthans. is the process through which alterna- tive pathways and contingency plans are created and adapted to achieve goals and overcome obstacles (way-power). Ilardi. Tran. 2002a. For example. 2000. Luthans. 2006). & Sigmon. between organizational leaders’ hope and the profitabil- ity of their units and the satisfaction and retention of their employees (S. Snyder. especially their pathways think- ing. for a comprehensive review. for a highly focused micro-intervention strategy. 2006). 2000. 2006. Valid and reliable mea- sures of hope as a state have also been established (Snyder et al. 2000. emerging research supports the relevance of hope to the workplace and its impact on performance outcomes. Youssef & Luthans. 2004. Rand. Theory building also continues to emerge regarding the performance impact of hope (Luthans. communication channels. see Luthans. Finally. including stretch-goaling (setting challeng- ing goals that are slightly beyond current reach). Snyder. 1997. hope capitalizes on an individual’s self-initiated. and between Chinese factory workers’ hope and their supervi- sor rated performance and merit salary (Luthans et al. Luthans et al. 2000. Van Wyk. & Walumbwa.. A second component.330   Luthans & Youssef in Journal of M a n a g e m e n t 33 (2007) Hope as a State-Like Psychological Resource Capacity Snyder. and “out-of-the- box” thinking can enhance their participants’ hope. 2007a. Finally. Critical to hope as a POB capacity is its state-like nature.. Similar to self- efficacy. et al. 2002). 287). Luthans. see Youssef. & Cheavens.. 2000). et al. hope focuses on a different set of mechanisms through which goals are accomplished. 2002. approached. pathways can be restricted as well.. 2003). accomplished. 2007a. 2005. empower- ment. Scioli et al. 2002). between entrepreneurs’ hope and their satisfaction with business ownership (Jensen & Luthans. Kwon. On the other hand. and other desirable positive life and well-being outcomes (Curry. & Rehm. which has been sup- ported in its openness to development through recognized interventions. Resources include not only financial allocations but also authority. Ruby. when resources are limited.. 2000. J. 2002. contingency planning. stepping (graduated mastery). 1993. goal-directed motivations and behaviors. creativity. hope involves the quality of goals being set and the mechanisms through which increasingly challenging goals are selected. Range & Pentin. Youssef & Luthans.

optimism may have a dispositional baseline (Scheier & .. Magaletta & Oliver. in press. or exter- nal factors. pessimism has been related to various negative outcomes such as depression and physical illness (e. although self-efficacy and hope are primarily cognitive in na- ture. hope.. 1988). optimism utilizes generalized attri- butions. 2002).. 2002. and optimism has been supported through several empirical studies (Bryant & Cvengros. the debate continues regarding the unidi- mensionality. especially the workplace (Luthans et al. 1999. On the other hand. 2003. emotional. 1998). Peterson. an optimist’s interpretation of negative events primarily re- lies on externalizing and distancing himself or herself from failures. C. 1985). Scheier & Carver. 1987. & Vaillant.. 1984). and devel- oped in relation to the pursuit of personally valuable goals. the recognized pio- neer of the positive psychology movement. Finally. & Dember. 1991).g. Moreover. Wunderley. In addition. Pe- terson. optimism can be viewed as an attribu- tional style that explains positive events through personal. 2000. 1989. Seligman. 2004. However. C. Scheier et al. Similarly. optimism adds an external dimension to what self-efficacy and hope primarily explain through an internalized. Optimism has also been found to predict higher performance in sales.. includ- ing physical and psychological health. Similar to self-efficacy and hope. coping. agentic perspective (Bandura & Locke. and situation-specific ones. Reddy. Youssef & Luthans. and unlike hope. and motivational components (C. in press. For exam- ple. Snyder. whereas pessimists are hindered by self-doubt and negative expectancies (Carver & Scheier. Optimism has been associated with a broad range of positive outcomes. 2002). which is domain specific. 1987. Also integral to the POB inclusion criteria is the developmental nature of op- timism. Peterson. Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi. Chemers et al. 2000). 1998). and perva- sive causes and negative events through external. op- timists build positive expectancies that motivate their goal pursuit and approach coping behavior in the future. unlike self-efficacy. 2002. Luthans et al. optimistic Metropolitan Life Insurance agents have significantly higher per- formance than do their more pessimistic counterparts (Seligman & Schulman. C.. Scheier & Carver. 1998. permanent. see Pe- terson & Chang. Harris. Prola & Stern. well-being. optimism incorporates cognitive. Particularly relevant to the inclusion of optimism in POB is its supported pos- itive relationship with performance in various life domains (e. Peterson & Steen. 2002. the discriminant validity of self-efficacy. and recovery (e. 2002).Emerging Positive Organizational Behavior   331 Optimism as a State-Like Psychological Resource Capacity Most often associated with the work of Martin Seligman. Peterson & Barrett. optimism does not account for the pathways created and utilized for goal accomplishment (Luthans & Jensen. 1992. C. However. Luthans et al... the sources of an optimist’s positive expectan- cies that promote a favorable view of the future may be the self. Seligman. pessimism externalizes positive events and attributes them to temporary and situation-specific causes while internalizing negative events and attributing then to permanent and pervasive ones (C.g. Peterson & Seligman. or independence of optimism and pessimism (e.g. 1999.g. For example. in press).g.. As a result of these attributional or explanatory style differences. and others (e. 2000.. Selig- man. Carifio & Rhodes.. 2005. Similar to hope. motivated. Schulman. bipolarity. On the other hand. others. lead- ership. 1999). Seligman. optimism is created. 1986). 1984. et al. temporary.

et al. Luthans. which would result in a more realistic type of optimism (Sch- neider. and possess effective adaptive mechanisms that allow them to flexibly improvise in response to unexpected situations. 1987). 2001. 1999). contingency planning. However. pessimists may habitually assume responsibility for unfavorable situations that are beyond their control or give credit to someone (or something) else for their own accomplishments. 1998) through focused inter- ventions (Carver & Scheier. Similarly.. 2007). Realistic. 2002) and measured as state like (Luthans et al. 1993). thus po- sitioning themselves where they would experience more failures than successes. Instead of only portraying resilient individuals as exceptional case studies of those who somehow defy the laws of gravity associated with adversity. Wolin and Wolin (2006) challenge the “damage model” and its underlying “risk paradigm. and increased re- sponsibility” (p. and pessimism should not necessarily be negatively viewed. strongly hold onto meaning- ful and stable values and beliefs. 2002. Avey. can become self-fulfilling prophecies that can set that person up for success or failure. or what is referred to as “flexible optimism” (C.. and re- dundant systems. 2002). it is necessary for participants to be able to adapt their style. It is also important to note that optimism may not always be an effective ex- planatory style. For example. Pe- terson. in press. preventive measures. progress. Coutu (2002) describes them as those who accept reality..332   Luthans & Youssef in Journal of M a n a g e m e n t 33 (2007) Carver. In sit- uations that require prudence.” which establish preconceived notions based on a person’s “at-risk” clas- sification. 702). failure. Resiliency as a State-Like Psychological Resource Capacity Luthans (2002a) defines resiliency as “the capacity to rebound or bounce back from adversity. A pessimistic explanatory style may develop over time because of ei- ther distorted or actual pessimistic attributions. 1999). Unlike traditional conceptualizations of resiliency as an ex- traordinary capacity that can only be observed and admired in highly unique in- dividuals. Avey. which are typical of many organizational settings. adapt. et al. . 2006. the positive psychology and POB perspective on resilience is that it is a learnable capacity that can be developed in the most ordinary of people (Mas- ten. On the other hand. Schulman. in the same way that helplessness (a conceptual oppo- site of an optimistic explanatory style) can be learned. This type of pessimism can be refuted by identifying and challenging its underlying destructive assumptions and beliefs and replacing them with more positive and productive ones. 2000. These labels. some people turn themselves into pessimists by setting unrealistic expectations and unattainable goals. conflict. Luthans. or even positive events. alternating between optimistic and pessimistic explanatory styles. and consequently the ways in which the person is treated by mentors and peers. flexible optimism simultaneously allows recognition of positive achievements in oneself and others and accountability and acceptance of responsibility for challenges and difficult situations. an optimistic explanatory style can also be learned and developed (Seligman. independently of the person’s real ability to cope. 2001. Schulman. and bounce back. These two types of pessimists can learn optimism in slightly different ways. Wagnild & Young. This group can become more optimistic through learning more effective goal-set- ting strategies (Carver & Scheier. Masten & Reed.

75). progress from deficient to av- erage performance is rarely sufficient (Sutcliffe & Vogus. 1997). or counterproductive group dynamics. 1997. J. assets and risks are combined in a non- linear fashion. in line with the recognized developmental psychology literature (Egeland. risks or “vulnerability factors” (Kirby & Fraser. several additional perspectives and adaptations of the de- velopmental psychology conceptualizations of resiliency have made it even more relevant and applicable to the workplace.. 1997) are those that cause an “elevated probability of an undesirable outcome” (Masten & Reed. 2005. For example. & de la Rosa. and sequence of risks being faced and assets being created. 2004. Kirby & Fraser. 1996. Masten and Reed (2002) de- fine an asset as “a measurable characteristic in a group of individuals or their situa- tion that predicts a positive outcome in the future on a specific outcome criterion” (p. 1993).Emerging Positive Organizational Behavior   333 Despite its extensive theory building and applications in the clinical and de- velopmental psychology literature (Block & Kremen. In this process. 2002) outlines asset-focused strategies. 1998. Assets that are relevant to the workplace may include knowledge. personality traits. As a POB capacity. the POB def- inition also takes into account the need to bounce back even from positive but potentially overwhelming events such as greatly increased responsibility and ac- countability. Masten. risk-focused strategies. 2001.. p. developed. and social relationships and support. Process-focused strategies attempt to enhance resilience by building effec- tive coping mechanisms that can facilitate the utilization of various assets to over- come adversity. the adaptive employment of assets to ef- fectively deal with risk factors and the accumulation. frequency. M. extrapolating where common themes exist and adapting where warranted by the discontinuities across contextual differences. 1999. Moreover. the primary emphasis of the established clinical psychology applica- tions of resiliency is bringing individuals back to their normal level of performance. On the other hand. & Mangham. For example. Work-related examples of risk factors may include stress. POB offers an ex- . in today’s competitive workplace. Stewart. and intensity of as- sets and risk factors that one possesses. ineffective leadership. resiliency is just emerging in the management literature. Huey & Weisz. all of which are predictive of higher performance. These challenges may be viewed as threats by those who lack resiliency but as challenging opportunities by those who possess considerable resiliency. & Sroufe. POB resiliency is primarily viewed as a process rather than an outcome. Reid. Rather than focusing on the variety. Rich- ardson. Asset-focused strategies emphasize building resiliency through enhancing one’s asset inventories. However. 1997. Carlson. Masten (2001. Sandau-Beckler. 2002). Smith & Carlson. thus increasing the probability of success. lack of communication and feedback. Johnson et al. although Masten and Reed (2002) define resiliency as “a class of phenomena characterized by patterns of pos- itive adaptation in the context of significant adversity or risk” (p. there are established approaches for developing resiliency that have been recently shown to be applicable to the workplace. abilities. Cowan. and process-focused strategies as effective approaches for building resiliency. job insecurity. interaction. Risk-focused strategies decrease the probabil- ity of failure by eliminating or reducing as many risk factors as possible. con- flict. & Schulz. 76). and deployed become the determining factors for the outcomes of the resiliency process (Sandau-Beckler et al. 1997. Masten & Reed. On the other hand. Hunter & Chandler. 2002. 2002. Bonanno. On the other hand. 1996. 2002. Devall. resiliency draws from these rich theoretical and clin- ical research and practice foundations. 2002. Masten & Reed. 2003). A. skills. Cowan. 76).

Reivich & Shatte. & Reiter-Palmon. This is as applicable to organizations and their members as it is to individuals and groups in any other context (e. 2003. as a POB capacity. 1997. survival values may promote self- serving behaviors that may be critical in a military combat situation but that may not fit the needs and expectations for effective business leadership (Coutu. This type of re- silience has been supported as a predictor of work-related outcomes and shown to be open to development and management in the workplace (Conner. in press). 2003. Reivich & Shatte.g. hope. May et al. presents management researchers and practitioners with a high-potential source of competitive advantage to explore and on which to capitalize (Luthans. Zunz. Harrison. It allows adversities and setbacks to be viewed as opportunities for learning. et al. (2) making a positive attribution (op- timism) about succeeding now and in the future. p. 2007a). these values and beliefs seem to take on different qualities and serve differ- ent functions in different contexts. with its criteria-meeting capacities of self-efficacy. This PsyCap is comprehensively defined as an individual’s positive psychological state of development that is character- ized by: (1) having confidence (self-efficacy) to take on and put in the neces- sary effort to succeed at challenging tasks.. 1994. 2005. guided by ethical values and strong belief systems. 2006.. 1993. Waterman. Jones.. Waterman. In addition.. LaMarch. in press. 2002). 2005. optimism. 2003). and development. Youssef & Luthans. and (4) when beset by problems and adversity. (3) persevering toward goals and. when necessary. Weick. sustaining and bouncing back and even beyond (resiliency) to attain success (Luthans. 2001. On the other hand. development. 1998). Luthans et al. Ryff & Singer. and re- siliency.g.. However. recent preliminary and empirical findings across diverse samples support that these four positive psychological capacities may con- tribute more in combination and interaction in what is called PsyCap (Luthans et al. et al. Harland. Luthans et al. 3). 2004. 2005. the ethicality of those values has also been supported as an important dimension of resiliency (Avolio & Luthans. 2005a).. Richardson. or what positive psychologists are investigating as “posttraumatic growth” (e. It engages creative and flexi- ble adaptive mechanisms. 2004. Luthans et al. Luthans. and flourishing (Bonanno. Youssef. Values and beliefs draw their importance in building and sustaining resiliency from their stability over time. 2006. 1993). et al. 1998).334   Luthans & Youssef in Journal of M a n a g e m e n t 33 (2007) panded perspective on resiliency that incorporates “bouncing back and beyond” so that adversities and setbacks become opportunities for learning. et al. POB resiliency also incorporates a proactive dimension that promotes discrepancy creation even in the absence of exter- nal threats (Bandura & Locke. and also in line with the recent positive psychology con- ceptualizations of resiliency. 2007a. 2002. although the possession of strong values and beliefs is critical for re- siliency. For example. 2002. toward the achievement of personally and organizationally meaningful goals. Luthans & Avo- lio.. Luthans. Vickers & Kouzmin.. growth. it becomes evident that resilience cannot be limited to just a reactive capacity that is expressed in times of adversity. Given the additional perspectives that positive psychology and POB assimilate into resiliency.. 2003). & Collard. Waite & Richardson. Youssef.. 2002. Psychological Capital or PsyCap POB. Park. Tedeschi. Avey. redirecting paths to goals (hope) in order to succeed. & Calhoun. Avey. 2006. Luthans. . 2007.. Vo- gelgesang. & Lester.

and resilience. et al.. 2007). whereas key resource theories also support interactive effects across such constructs (Cozzarelli. Magaletta & Oliver. 2004. Importantly. 2002. and manipulating perceptions of leaders’ PsyCap can result in other desirable outcomes such as in- creased trust and higher evaluations of leadership effectiveness (Norman. that PsyCap does add value to both human and social capital (Larson & Luthans. M. Besides efficacy. hope. 2007a) and is being tested for its psychometric properties and nomological net- work for validity (Luthans et al. 1993. several other high-potential positive psychological capacities have also been considered for inclusion in PsyCap .. 1979). Luthans. Coleman. Kobasa. et al. 2007). & Jung. when PsyCap is portrayed as a multidimensional. there is an un- derlying thread or commonality running through PsyCap that represents one’s pos- itive appraisal of the particular situation. in press).. Youssef. upward striving. 1999). human and social capital (Adler & Kwon. financial capital). 2002. 1988. the four dimensions that make up the core of transformational leader- ship (Avolio. et al.. To date. Avey.. Wright & Snell. For example. and an empowerment core also comprised of four elements (Spreitzer. the physical and personal resources avail- able. Bass. et al. 1999). Empirical support for PsyCap as a core construct is emerging through testing the convergent and discriminant validity of two or more of PsyCap’s constituent psy- chological capacities (Bryant & Cvengros. Wong & Mobley. 2006). then it can draw from both within and across each psychological resource capacity. Luthans. & Sandman. Antonovsky. optimism. 2002. for a comprehensive review). Thoits. Dunkel- Schetter. 1999. R. who you know (social capital). As a higher-order core factor. optimism.. efficacy. 1979. In addition. Carifio & Rhodes. First.. prelimi- nary research also shows that PsyCap development interventions may have per- formance impact on the participants (Luthans. latent core construct (see Law. 2004. Such an approach is also consistent with the core self-evaluations model for four positive traits developed by Judge and colleagues (Judge & Bono. 1994). a 24-item measure of PsyCap has been developed (Luthans. Judge et al. Rini. & Luthans. Wadhwa. Avey.g. Second. 2005. and the probability of succeeding based on personal effort. Through this perspective. 2001.. 2004. and/or re- siliency (e. Allied support for this conceptualization of PsyCap as a higher-order core construct can be drawn from the psychological re- source theories (see Hobfoll. Luthans. Luthans & Youssef. at least as related to work attitudes.g. Avolio. core construct that underlies the four capacities that constitute it (Luthans et al. in press). 2006. 1995). 2005). mul- tiple-component resource theories support build-out and contagion effects within the internal dimensions of constructs such as hope.. and challenging and promoting the development of who you are today (the actual self) into what you can become in the future (the possible self).. measured. in press). and perseverance (Luthans et al. 1998). more recent. the contribution of PsyCap as a core construct is being conceptually sup- ported by building out from the notions of traditional economic/financial capital and.Emerging Positive Organizational Behavior   335 Several sources of interactive synergy may exist when PsyCap is conceptualized. PsyCap is proposed to build-out and add value to what you already have (e. Preliminary research has found. Luthans et al. and developed through this integrated framework. et al. a highly focused PsyCap development intervention has been designed and tested and was found to signif- icantly increase managers’ and employees’ PsyCap levels in a variety of samples (Luthans. Youssef. 1999) and specified models of PsyCap as a higher-order... what you know (human capital). 2007a).

2002. 2003). Research and consulting by the Gallup Organization also supports the impor- tance of positive. and manageable for performance impact in the workplace are again the primary determining factors for whether a specific posi- tive capacity qualifies for potential inclusion in this version of POB and PsyCap. and cultures have also been extensively studied and supported for their contributions to organizational performance and competitiveness (e. Youssef. PsyCap research already spans a variety of set- tings. 2003). 2007a). et al.. and the higher-order capacity of authenticity seem to meet most of the PsyCap inclusion criteria (Luthans. developmental. in addition to the efficacy component in Southeast Asia (Luthans. 2004) and the Middle East (Youssef & Luthans. et al. structures. Also. Similar to our previous discussion and how C.. factors such as effective selection and placement practices that capitalize on employees’ talents. 2005).g. Harter. 2001. 2007a). Youssef. and humor. & Keyes.. Van Wyk.. clear and aligned goals and expectations. and opportunities for growth. flow. Huselid. The cognitive capacities of creativity and wisdom. et al. and motivation and their underlying strategies.. POS is defined as . 2007a)... 1995. in press). the positive organizational scholarship or POS movement has been instrumental in providing macro-level scholars with a conceptual frame- work for organizing and integrating their research on positive organizations (Cam- eron et al..336   Luthans & Youssef in Journal of M a n a g e m e n t 33 (2007) (Luthans. Peterson and Seligman (2004) treat their classification of characteristics and virtues in positive psychology. 2006). In addition. 2007a).. so- cial support and recognition. Finally. customer satisfaction. 1998). In this framework. et al.. and ultimately organizational profitability and growth (Har- ter et al. A wide variety of positively oriented high-performance work prac- tices in placement. 2003). the more social positive capacities of gratitude. Positive Organizations A positive approach to selection. development. preliminary research has found that PsyCap is related to performance and satisfaction in both high-tech manufacturing and service employee samples (e.g. compensation. et al.. Wagner & Har- ter. Youssef. the implications for PsyCap have been analyzed with diverse populations such as immigrant entrepreneurs (Youssef & Luthans. Youssef. and self- actualization have been found to significantly contribute to employee engagement. and management of human re- sources in organizations has been emphasized by both scholars and professionals over the years. this categorization of POB and PsyCap is considered open for further development and inclusion of still other criteria-meeting positive capacities rather than being a closed taxonomy (Luthans. in addition to the hope component of organizational leaders in Africa (Luthans. Buckingham & Coffman. 2006).. despite only emerging. 1999. Specifically. development. The inclusion criteria of being theory and research based. et al. strength-based organizational cultures and human resource prac- tices (Buckingham & Clifton. Pfeffer. 2006). the affective capacities of sub- jective well-being. Schmidt. measurable. Some cross-cultural PsyCap research has also taken place in China (Luthans et al. Luthans et al. contributing to its external validity. On the academic side. For example. 2006) and Central Asia (Luthans & Ibrayeva. Zhu. forgiveness. and emo- tional intelligence and the higher-order capacities of spirituality and courage are still being explored regarding their fit with the inclusion criteria (Luthans.

Likewise. (2004) argue that although organizational compassion shares many of the characteristics of individual compassion. it is becoming evident that in to- day’s work environment. POB.Emerging Positive Organizational Behavior   337 the study of that which is positive..g. and/or behaviors). cultural attributes. 2004).. p. resiliency. Thus. These collective cognitions and factors cause them to be manifested in ways that are different from isolated incidents of individual compassion (Kanov et al. 2004). & Caza. Parallel distinctions can be made between several seemingly similar organiza- tional. A hu- manistic work ideology.477). characterized by interdependence and teamwork. Scholarship refers to the scientific. a group of posi- tive individuals may not necessarily add up to a positive team. However. Similar to POB and PsyCap. The integrated team is the referent for such collective efficacy. Thus. their traits. operating unit. Bright. p. and practices) that exist in the organizational context in which they take place. and values that can meaningfully guide and trickle down to enhance unit and individual resiliency (Youssef & Luthans. and PsyCap in its positivity and scientific rigor but is distinguished from these other positive approaches in its more organization-level orientation. the primary emphasis of POS is the workplace and the accom- plishment of work-related outcomes.. Several characteristics of positive organizations stem from the positivity of the participants (i. this virtuousness has been found to relate to organizational performance (Cameron et al. feeling. 2004. 731). specifically taking into account the context in which positive phenomena occur. theoretically de- rived. flourishing.. organizational virtuousness can facilitate. 2005b). but different from pos- itive psychology. To further elaborate on the contributions of positive organizations being beyond those of their individual members. Also unique to POS is its utilization of diverse qualitative and quanti- tative research methodologies. norms. emo- tions. enable. Kanov et al. 2004. including noticing. p. Positive refers to the elevating processes and outcomes in organizations. as seen in this definition. and rigorous investigation of that which is positive in organizational set- tings (Cameron & Caza. and other similar positive characteristics. process-focused strategies.and individual-level constructs. POS is in line with other positive approaches such as positive psychology. For example. policies. and responding to the pain of others. can equip organizations with the dynamic capabili- ties necessary for adaptability and responsiveness to environmental changes using strategies that would add value through human capital (Wooten & Crane. or organization. including compassion. and even engender individual level virtuousness. val- ues. in organizational compas- sion these processes become collective in nature. collective efficacy can be used as a case in point. organizational resiliency may be pro- moted through organizational-level asset-focused strategies. risk-focused strate- gies. Unlike self-efficacy. 1997.e. This is ac- complished through factors beyond the individual members’ actions. promoted. posi- . and life-giving in organizations. states. and coordinated by factors (e. 2004). and actions are legitimated. These collective cognitions. Importantly. collective efficacy does not necessitate perceptions and beliefs of personal mastery for a given task and context but rather the “group’s shared be- lief in its conjoint capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given levels of attainments” (Bandura. For example. Orga- nizational refers to the interpersonal and structural dynamics activated in and through organizations. virtuousness. to include “collective activities. or processes that enable dissemination and perpetuation of virtuousness in an organization” (Cameron. 768).

1998). and motivation (Organ & Ryan. Moorman. we review several representative emerging types of positive behaviors that can be predicted and explained by actual and potential intersections between pos- itive individual traits and states and positive organizational characteristics. measurable behaviors that can have direct performance impact. 1986. efficiency. not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system. & Niehoff. Dimensions of OCB include altruism. the dominant values and emphasis of organizations in market economies on ambition. and cour- tesy (Brief & Motowidlo. conscientiousness. Courageous principled action occurs “when people must draw upon their in- tuitive. OCB can be defined as “individual behavior that is discretionary. sportsmanship. Podsakoff. 2005). 832). and initiative may necessitate cou- rageous principled action that challenges the status quo by promoting values such as loyalty. it is essential for the impact of positive traits.. 2006). see also LePine. We now give attention to these positive behaviors. and integrity. and promoted. In addition to specific resultant behaviors such as OCBs and courageous prin- cipled actions. Whistle-blowing is an example of coura- geous principled action that seeks the organization’s long-term interests of main- taining a positive reputation but that may challenge the organization’s status quo in the short-run. In addition to the contribu- tions of individual traits and states. various organizational factors such as the form or design have been proposed as enablers or constraints of courageous principled action. Related to although somewhat distinct from this construct of positive deviance are representative positive behaviors such as organizational citi- zenship behavior (OCB) and courageous principled action. Erez. for positive states to be developed and managed. For example. Many of these positive behaviors can be grouped under the umbrella of “positive devi- ance. & Fetter. and that in the aggregate pro- motes the effective functioning of the organization” (Organ. & Johnson. civic virtue. In this final section. 1988. 2002). positive attitudes. 1995) and positive institutional characteristics such as organiza- tional support and procedural justice (Moorman. and organizations to manifest themselves in terms of tan- gible. states. and for positive be- haviors to be exhibited. Blakely.” which Spreitzer and Sonenshein (2004) define through a normative approach as “intentional behaviors that depart from the norms of a referent group in honor- able ways” (p. emotional. interpersonal. for a critical meta-analytical review. 145). 1990. recognized. OCB can be predicted through positive personality traits. exposing the courageous actor to many immediate risks such as so- cial disapproval or job loss (Miceli & Near.338   Luthans & Youssef in Journal of M a n a g e m e n t 33 (2007) tive organizations are critical in building the necessary context for positive traits to be selected. 4). Resultant Positive Behaviors Given the competitiveness of today’s environment. 2003. p. honesty. in Fredrickson’s . competition. For example. and cognitive resources in order to undertake ac- tions in line with the highest goals of the organization but not part of the accepted routine or status quo” (Worline & Quinn. Recent empirical studies support the interaction between individual-level positive person- ality traits and states in predicting both the frequency and consistency of engaging in OCBs (Ilies et al. p. trust. several mechanisms through which positivity can affect observ- able behaviors have also been recently proposed. MacKenzie.

& Hughes. positive emotions help build intellectual. person-role congruence. Gardner.Emerging Positive Organizational Behavior   339 (2001) broaden-and-build model. 2005). and Bonett (in press) found that psycholog- ical well-being moderates the relation between job satisfaction and job performance. 2005. Wright. Wright & Bonett. 2003. This finding may account for the inconsistent results of previous studies solely fo- cusing on the job satisfaction–job performance relationship to explain the happy– productive worker thesis. How- ever. In other words. Cropanzano. May et al. positive psychological states. and individual-organiza- tional exchanges. 2005). self-transcendent organizational behaviors.. only through further theory . phys- ical. contagion effects. positive cognitions. In addition. For example. 2006. Authentic leaders in turn engage in behav- iors that build their associates’ authentic leadership and followership capacities and that are transparent. 2003). and self-concordant goals and the ability to authentically articulate such a perspective in ways that are inspiring and constructive to oneself and others (Shamir & Eilam. a leader’s authenticity and ability to exhibit self-transcendent behaviors are also deeply rooted in self-awareness. the current status of the theory. significant prog- ress is being made. using Fredrickson’s broaden-and- build model. in the emerging authentic leadership development literature. and future oriented (Avolio & Luthans. 2003a). as indicated. man- agement personnel were found to be most likely to turn over when both their psy- chological well-being and their job satisfaction were low (T. Sparrowe. Recent empirical studies also support this increasing contribution of positivity to desirable work-related outcomes. Luthans & Avolio. in press). This perspective stands in stark contrast to traditional negative views of emotions in leadership as manipulative or counterproductive (Michie & Gooty. re- search. Luthans. job performance was highest when em- ployees reported high scores on both psychological well-being and job satisfaction. and a supportive. 2006. 2005. based on Hobfoll’s (2002) conservation of resources model. More specifically. Lu- thans. au- thentic leaders are developed through the concerted contributions of life experi- ences and stable personality traits. 2003. social. Fredrick- son. and psychological resources. Norman. and practice of POB is still emerging. In another study. authentic leadership and its development can offer another untapped positive resource that can result in upward spirals of positive change across various organizational levels. & Walumbwa. However. Similarly. providing further support for the nonadditive contribution of those two fac- tors to work-related outcomes. Especially the psychological resources can expand one’s potential courses of action and help build a cushion and buff- ering mechanisms that can facilitate resilient bouncing back in times of adversity and when negative emotions are experienced in the future. A. and positive other-directed emotion may interactively promote positive. May. Conclusions and Future Directions As reflected in the title of this review article. As with any new domain of inquiry. developmental organizational climate. This positivity has been found to expand these effects beyond the individual level to the group and organizational levels and the behavioral in- tentions and activated instrumental behaviors that result (Bagozzi. positive emotions can exhibit upward spirals. ethical. Avolio. A. moral. T. authentic leaders’ self-transcendent values. For example.

2006. Luthans et al. PsyCap constructs have been found applicable in cross-cultural (Luthans et al. in which a wider range of positive and negative outcomes can be investigated. 2006. Zhu. because valid and reliable measurement represents the core and pre- requisite of scientific inquiry. 2000. They contend that to assert whether optimism and pessimism are unidimensional. see Klein & Kozlowski.. James. Luthans & Ibrayeva. and rater-induced biases (e. However. and as the in- tegrated perspective described above is developed over time. This can result not only in a broader perspec- . method- ological complexities. In our concluding comments. 2006) and entrepreneurial settings (Jensen & Luthans. 2007a. Gully. & Lindell. as more positive capacities are added to PsyCap.. et al. Specifically. Third. Luthans. This proposed positivity framework would also require the investigation. it is necessary to continually refine existing mea- sures of positive constructs. and integration of nontraditional or understudied positive psychological ca- pacities and a multidisciplinary approach to draw from the relevant literature in other fields of study. organizations. These measures may also need to inte- grate both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to capture some of the prom- ising constructs and mechanisms that may be difficult to assess through traditional survey measures.g. Second. Lee and Allen (2002) report only a moderate negative cor- relation between OCB and negative deviance. an inte- grated theoretical framework. 2006). the external validity of POB constructs should be tested in a wide vari- ety of settings. LeBreton. or independent. and to develop others that are specific and valid for the workplace. POS. & Kilcullen. To date. Comparisons can facilitate extrapolations from existing findings and further understanding of these positive constructs’ contextual applicability and sit- uational limitations. C. positivity researchers and practitioners should not take for granted the common but often mistaken assumption that related positive and negative con- structs are extreme ends of a continuum. Fourth. as discussed at different points throughout this review article. For example. Ilies et al. 2005). we propose a roadmap for further progress in the journey of better understanding and effective application of POB. Our recently developed 24-item PsyCap Questionnaire may serve as an example for such measurement (Luthans. For example. and in virtual business environments. 2006). bipolar. more comprehensive and elaborate measures will be necessary. in press). many questions remain unanswered regarding the applicability of POB to other contexts such as organizations of various sizes. both positive and negative constructs and their broad spec- trum of outcomes need to be studied. and behaviors should be the ultimate goal.. 2000. Luthans & Ibrayeva. and PsyCap in relation to resiliency (Youssef & Luthans. classifica- tion of positive traits. A more comprehensive approach is needed. Whiteman. Chen.. 2005. applica- tion. but open.g. Peterson and Chang (2002) argue against the linear unidimensionality of optimism and pessimism de- spite their negative correlation... Including the characteristics of positive organizations in such a framework would also pose chal- lenges that are common to multilevel research. This suggestion could follow the approach adopted in POB. such as small sample sizes.340   Luthans & Youssef in Journal of M a n a g e m e n t 33 (2007) building and research can POB be better understood and fully utilized for perfor- mance impact. along with a comprehensive. First. state-like capacities. see G.. in a variety of indus- tries. This comprehensive approach necessitates studies that concur- rently test the relative contributions of each of those influences and the interactions among them (e. Youssef. 2005b). more comprehensive stud- ies are needed. et al. Similarly.

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