Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences Master Thesis Human Resource Studies

A flourishing workforce:
How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions, innovativeness, and OCB

Student: Maria Christina Meyers ANR: 885332 Adress: Arke Noëstraat 22, 5041 LM Tilburg E-Mail: M.C.Meyers@uvt.nl

Project theme: Strengths-based development 1st Supervisor: Marianne v. Woerkom 2nd Supervisor: Brigitte Kroon

Abstract

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Abstract
Strengths-based development (SBD) has its roots in positive psychology and forms a new, dynamic approach to personnel development that targets the achievement of exceptional individual and organizational outcomes by a process of identifying and valuing employee talents, developing them into applicable strengths and putting these strengths into practice. This study combined the strengths-based approach and the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. It investigated the influence of strengths-based development on positive emotions reported by 400 employees of seven Dutch and Belgian organizations. Furthermore, it examined the effect of SBD and positive emotions on the outcome variables employee innovativeness and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). Multiple hierarchical regressions controlling for organization and multilevel regressions with two levels – the individual and the departmental level – have been conducted to test the hypotheses. Results underlined both the importance of SBD as well as the importance of positive emotions in a working context. First of all, SBD was found to significantly enhance workers’ mood states. Second, a positive effect from SBD to employee innovativeness and OCB was detected which was mediated by positive emotions. In case of innovativeness full mediation and in case of OCB, partial mediation was indicated. Consequently, the assumption of a direct effect from SBD to innovativeness had to be rejected, whereas the assumption of a direct effect between SBD and OCB could be maintained. In summary, the work brought forward strong arguments for the positive psychology movement and its capacity to support individual and organizational flourishing.

Keywords:

positive

psychology,

strengths,

strengths-based

development,

positive

emotions,

innovativeness, OCB

How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions, innovativeness, and OCB

Table of Contents

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Table of Contents
1. Introduction ....................................................................................................................................... 5 1.1 The Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions ............................................................. 5 2. Theoretical Framework ........................................................................................................................ 8 2.1 Strengths-Based Development (SBD) ..................................................................................... 8 2.2 Emotions ............................................................................................................................. 10 2.2.1 Positive Emotions ................................................................................................ 10 2.3 Relation between Strength-Based Development and Positive Emotions .............................. 11 2.4 Innovativeness .................................................................................................................... 12 2.5 Relationship between Positive Emotions and Innovativeness .............................................. 12 2.6 Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB)........................................................................... 13 2.7 Relationship between Positive Emotions and OCB ............................................................... 13 2.8 Direct Effect of SBD on Innovativeness and OCB .................................................................. 15 2.9 Synthesis: Conceptual Model .............................................................................................. 16 3. Method ............................................................................................................................................. 18 3.1 General Research Set-Up ..................................................................................................... 18 3.2 Description of Respondents ................................................................................................ 18 3.3 Instruments......................................................................................................................... 19 3.3.1 Strengths-Based Development ............................................................................. 19 3.3.2 Positive Emotions ................................................................................................ 20 3.3.3 Innovativeness ..................................................................................................... 21 3.3.4 OCB ..................................................................................................................... 21 3.4 Control Variables................................................................................................................. 22 3.5 Procedure ........................................................................................................................... 22

How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions, innovativeness, and OCB

Table of Contents

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3.6 Statistical Analysis ............................................................................................................... 23 4. Results............................................................................................................................................... 25 4.1 Correlation Analysis ............................................................................................................ 25 4.2 ANOVA ................................................................................................................................ 26 4.3 Multiple Regression Analyses .............................................................................................. 26 4.4 Multilevel Analysis .............................................................................................................. 35 5. Conclusion and Discussion ................................................................................................................. 38 5.1 Limitations and Future Research ......................................................................................... 41 5.3 Practical Implications .......................................................................................................... 43 5.4 Concluding Remarks ............................................................................................................ 44 5. References ........................................................................................................................................ 45 Appendix A ............................................................................................................................................ 53 Appendix B ............................................................................................................................................ 56

How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions, innovativeness, and OCB

1. Introduction

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1. Introduction
Human Resource Development (HRD) has been defined as “a process of developing and unleashing human expertise through organization development and personnel training and development for the purpose of improving performance” (Swanson & Holton, 2001, p.90). Based on the assumption that the greatest potential for performance improvements lies in the weaknesses of individuals, most HRD practices follow a deficiency approach (Buckingham & Clifton, 2001). This approach has its focus on figuring out the things which are not working well in an organization and improving those via training, coaching, and other means (Clifton & Harter, 2003). In recent days, however, HRD theorists started to concentrate their attention on the opposite idea. They argued that the greatest potential for improvement does not lie in the weaknesses, but in the strengths and talents of employees (Buckingham & Clifton, 2001). This new perspective is called the strength approach or strength based development (SBD) and is aimed at using positive psychological potential. SBD is embedded in a broader field of research which is known as positive psychology (Seligmann & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Positive Psychology in general focuses on understanding and building “those factors that allow individuals, communities and societies to flourish” (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000, p.5). More specifically, Clifton and Harter (2003) said that the strengths approach “can be seen as identification of positive personal and interpersonal traits (talents), in order to position and develop individuals to increase the frequency of positive subjective experience” (p.114). The authors further stated that the success of the strength approach is related “to the enduring nature of positive emotions, which served to broaden and build the individual’s thoughts and actions and produce enduring resources for the future” (p.115). Encompassing theoretical and empirical research on this topic has been conducted by Barbara Fredrickson who developed the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions (1998, 2001). This theory will be the basis of the herewith presented research project.

1.1 The Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions
The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions rests upon the general accepted assumption that emotions elicit specific action tendencies in individuals (e.g. Frijda, 1986; Frijda, Kuipers, & Schure, 1989; Lazarus, 1991). Action tendencies brought forth by negative emotions tend to be highly salient and differ neither from individual to individual nor from situation to situation: they are obvious and

How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions, innovativeness, and OCB

innovativeness. if one bears into mind that positive emotions possess the capability to support human flourishing and that exactly this flourishing is one of the declared goals of the strengths movement. physical and social terms (Fredrickson. Consequently. and OCB . 2002). Fredrickson (2001) herself made the following statement in this regard: Yet. because it can help individuals escape from mortal danger (Fredrickson. and integration of different perspectives as typical actions for individuals in a positive mood state (Fredrickson. The person’s momentary thought-action repertoire gets narrowed by calling in mind an urge to act in a particular way. Experts agree that this promotion of fast responses possesses an evolutionary adaptive quality. the evolving action tendencies linked to positive emotional states seem to be rather vague and unspecific (Fredrickson. Introduction 6 unambiguous. 1998). 2003a). this study made a first attempt to combine emotion and organization and linked emotion theory to the previously presented strengths approach. 2002). One can observe approach behavior. As the positive psychology movement inspires additional research on positive emotions. 1998). 2003b). Despite the supposed beneficial effects of positive feelings. leads to aimless activation. 1991). continued action. like fleeing in case of danger. playing. the positive effects of emotions.1. As an example of this the negative emotion fear can be mentioned which initiates an individual to take flight (Fredrickson. savoring. the bulk of emotion research up to date has focused on negative mood states only (Fredrickson.224) An important yet scarcely investigated setting in the emotion research is the organizational context. that is the building of How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. For this reason. the benefits of positive emotions identified thus far are likely just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. 1998). Joy. even more reasons to cultivate positive emotions may be discovered. an individual can build enduring personal resources in intellectual. This link suggests itself. Consequently. In contrast. for example. (p. She stated that negative emotions trigger people to focus their energy on the execution of one specific action. exploring. In order to make Frederickson’s theory verifiable in an organizational context. there is still much research to be done in the field of positive emotions and their valuable consequences. positive emotions are said to be evolutionary adaptive although they do not contribute to lifesaving as obviously as negative ones (Fredrickson. expansiveness and outgoingness (Lazarus. In case of undergoing a positive emotion the opposite pattern occurs: individuals experience a widened array of thoughts and engage in various kinds of actions. While partaking in one of those activities. Fredrickson (2003a) explained this difference in the elicited action tendencies within the context of her broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions.

This led to the following research question: Does an organizational strengths-based development approach. as perceived by the employees. then. contribute to greater experience of positive emotions and do these positive emotions. To sum up. On the social side. 1998) which should parallel organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) at the workplace. positive emotions are said to facilitate generativity and behavioral flexibility (Fredrickson & Losada. this research project strived for two important goals: Firstly. had to be transferred to the working environment. because they are of particular importance for employee performance. lead to greater employee innovativeness and more organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) as is assumed by the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions? How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. the focus was put on intellectual and social resources only. Secondly. it had the objective to examine the beneficial effects of strengths-based development. innovativeness. Therefore. which was transferred to innovativeness in the organizational setting. in turn. Introduction 7 personal resources. positive feelings are seen as a favorable precondition of helping behavior (Fredrickson. and OCB .1. 2005). it was aimed at testing the broadenand-build theory of positive emotions in an organizational context. On the intellectual side.

For a professional assessment of dominant talents. a visualization of the model clarifies the supposed relationship between all variables and a synthesis is given. a process which can be promoted by line managers as well as by colleagues. 2004). motivate them. Linley and Harrington (2006a) defined strength as “a natural capacity for behaving. Buckingham and Clifton (2001) clarified that strengths are not innate but must be built by combining the natural talents possessed by an individual with knowledge and skills. explained. an organization must support its employees in going through a process with several stages (cf. Theoretical Framework 8 2. we feel good about ourselves. 2. Theoretical Framework In the following paragraphs every variable of the conceptual model that has been tested in this study is presented. Once strengths are built. 2006a. 2005) and the Values in Action (VIA) classification of strengths (Peterson & Seligman. thinking. & Harter.2. Hodges.41). and OCB . or feeling in a particular way that allows optimal functioning and performance in the pursuit of valued outcomes” (p. 2006b.1 Strengths-Based Development (SBD) Employees’ perception of the organizational approach to strengths-based development is the variable of central importance in this study. and we are working toward fulfilling our potential” (Linley & Harrington. they energize individuals. Both can inspire an individual to think about things he likes to do and things he is good at and can point out to possible talents. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. the meaning of the term strengths and several elements of a strengths approach need to be clarified before coming up with a working definition of SBD. In order to better understand this expression. This quotation especially prefigures the positive organizational potential which is hidden in a strengths approach: enhanced well-being and personal growth on the individual and performance improvements on the organizational side (Linley & Harrington. innovativeness. we are better able to achieve things. 2006b). At the end. p. organizations can make use of instruments like the Clifton Strengthfinder (Lopez. The first stage is the identification of individual talents. In order to fully use this potential. and give them a sense of authenticity (Govindji & Linley.88). Clifton & Harter. Both questionnaires have been explicitly developed for the purpose of revealing individual talents. Furthermore. “When we use our strengths. 2007). 2003). and linked to the other variables under examination.

talents should be developed into strengths. complementary partnering. This component is referred to as “valuing of individual strengths” and comprises appreciation by colleagues and supervisors as well as positive feedback regarding a person’s talents. SBD is an approach that can be applied at the individual as well as at the team-level (Linley & Page. has focused on the individual level. so that an employee can decide himself how to accomplish his tasks in the most efficient and effective way. Despite the strong focus on strengths. To summarize. since it was aimed at revealing general effects of SBD in organizations. Still. mentoring and various training activities that explicitly build upon the previously identified talents. It cannot be integrated into the chronology of the three formerly mentioned phases. and OCB . How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Team-level approaches to SBD have the advantage that the number of people.89). an additional fourth component was added to this sequence. and by the creation of leeway. or strengths-based team-working” (Linley & Harrington. 2007). and the given tasks are limited. and to become all that they can be” (p. which makes the reallocation of tasks according to strengths-profiles less complex and easier to accomplish. p. Making use of strengths should come naturally to people (Linley & Harrington. according to Linley and Harrington (2006b). After consultation with experts. 2007). 2004). This stage. organizational approach which targets the achievement of exceptional individual and organizational outcomes by a process of identifying and valuing employee talents. tries to manage them in an efficient way by means of “job allocation. Theoretical Framework 9 After the identification phase. but builds an element which spans the whole SBD process. however. an organization can facilitate this process by the distribution of tasks. dynamic. the strengths possessed by them.2. within the context of this research project. a strengths-based organization. the organization provides means like coaching. organizations support their employees to adapt their behaviour and to utilize their strengths in an optimal way: optimization is procured by focusing on strengths. For this purpose. strengths-based development has been defined as a positive. developing them into applicable strengths and putting these strengths into practice.40). which is only possible by combining them with compatible knowledge and skills (Buckingham & Clifton. innovativeness. this does not mean that weaknesses are completely ignored (Linley & Page. composition of teams. In a last stage. 2001). This study. to exploit their natural potential. 2006a. supports human beings in their “natural tendency to want to develop their capacities. since everybody possesses a strong intrinsic motivation to do what he or she is doing best (Peterson & Seligman. 2006a). rather than neglecting weaknesses.

Fox. Moods. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. A third agreed upon characteristic of emotions is the generation of specific action tendencies (cf. we’re talking about a positive emotion. an individual will experience hedonically positive emotions. Variables such as joy. subjective and objective manifestations” (Reisenzein & Weber. and physiological changes. If this relationship is beneficial. are tonic (longer in duration. 2009). love. Emotions are phasic (brief in duration. because they are considered to be “manifestations of the same sort” (Frijda. 2008). Second. less intense) and do not refer to one specific object. If an event is perceived as motive-congruent. Another way to discern positive from negative emotions was presented by Reisenzein und Weber (2009). First. 1986. whereas objective manifestations comprise particular actions. pride. intense) and linked to a specific eliciting object or event (Frijda. Experts. 2009. In general. p. there is no generally accepted definition of the term emotions (Reisenzein & Weber.1 Positive Emotions Classifying an emotion as either positive or negative can be done by appraising the person-environment relationship (Lazarus. p. chapter 1. and OCB . emotions are considered to be temporary states of individuals that “occur as reactions to the perception or imagination of objects” (Reisenzein & Weber. 2009.56). fear. 1986. The term emotion is often interchangeably used with the term mood. however. disappointment. as representing an actual or potential fulfillment or frustration of a motive” (Reisenzein & Weber. They based their opinion on the cognitive or appraisal theory of emotion generation which implies “that emotions arise if an event is appraised in a motiverelevant manner. that is. guilt. distinguish one from another according to two characteristics. but many researchers agree upon different characteristics of them. expressive reactions. 2.59). shame. however. embarrassment. 1991). and grief are understood as negative emotions. 2008).2. hedonically negative emotions will be deployed by events which are perceived as motive-incongruent. they can fleet from one to another (Frijda. The broaden-and-built theory of positive emotions).2. variables such as anger. there is consensus about the fact “that they have both. Theoretical Framework 10 2.55).2 Emotions Up to date. disgust. Fox. hostility. if it’s harmful. those emotions are experienced if a motive has been frustrated or if the person-environment relationship is harmful. p. 2009. 1986. p. innovativeness.1.55). about a negative one. By subjective manifestations the authors referred to pleasant or unpleasant feelings that are elicited by a specific object.

hope.120). & Linley. Although this linkage has hardly been tested empirically so far. Those experiences and feelings. changes to a more praising one (Linley & Page. 2007. that the reprehensive tone in appraisal interviews. happiness).2. As mentioned above. which can be distinguished from hope as a personality trait (trait hope). which forms a part of SBD. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. and OCB . 2003) and gives them a feeling of competence and achievement. it is assumed that an SBD approach conveys employees with positive subjective experiences (Clifton & Harter. 2001). 2003a). and enthusiasm are considered to be positive ones. In summary. innovativeness. strengths and no longer weaknesses of employees attract most of the attention (Buckingham & Clifton. Proctor. interest. only a few empirical studies so far delivered evidence which points to the theoretically assumed direction. gratitude. They appear when a motive has been fulfilled or when the person-environment relationship is favorable. as it was common for deficit approaches to HRD. in two recent studies. 2007) were found to be positively linked to subjective well-being. Finally. will generally lead to the experience of positive emotions (pride. strengths-use (Govindji & Linley. Belschak and Den Hartog (2009) found confirming evidence for Lazarus’ (1991) assumption that positive feedback. 2. it was expected that higher ratings of SBD would produce higher amounts of positive emotions reported by employees. Within a strengths-based development approach. theoretical work points out to a positive connection between both variables. 2010) and strength knowledge (Govindji & Linley. Furthermore. in turn. Hypothesis 1: Strengths-based development approaches in organizations will lead to greater experience of positive emotions on the part of the employees. 2007). Maltby. amusement. That means. while negative feedback will result in negative ones (disappointment. amongst others positive emotions. Accordingly. Hodges (2002) found that talent identification and development of strengths in a student sample led to significant increases in state hope. secure that employees can derive positive meaning from their work (Fredrickson. for example.3 Relation between Strength-Based Development and Positive Emotions Clifton and Harter (2003) stated that the strength approach to organizational development is “a likely antecedent to many constructs explored in the field of positive psychology” (p. guilt). Theoretical Framework 11 contentment.

which encompasses the sponsoring and implementation of the developed ideas alongside (Scott & Bruce. 2007). investigated the relationship between positive affect and creativity with qualitative and quantitative research and could demonstrate a positive. and OCB . (2005).368). Experts however agree that . Mueller.300). 1988. 1987. but creativity does not always lead to an innovation” (p. positive emotions are said to facilitate broad-minded thinking.4 Innovativeness Huhtala and Parcefall (2007) based their definition of employee innovativeness on previous work (Kanter.creativity builds only one important component of the broader innovativeness concept. In contrast to negative emotions that narrow the range of thoughts. Daubman. 1998. suggests a positive link between positive emotions and the constructs creativity and innovative behavior (Fredrickson. Carnevale & Isen. researchers have mainly neglected the topic of positive emotions and well-being in their innovativeness studies up to now (Huhtala & Parzefall. 2003b). Fredrickson & Losada. and Nowicki (1987) who could demonstrate the facilitating effect of positive emotions on two tasks of creative problem-solving. 1994).300). direct relationship between them. which was specified “as the production of novel.2. which in turn has a favorable influence on inventiveness.. Amabile et al. for example. One example of this link is the specific emotions joy that leads to a state of free activation and playfulness (Frijda. 2005. 1994) and described it as “complex behaviour consisting of idea generation. 2005). Scott & Bruce. Despite those theoretical assumptions. Barsade. Mertz. & Robinson. 1986. Huhtala and Parzefall (2007) described it in an easier way: “Innovativeness requires creativity. idea promotion and idea realization with the aim of meeting organizational goals in novel ways” (p. another is the less intense emotion interest that motivates exploration and consideration of new information and experiences (Fredrickson. 1985).with its exclusive focus on the development of new ideas . Similar results were achieved by Isen. which formed the foundation of this study. Johnson. Daubman. Isen. 1986) which stimulates creative behavior. Theoretical Framework 12 2. innovativeness. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. p. & Nowicki. Innovativeness is closely linked to creativity. 2. 2001. 2005. & Staw. useful ideas or problem solutions” (Amabile. Isen. Some supporting evidence could be derived from studies which were primarily centered on creativity and not explicitly on innovation (Amabile et al.5 Relationship between Positive Emotions and Innovativeness The broaden-and-build theory.

41).2. Hypothesis 2b: Positive emotions mediate the relationship between SBD and innovativeness. as positive emotions themselves were assumed to be engendered by SBD.3). innovativeness. it is behavior which goes beyond the required behavior according to formal job descriptions (Williams & Shiaw. does not need to build resources if it directly enhances survival for the recipient. 2. Possible factors associated with it are job satisfaction and leadership style (Smith. 1980). In a recent paper on the broaden-andbuild theory by Cohn and Fredrickson (2006). 2006). 1991). 1988). including altruism and consideration toward others. perceptions of fairness (Messer & White. “Broadening in a social context. 1983). p. 1998).7 Relationship between Positive Emotions and OCB Over and above their effects on creativity. civic virtue. and OCB . and in the aggregate promotes the effective and efficient functioning of the organization” (p. positive emotions can also be seen as potential facilitators of altruism and helping behavior (Isen. & Near. Hypothesis 2a: Greater experience of positive emotions will lead to greater employee innovativeness. altruistic behavior) that promise long-term rather than short-term benefits. Thus. a mediating role of emotions in the SBD – innovativeness relationship was expected. Up to date. sportsmanship. and the recipient enhances the giver’s survival (either genetic or personal)” (Cohn and Fredrickson. courtesy and conscientiousness (Organ. 1987. Organ.6 Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) is an expression which is used to describe prosocial behavior within the working context. Organ. 2. and organizational stressors (Cohen. 2006. 1999). This term refers to the willingness of individuals in a positive mood state to invest resources in activities (e. the necessity to examine the relationship between positive emotions and helping was expressed and the term broadened investment was introduced. Theoretical Framework 13 Those research findings were perfectly in line with the previously introduced broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions and led to the assumption that greater amounts of positive emotions would cause greater innovativeness. Fredrickson. and MacKenzie (2006) defined OCB as “individual behavior that is discretionary. Moreover.g. many researchers in the field have focused their attention on investigating the antecedents of OCB. It is an umbrella term that combines the dimensions altruism. but which is nonetheless of great organizational importance (George. Podsakoff. not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.

innovativeness. 2001). for example. conducted a study in Singapore and disclosed that mood influences employees’ intentions to display OCB. Rioux and Penner (2001) found mood to be significantly correlated with four out of five sub-dimensions of OCB (civic virtue. Experts on OCB offered several theoretical explanations for this assumed link between mood and extra-role behavior. sportsmanship. 1999). other theorists assumed a link between positive emotions and OCB as well. Theoretical Framework 14 Independent of the positive psychology movement. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. in a study on salespeople. Hypothesis 3b: Positive emotions mediate the relationship between SBD and OCB. Isen. it was hypothesized that OCB would be enhanced by positive emotions. Organ. Gaertner. Hypothesis 3a: Greater experience of positive emotions will lead to more employee OCB. Brown. and MacKenzie (2006) stated their opinion in a simpler way: the better the mood of a person. Isen and Simmonds (1978) supposed that people who are experiencing a positive affective state develop the desire to prolong the positive emotional feeling and try to do so by engaging in prosocial behaviour. while reviewing relevant literature. Luce. the more likely he or she would engage in prosocial behavior. 2002. Lee & Allen. which in turn enhances the chance of helping behavior (e. Several studies delivered supporting evidence for the relationship between positive emotions and OCB (Dovidio. within the framework of the broaden-and-build theory. 2002. & Fox. 1997). Borman. Similarly. but that it also enlarges the perceived self-other-overlap (Waugh & Fredrickson. Podsakoff. Williams and Shiaw (1999). 2001. 1999). positive emotions were again assumed to function as a mediator in the relationship between SBD and OCB. In line with those supporting research results. 1991). Miles. Rioux & Penner. Spector. 1995. and OCB . George (1991) tested the hypothesis that positive mood. Second. would be responsible for prosocial behavior and found supporting evidence. Williams & Shiaw. This means that a person in a good temper is more likely to perceive similarities with other individuals. Furthermore. it was assumed that positive mood not only elicits approach behavior towards other persons in general (Fredrickson. Cialdini. George. in contrast to positive trait affectivity. & Lowrance.2. 2006). it was suspected that positive mood leads to an increased social awareness that then triggers OCB (Williams & Shiaw. Finally. 1991. George & Brief. 1992. Krebs (1970). found that mood state was one of the most important preconditions of helping behavior. A third explanation could be that positive moods lead people to perceive others and situations in a more positive way (George.g. altruism and courtesy. Lewis. unrelated to conscientiousness). First. Furthermore. & Neuberg.

which is an important feature of SBD. Mumford (2000) further accentuated the importance of training and ongoing professional development. these research findings give an additional hint on their capability to boost innovativeness. feedback and task significance in particular. According to Mumford. Starting with innovativeness. As SBD approaches are supposed to lead to high degrees of autonomy. In addition. informational feedback combined with substantial task autonomy is the most supportive precondition for employee creative behavior. contributed to higher employee creativity. and OCB . skill variety. feedback style and feedback valence.2. As a consequence. Theoretical Framework 15 2. they should be free to manage their time and to structure their activities according to their own preferences. literature points out to a possible direct effect from strengths-based development to innovativeness and OCB. The authors could find a significant influence from those job characteristics (as measured with a combined index) to supervisor-rated employee creativity and number of patents. Oldham and Cummings (1996) explored the relationship between several job characteristics (autonomy. task identity. the following hypothesis was included in this research: How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. He found empirical support for the hypothesis that positive.8 Direct Effect of SBD on Innovativeness and OCB Although not yet having been tested explicitly. He could also find partial support for the hypothesis that positive. Mumford (2000) brought forward strong theoretical arguments for enhancing creativity by conceding employee autonomy which is an important feature of SBD. contribute to employee innovativeness. innovativeness. Many characteristics of Mumford’s approach parallel the underlying ideas of SBD. SBD shows a strong emphasis on continuous training as well and should. Moreover. informational feedback. who examined the connection between innovativeness and task autonomy. the above mentioned theoretical assumptions and research findings suggested that there could be a direct link between SBD in an organization and employee innovativeness. Empirical evidence for a direct SBD – innovativeness link could be delivered by Zhou (1998). He declared that employees should always be on an updated state of knowledge if they were supposed to act innovatively. task significance) and creativity. Parallel to this. Taken together. The strengths use phase in particular aims at giving employees the possibility to act in a way that best suits their talents and provides them with the necessary autonomy to take their own decisions regarding task accomplishment. employees should have the leeway to pursue emerging opportunities and to act in a way that suits them personally. accordingly. task feedback.

one for innovativeness and one for OCB. Therefore. One of the most important theoretical contributions to the OCB research in general was delivered by Organ (1990). Another linkage that parallels the considerations on innovativeness could be found for OCB and feedback. and promotes feedback seeking). 2000) and found supporting empirical evidence (Farh. were set up. NorrisWatts and Levy (2004) could detect a positive relationship for OCB and feedback environment (consisting of the seven aspects source credibility. the above mentioned suggested linkages added up to the following conceptual model (see Figures 1 & 2). in line with the reasoning on innovativeness. favorable and unfavorable feedback. However.9 Synthesis: Conceptual Model Taken together. Despite the absence of specific empirical evidence. 1990). If this relationship is perceived to be fair. there are sufficient hints in the literature that suggest a direct link between SBD and OCB. feedback quality. Paine. Theoretical Framework 16 Hypothesis 4a: There is a direct. dedicated resources to them. It has been even more complicated to find studies hinting at a direct link between SBD and OCB. and OCB . & Bachrach. innovativeness. In order to enhance clarity of representation two separate models. to advance and support the workforce. A strengths-based approach that is by definition meant to focus on the positive. positive effect from SBD to innovativeness. Vigoda-Gadot and Angert (2007) found a strong positive relationship between job feedback and OCB as well as between job feedback and formal performance. MacKenzie. to value individuals. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Podsakoff. the following statement has been recorded as a final hypothesis: Hypothesis 4b: There is a positive direct effect from strengths-based development to OCB. should contribute to a positive perception of the organizational exchange relationship and therewith to a higher degree of OCB. He proposed that OCB is basically influenced by the social and economic exchange relationship an employee thinks to have with an organization. an employee is more likely to perform OCB. & Organ.2. 2. and to give them the opportunity to do what they like. Similarly. source availability. feedback delivery. researchers also suspected a relation between the beforehand mentioned five task variables and citizenship behaviors (Podsakoff. and offered support. if it invested in employees. In other words: an organization could profit from enhanced prosocial behaviors at work.

2. mediated by positive emotions 3b 1 + SBD Positive emotions 3a + OCB + 4b Figure 2. mediated by positive emotions How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Chart of the relationship between SBD and innovativeness. innovativeness. Similarly. and OCB . Chart of the relationship between SBD and OCB. the assumed positive influence from SBD to OCB can be explained through a positive direct effect between those two and another chain of positive effects from SBD to positive emotions in a first. and from positive emotions to innovativeness in a second step (Figure 2). Theoretical Framework 17 Figure 1 clarifies that the assumed positive causality between the independent variable SBD and the dependent variable innovativeness can be explained in terms of a direct positive effect between the two variables on the one hand and a mediated effect via positive emotions on the other. 2b 1 + SBD Positive emotions 2a + Innovativeness + 4a Figure 1.

special attention needed to be given to the nested data structure (employees nested within departments. In total. All were located either in the Netherlands or in Belgium. innovativeness. single measures were not independent of one another. with 412 valid answers. An overview of the participating organizations is given in Table 1. Therefore. As organizational and departmental factors tend to influence employee ratings.17% How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. 1946 employees received a link to the online-questionnaire or a questionnaire in paper-pencil form. Self-report questionnaires were used to examine the variables of interest so that possible relations between them could be discovered. Table 1 Overview of Participating Organizations Organization Hospital Homecare Communication Service Provider (CSP) Vocational School University Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 a Sector Healthcare Healthcare Telecommunication Lower vocational education Higher education Consultation Consultation Invited Respondents 100 196 1500 39 12 23 76 Answers Received 56 58 201 10 10 19 58 Response Rate (%)a 56 29. and could either be filled in online or in a paper-pencil form. A response rate of 21.6 13.6 76.1 General Research Set-Up To answer the research question mentioned under paragraph one a quantitative survey research was designed and conducted. 3.3 82.4 25. Method 3. within organizations). The applied questionnaire was used for several research projects on SBD.2 Description of Respondents Respondents were recruited in seven organizations operating in four different sectors.6 83. Overall response rate 21. it contained scales for variables that were neither used nor mentioned in this specific study. Of these answers only 400 could be included in the data base due to delays in responses. and OCB . the questionnaire was available in a Dutch and an English version.3 Note.17% could be achieved. consequently. Data collection took place in 37 departments from seven different organizations at one point in time. Method 18 3.3. Furthermore.

Several existing questionnaires were searched for adequate items. More than half of the employees were highly educated. “I get the opportunity to do what I am How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. and appreciation by six items. The previously agreed upon definition of SBD served as guideline for the test construction. and OCB . primary education or secondary education (1. with 46. questionnaires that were available in both languages. 2007). 86. have been newly developed. and from the Gallup Workplace Audit (Harter.3. Schmidt. 2002). development of talents and strengths use by seven items respectively. & Hayes.5% (N=114) who completed higher vocational education. If possible. innovativeness. English and Dutch. 91 employees (22. which were partly derived from the Strengths Knowledge Scale (Govindji & Linley.3%) were Dutch native speakers. A minority (N=55. For an exact overview of the number of employees per organization see Table 1.8%) completed vocational education and only the remaining six fell into the categories preschool education. That means that after translating the scales into Dutch in the first instance. 2007). they were retranslated into English by a third person and adapted if misfitting. have been translated using the translation-back-translation method. a new questionnaire was developed by the research team. Most of the respondents (N= 345.7 years. were used.5%). Method 19 196 male respondents (49%) and 204 female respondents (51%) filled in the questionnaire. Questionnaires that were available in English only. Example items were “I get the opportunity to learn what my talents are” (identification). Questionnaires that were available in Dutch only. The average tenure of employees was 12. however. like the scales of SBD and innovativeness. 3.8%) had an international background and had to fill in the English version of the questionnaire. The sample mainly comprised professional and clerical workers who did not perform managerial tasks. Their age averaged 41. 13. which were slightly adapted if necessary. The questionnaire was designed to cover the four aspects of SBD.3.3 Instruments Literature was searched for already existing questionnaires and scales measuring the variables of interest. “I am stimulated to further develop my competences” (development). were translated into English by a professional translation office. the Strengths Use Scale (Govindji & Linley. Most of the items. The final version of the questionnaire comprised 25 items.8% (N=185) who completed higher academic education and an additional 28.1 Strengths-Based Development Since no existing questionnaire covered all aspects of strengths-based development.79 years. This procedure should guarantee the quality of the translation. 3. Identification of talents was measured by five items.

The first of the three thus obtained factors was a combined factor of the two dimensions talent identification (four items) and strength development (three items). Watson. This scale asked respondents to indicate the extent to which they have undergone one of ten particular emotions (e. Answers could be given on a five-point Likert scale from one (totally disagree) to five (totally agree).74 respectively. and “I receive compliments for performing well” (appreciation). Table A1. 2008). Nonetheless. Method 20 good at” (use).2 Positive Emotions Positive emotions have been measured by using the positive affect scale of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS. innovativeness. When estimating the reliability of the factors by calculating Cronbach’s Alpha.g. an overall factor SBD total (α = . The second factor comprised six items measuring appreciation of talents and the third factor consisted of five items measuring strengths use. and with a forced structure of 3 factors. where the same techniques are used to induce positive moods and positive emotions (Fredrickson & Cohn. if one concentrates on the subjective feelings of an individual only. Ponds and Vermeeren (1996). An ideal factor structure could be obtained after deleting seven items. these theoretical distinctions can only rarely be found in empirical work. Thus. In How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. The PANAS has originally been developed as a mood questionnaire and.91. it appeared that all factors obtained sufficient alpha values with α = . “excited”) during work.95 and a significant outcome of Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity. For a complete overview of the factor structure see also Appendix A. let us recall.94) has been computed which comprised those 18 items that were included in the factor analysis. amongst which all negatively poled ones. 1988). Answers could be given on a five-point scale from one (very slightly or not at all) to five (extremely). theoretical work pointed out the differences between emotion and mood (cf. 2005).3. α = . With a Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin value of . what we did within this research project. Next to the three subfactors. since correlations between the factors were to be expected. The whole questionnaire was checked for its factor structure using principal component analysis (PCA). In total these factors explained 64.3. “interested”. the questionnaire was suitable for being subjected to an exploratory factor analysis (Pallant. there was sufficient justification to utilize the positive affect scale of the PANAS for the purpose of this study.91. and OCB . 3. and α = . Frijda. Plutchik and Kellerman (1989) further said that mood checklists are a reasonable choice to measure emotional states. & Tellegen. which has been translated into Dutch by Peeters. Clark. Oblimin rotation has been used.43% of the variance. The questionnaire including all items can be found in Appendix A. Table A2. 1986).

83 was achieved for this scale which comes close to the alpha value of α = . the Kaiser criterion (eigenvalue > 1) and the scree test. innovativeness. Scale analysis revealed a Cronbach’s Alpha value of α = . suggested a one factor structure.80. Factor extraction according to both.3.3 Innovativeness Innovativeness has been measured by an eight-item scale.24% of the variance. 2005).79 (Peeters et al.71% of variance explained) and the ten items measuring positive emotions clustered as the second factor (eigenvalue: 2. and “I consider the How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. “I keep up with developments in this company” (civic virtue). Method 21 this study the Cronbach’s Alpha for the scale has been found to be α = . which is in line with the previously found value of α = . promotion. used and tested by de Jong and den Hartog (2005). Factor analysis supported the assumption that this scale was measuring one single innovativeness factor. 3.28% of variance explained). since sportsmanship significantly correlates with altruism as well as courtesy (MacKenzie. In the present study a Cronbach’s Alpha of α =. the assumed two factor structure could be supported: the ten items measuring negative emotions clustered as the first factor (eigenvalue: 5. Example items are “I willingly give of my time to help others” (altruism). This scale has been based on previous research by Kleysen and Street (2001) and respondents could indicate on a range from one (totally disagree) to five (totally agree) to which extent a statement was representative for them. civic virtue (4 items) and courtesy (3 items).46. The remaining items could be answered on a 5-point Likert scale from one (totally disagree) to five (totally agree). One example of the dimension idea generation is the item “I often hit upon ideas in my work”.. Furthermore.54. The scale covered the OCB dimensions altruism (3 items). Conscientiousness was not included in the present study since it has not been found to be related to positive emotions in former analyses (Rioux & Penner.4 OCB OCB has been measured with a ten-item scale based on the work of MacKenzie.3. generation. 27. but was still more than sufficient.88. The general innovativeness factor with an eigenvalue of 3.84 obtained in previous studies (de Jong & den Hartog. 1996). Podsakoff & Fetter. 3. Podsakoff and Fetter (1991). and implementation.94 then explained 49.3.79. 12. This value differed slightly from the previously found α = . When subjecting the whole PANAS to a factor analysis using oblimin rotation with the number of extracted factors set as two. It covers the innovativeness dimensions idea exploration. and OCB . 2001). 1991) it was decided to omit it and keep the questionnaire as short as possible.

.26. Supplementary dummy variables were created for different organizations. Clark and Tellegen (1988). organizational tenure. 2006) and between OCB and educational level (Smith. 2001. and the third factor building up altruism (eigenvalue: 1. although said to be important for prosocial behavior. only the two variables lengths of service and educational level had to be included as control variables in the present study. lengths of service. 36. Differences on the departmental level were accounted for by applying a multilevel analysis. Gender.4 Control Variables Common control variables in the innovativeness and OCB literature are age and gender of individuals. Holman. however.67. 2000). The categorical variable gender was included as a dummy variable and educational level as an ordinal variable. it was controlled for gender since this is recommended by the mood researchers Watson. Consequently.and self-rated innovative job performance (Janssen. & Near. & Waterson. Lee and Allen (2002) could not find significant influences of the control variables age. Other studies however revealed a positive relationship between OCB and lengths of service (Chiu & Tsai. length of service (Janssen. Factor analysis supported this factor structure. Filling in the questionnaire took approximately 25 minutes. and organizational factors.3. educational level.6% variance explained).56. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. factor two consisting of the courtesy items (eigenvalue: 1. Axtell. 15. Wall. has been found to be positively linked to supervisor.71% of variance). 3. and organizational level. 2000) and gender (Axtell et al. 12. Organ. with factor one consisting of the four civic virtue items (eigenvalue: 3. 2001). no influence or only a minor influence was found for the background variables age. In addition. Educational level. Tenure was assessed in years and included as a continuous variable. Unsworth. In the innovativeness research. innovativeness. 1983). Beyond. within their research on OCB. 3. 2006). was not found to significantly influence OCB (Chiu & Tsai. Organizations had the possibility to choose which method was more convenient for their employees.58% of variance). Method 22 impact of my actions on others” (courtesy). according to the research results for OCB and innovativeness.5 Procedure Employees of the participating companies were asked to fill in the previously described questionnaire in either a paper-pencil or a web-based form. since the data that was used showed a nested structure (employees nested within seven organizations). and OCB .

According to them. differences on the organizational level were considered. Those ANOVAs were aimed at revealing significant differences in the group mean values for SBD. As a reminder. Mediation was tested following the rules from MacKinnon. Multiple hierarchical regressions can partly account for a nested structure by creating dummy variables for the different groups. in the third model the mediating variable. finally. including the newly created organizational dummy variables. OCB. Therefore several One-way Analyses of Variance (ANOVAs) with Bonferroni post-hoc tests were conducted before starting with the actual regression analyses. 2004). This How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. For reasons of complexity. indicates significance of the indirect effect (Preacher & Hayes. innovativeness. Those dummies were then included as control variables in the following multiple hierarchical regression analyses. and positive emotions. however. if Z ≥ 1. and. dummy variables have been created. In the subsequent multiple regression analysis. innovativeness. in the second model the independent variables were added. and OCB . In order to assess significance levels of the mediating relationships. In a last step.0. and Fritz (2007). Variables were added to the regression equation following the enter method. Fairchild. The first model comprised control variables only. This analysis comprised dependent. independent and mediating variables and revealed basic relations between them. the nesting of the data on the departmental level was accounted for by applying a multilevel regression procedure with two levels: the individual and the group-level (department). After the main variables had been tested for their factor structure and computed. For organizations that turned out to differ significantly from the others in one of the variables. a correlation analysis using the Pearson product-moment correlation was carried out. Sobel-tests were used additionally.3. This test produces a Z-value that. 3.96.6 Statistical Analysis Statistical analysis was conducted with SPSS version 17. Method 23 Respondents were informed about the surveys’ anonymity and asked to answer honestly and without thinking too much about the single questions. this study dealt with individual data that was nested within two levels: the organizational and the departmental level. it was decided to only account for the organizational level in this way. there is evidence of mediation if (a) the effect from independent variable to mediator and (b) the effect from mediator to dependent variable controlled for the effects of the independent variable are both statistically significant. Regression analyses comprised three blocks of variables (three models) each.

(p. They indicate the proportion of the total amount of variance in the data between the departments. 2000). (c) groups or contexts are not treated as unrelated. the assumption of independent measures would be violated when applying a common multiple regression analysis. The term mixed effects denotes that a regression model comprised fixed as well as random effects. In a common regression model. 1991). intraclass correlations have been calculated in a first step (ICC1. and (d) both interindividual and intergroup variation can be examined (as well as the contribution of individual-level and group-level variables to these variations). but are seen as coming from a larger population of groups. Random effects are often possible disturbing factors that need to be controlled for. (b) the nonindependence of observations within groups is accounted for. According to Diez-Roux (2000) a multilevel regression can be characterized by the following four features: (a) it allows the simultaneous examination of the effects of group-level and individual-level predictors. In this case. In a situation where we only have to deal with the department level as a random component. In order to test the extent to which the departmental level influenced individual level scores. If ICCs are considerably high. measures were likely to depend on one another which would hurt the assumption of independence of errors. Comparison of deviance differences with a Chi-square distribution table delivered a measure of the model fit.and between department-level (Raudenbush & Bryk. and an individual error term. Those differences are analogous to differences in R² and adjusted R² in a standard regression (Bickel. because respondents belonged to one of 37 departments and the belonging to one department or one group was suspected to influence employees’ perceptions of SBD on the individual level (Diez-Roux. Degrees of freedom were obtained by calculating the difference in the number of parameters per model (Bickel. Method 24 was necessary. innovativeness. 2007) and were thus calculated for every model that added predicting variables to the regression equation. Bliese. Thus. mixed effect models must be used to account for the nested data structure and to assure non-violation of this assumption (Garner & Raudenbush. the departmental level could disturb the regression equation by systematically influencing the scores of individuals.3. 2000). In our case.174) In order to compare different multilevel models and test their significance. 2002). the effect of receiving a treatment. 2007). and OCB . it was appropriate to use a hierarchical 2-level modelling approach that simultaneously models effects at the within. deviance differences (differences in the -2log likelihood) had to be calculated. the score of an individual on the dependent variable always depends on the mean of the sample. only fixed effects can be found. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.

which were used to answer the hypotheses.1 Correlation Analysis The relationship between independent.01). p<.91) .4.18** .07 . Positive emotions correlated positively with both.05 (.01).47** . Correlations. Cronbachs’s Alpha can be found between brackets. and OCB (r=.83) . mediating.49** .25** .84 .63** . Results 25 4.21** .37.01. and dependent variables was analyzed using the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient.33 3.44 4.04 -.93** (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (. 1=female. As can be seen from Table 2.67 4. 4.61. Results This paragraph presents the most important results.94) . from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education) * p<.19** -.24** .21.20** .09 (.11* -.21** . p<.11** .74) .02 (.41** .06 .80** . Similar results could be obtained for each of the three particular factors of SBD which is not surprising given their high correlations with the encompassing factor SBD total and their high correlations amongst each other (r=.07 .60 . p<.01).49.21** -.91) Note.10* M 3.75.41.08 -.07 -.63. p<.01 .79) . p<.70 .38** .82 .75** . and OCB .04 .04 (. the independent variable SBD total shows a medium.90** .05 -. in years.11* -.04 -.25. positive correlation with the assumed mediator positive emotions (r=.74 4. r=.10 -.67 .97 .01) and smaller.01 (two-tailed) How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.07 -. 123467 answering scale from 1(totally disagree) to 5 (totally agree) 5 answer scale from 1(very slightly or not at all) to 5(extremely) 8 9 10 0=male.36** .32** .80) .05 ** p<.19 SD .01).20** (. positive correlations with innovativeness (r=.50 9.61** .83 (1) (.50 12.01. p<. innovativeness.37** -.32** . The dependent variables innovativeness and OCB showed a significant positive correlation as well (r=. Table 2 Means. p<. p<.00 3. and Reliabilities Variable (1) SBD total (2) SBD identification & development (3) SBD appreciation (4) SBD use (5) positive emotions (6) innovativeness (7) OCB (8) gender (9) tenure (10) educational level 3.07 -. r=.11* .32.01) and OCB (r=.44 .40 3. Standard Deviations. p<.46 .01). innovativeness (r=.23** .23 .

With a sample size varying between N = 365 and N=395.80. 362) = 3. SD=0. and Consultancy 2 (M=3. Consultancy 1 (M=3. innovativeness.17.01) (see AppendixB).46. assumptions of multiple regression analysis were checked. For positive emotions. Consultancy 1. for SBD. with k as the number of independent variables.99.3 Multiple Regression Analyses First. Furthermore. differences between group means reached statistical significance on the p < . four one-way between-group analyses of variance have been conducted.50). 380) = 3. this criterion is fully met. p=. and Consultancy 2 were included as dummy variables in every following hierarchical regression analysis. 358) = 1.4.81). Putting the three subfactors into one analysis did not violate the assumption of multicollinearity according to Pallant (2005). Results 26 4. To avoid hurting the assumption of singularity. an N of 50 + 8 x 11 = 138 should be obtained. the organizational determinants Vocational School.54).65) and Consultancy 2 (M=3. As a consequence.2 ANOVA In order to determine the impact of the seven organizations on SBD.41. SD=0. whereas the variable CSP was included in analyses where OCB was relevant.61 to r=. Hospital was included as a dummy variable in any analysis containing the variable innovativeness.40). positive emotions. SD=0. inspection of the Variance Inflation Factor (VIF) How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.25. SD=0.001) and on the p < . using the post-hoc Bonferroni procedure. Inspecting the post-hoc Bonferroni comparisons.001) and OCB (F(6. and OCB .61). SD=0. Finally. and OCB. p=. since SBD was included in any of them. 4. SD=0.001 level for both innovativeness (F(6 .01 level for SBD (F(6.88.08.83. significant differences could be found for the organizations Vocational School (M=2. In this case.75. SD=0. By contrast. no statistical significant difference between the mean scores of the seven groups could be found (F(6. Sample size should fulfill the criterion of Green (1991) which says that a regression analysis should at least have N ≥ 50 + 8 x k cases. For OCB the same test indicated significant differences in the means of the organizations Communication Service Provider (M=3.67). innovativeness. it could further be seen that the means for innovativeness differed significantly between the organization Hospital (M=3. separate regression analyses were run for the total factor SBD on the one hand and its three subfactors on the other. p=. Although they showed moderately high correlations from r=.75. with a maximum number of 11 predictors. 359) = 4.45) and again Consultancy 2 (M=4.

001). education. inspections of residual scatterplots and normal probability plots revealed no major violations of the assumptions of normality. Two cases were deleted. R square of this model has been found to be R2=. results from those regressions will be interpreted with caution and receive less emphasis than the results for the general factor SBD.5 as suggested by Allison (1999).0 and no explanation for this could be found. 2006).001). innovativeness. After running analyses with and without those cases. The first hierarchical regression analysis conducted tested the hypothesis that SBD approaches positively influence the amount of positive emotions reported by employees (Table 3).16. results for regression analyses that included the three SBD subfactors pointed out to a possible violation of the multicollinearity assumption. In general.10. Five other cases by far exceeded the critical mahalanobis distance value of 31. 2005).001). Finally. organizational tenure. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Outliers were checked for by inspecting the residual scatterplots. Cohen.4. Cohen. and organization (β=. because their standardized residual values fell outside the range from 3. This result delivered supporting evidence for hypothesis 1.41.19. when applying a VIF threshold of 2. and the values of the computed mahalanobis distance. & Aiken. linearity. Therefore. p < . J. Results 27 and Tolerance values justified the decision to treat them simultaneously in one regression analysis. VIF values fell under the critical value of 10 and Tolerance exceeded the critical threshold of . Thus.0 to -3. West. SBD had a highly significant influence on the experience of positive emotions over and above the effects of the control variables gender. it was decided to delete them because of their apparent negative influence on the mean values and therewith the regression results. However. p<. less tolerant theorists argued that VIF values that are considerably lower than 10 might pose problems to the multicollinearity assumption (P. and OCB .26 (df=11. the casewise diagnostics table. offering a highly significant R square change in comparison to the model only including the controls (ΔR2= . which hints at no major problems with multicollinearity (Pallant. p<. homoscedasticity and independence of residuals.

22.00 c Job tenure 0.11 0.51*** β b 3.09 -0.4.03 0.14 0.19 0.01 -0.00 -0.001 Exchanging the total SBD score with its three subfactors (see Table 4) showed that the strongest influence on positive emotions was exerted by the factor identification and development (β=.19 .27 . Beta = standardized regression coefficient a b c 0=male.17 0.07 0. p<.05 0.02 SE 0.08 Vocational School Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 SBD total R 2 2 ∆R F ∆F Note.01).01 0.16*** 68. in years *p < .11* 0.08).13 0.08 b SE 0.16 1.03 0. N= 359. SE = standard error.06 0.00 0.05).07 Education 0.04 0.02 0. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).03 -0. p<. and OCB .04 0.01. Results 28 Table 3 Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting Positive Emotions From SBD Model 1 Variable (Constant) Gender a Model 2 β b 3.00 0.00 0.01 -0.01 0. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.07 0.06 0.04 0.16 0. b = unstandardized regression coefficients. The individual influence of the factor strengths use was not significant (β=.41*** . innovativeness.03 0.05. followed by the factor appreciation (β=.96 0.08 0.34 11. 1=female.14 0.06 0.09 0. **p < . ***p < .06 -0.03 0.16.05 0.

in years *p < . Results 29 Table 4 Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting Positive Emotions From the Three Factors of SBD Model 1 Variable (Constant) Gender a Model 2 β b 3. and OCB . proved to be a significant predictor of innovativeness (R2= .09 0.03 0. p < .02 -0.35 8. p< .001).04 0. incorporating SBD.67*** β b 3.01 -0. This could mainly be explained by significant individual influences of gender.05). SBD appreciation SBD use R 2 2 ∆R F ∆F Note.03 -0.4.08 0.19 .07 0.11* 0.04 0.02 0. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.96 0. which included control variables only.00 0.19 0.08 Vocational School Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 SBD ide. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).16* 0.06 0. The first model.12 0. and Consultancy 2 (β=.11. p< . **p < .12 0.00 -0. SE = standard error.00 c Job tenure 0. indicating that female employees were less innovative than their male colleagues (β=-.12.04 0. 1=female. p < . ***p < .09 -0. offered a significant enhancement in predictive power compared to the first model and explained 18% of the variance in innovativeness (R2= . b = unstandardized regression coefficients.17 0. Beta = standardized regression coefficient a b c 0=male.06 0.03 0. N= 359.18. p < .02 SE 0. showing that new employees tended to be more creative than the more senior ones.04 0.16.06 0.001 Table 5 presents the results of the regression analysis conducted to test hypotheses 2a.08 b SE 0.15 0.01. & dev.05 0. The second model.61*** 22.00 0.04 0.06 0.09 0.05.12.05).08 . innovativeness.22** 0.12 0.001).01 0.14 0. which assumed an effect of SBD on innovativeness mediated by positive emotions.04 0.07 0.05 0.05).16 1.01 0. 2b and 4a.07 Education 0.16 0.05 .06 -0.00 0. job tenure (β=-.

42 0.09 0.07 -0.17 -0.08 SE 0. SBD itself had a beta-value of β= . from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).31 0.02 0.09 0.09 0.12* -0.05 level. N= 359.001).12 0.19 0.35 .16* 0. p =.51 -0.60 .04 0.4.01 0.16** 0. Results revealed high significance of this mediating relationship (Z=6.06 0.01 0.14** -0.10 -0. Results 30 Table 5 Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting Innovativeness From SBD and Positive Emotions Model 1 Variable (Constant) Gender a b Model 2 β b 2. SE = standard error. Beta = standardized regression coefficient a b c 0=male.19 0. Sobel.17 0. p < .04 0.09 0.10 0.25 0. which rendered the third model capable of explaining 35% of the variance in innovativeness (R2= .25 0.16 0.17. **p < .11 -0.53*** 32. 1986.01 0.76*** 9.03 0.04 0.14 0.24 -0. and OCB .12 Vocational School Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 Hospital SBD total Positive emotions R 2 2 ∆R F ∆F Note.04 -0.04 0.001).09 0.12* 0.84 -0.11) that was significant on the p < .17 20.29. which was significant on the p < .05 0.46*** . showed an influence on innovativeness (β= .08 -0. mediated effect from SBD to innovativeness via positive emotions a Sobel test was run (Baron & Kenny.001).06).001 Influences of gender and Consultancy 2 remained significant as in the previous model.00 0. In order to test the possibility of an indirect.19 0.00 0. p < .11* -0.01.05 0. 1982).00 0.18*** Model 3 SE 0.18 .20 -0.70 -0.07 0.38 0. p < .10* -0. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.53*** 88.06 0. With a beta value of β= .46.20 0. innovativeness.001) when positive emotions were included in the regression equation.08 0.30 0.46 (p < .11 .09.05. 1=female. The amount of variance explained rose again (∆R2 = .09 0.08 5.09 0.11* 0.29*** β b 0.001 level.16 0. in years *p < .24 SE 0.07 -0. which hinted at mediation.73*** Β b 3.10 0. the organization Vocational School. ***p < .08 0.10* 0. positive emotions absorbed the significant influence of SBD (β= .07 0.08 0.10 Education Job tenure c -0.22 0. b = unstandardized regression coefficients.35. and another control variable.15 0.01 0.21*** 0.06 -0.

05 0.08 0.04 0.10 -0.11 -0.46*** . from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).10 0.09 0.26 0.43 0.12 Vocational School Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 Hospital SBD identification & development SBD appreciation SBD use Positive emotions R 2 2 ∆R F ∆F Note.14 0.08 0.11* 0.01 0. full mediation via positive affect could be assumed.06 0.19 0.38 0.02 SE 0.07 -0.00 0. those results fully supported hypotheses 2a and 2b: positive emotions strongly influenced innovativeness and mediated the relationship between SBD and innovativeness.05).07 0.05 -0. and OCB .07 -0.14 -0.09 0.09 0.00 0.11 -0.14*** 88.19 .06 -0.06 0.10 Education Job tenure -0.02.22 0.05. Contribution to the prediction of innovativeness was mainly delivered by the subfactor identification and development (β= .04 0. p = .09 5.07 0.001 How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.01. innovativeness.31 0.19 -0.08 c SE 0.09 0.16** 0.11* -0.01 0.26 -0.04 0.12* -0. **p < .77*** Model 3 SE 0.05 0.06 0. b = unstandardized regression coefficients. The two other subfactors SBD appreciation and SBD use did not show a significant individual influence on innovativeness (β= .05 0.11* -0. p = . Table 6 Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting Innovativeness From the Three Subfactors of SBD and Positive Emotions Model 1 Variable (Constant) Gender a b Model 2 β b 2.17 0. Results 31 In summary. β= -.80*** 7.00 0.14 0. in years *p < .71). SE = standard error. Splitting up SBD in its three subfactors revealed similar results (see Table 6).30 0.02 Β b 0.01 0. since the direct effect from SBD to innovativeness disappeared after adding positive emotions to the model. Beta = standardized regression coefficient a b c 0=male. N= 359.00 0.15 0.07 0. ***p < .76 -0.20 -0.17 17.51 -0.04 0.19 0.60 .08 -0.97*** 11.16** -0.10 0.08.91 -0.16* 0.01 0. Hypothesis 4a was rejected.10 0.12* 0. 1=female. Consequently.21*** 0.10* 0.06 -0.19 0.4.16 0.14.08 -0.25 0.00 0.16 0.06 0.09 0.36 .05 0.09 0.11 . p < .20.05 0.20 0.12 0.20* 0.05 0.24*** Β b 3.

06 0.07 .04 0. p < . In the following.06 0.07 0. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).13 -0.21*** Β b 2.16 0. Results 32 Parallel to the previous regression analysis.12 0.04 -0.08 0.00 0.00 0.06 0. which then was extended by the total factor SBD in the second and positive emotions in the third model (Table 7).09 0. b = unstandardized regression coefficients. 1=female.05 -0.001) to the equation.08 0.02.16 0.02 0.24 0. in years *p < .14 0.25*** . **p < .11 0.13 0.11 0.19) when adding positive emotions (β= .19 0. and OCB .12 0.15 0.06 0.13 SE 0.53** 5.06 0.14 0.24 .12 0.25 0. Mediation via positive affect for the relationship between SBD identification & development and innovativeness was again tested with the Sobel test.001 How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. ***p < .05 7.96*** Β b 3.11 .27*** 20.08 0. As with innovativeness.04 3.14*** Model 3 SE 0. 3b and 4b are presented that assumed an effect from SBD to OCB. the significant influence of SBD identification and development disappeared (β= .00 0.16 0.06 0.11 0.08 0.12 0. again mediated by positive emotions.16* -0.11 0.16 0.02 0.07 0.05 0.03 0. Table 7 Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting OCB From SBD and Positive Emotions Model 1 Variable (Constant) Gender a b Model 2 β b 3.37 0.4.12 0. the hierarchical regression analysis included all control variables in the first model.03 0.13* -0.00 -0.02 0.05.03 0.16 0.16 -0.13 0.04 0.06 c SE 0. N= 359.01.00 -0. p<.14 0.00 -0.00 0.25*** 16.20 -0. innovativeness. Results indicated significance of the indirect effect (Z=6.00 0. results for organizational citizenship behavior and the hypotheses 3a.81 0.05 0. Beta = standardized regression coefficient a b c 0=male.001).06 0.16 -0.06 0.62 0. SE = standard error.03 -0.10. p = .46.18 0.04 0.07 0.08 Education Job tenure 0.16 .14 Vocational School Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 CSP SBD total Positive emotions R 2 2 ∆R F ∆F Note.

11). identification & development. The variable positive emotions thereby appeared to be a significant individual predictor of prosocial behavior (β= .05). With an R2= . Sobel test results indicated that the mediating effect of positive emotions for the relationship between SBD identification & development and OCB was statistically highly significant (Z=3. After adding positive emotions in a third step. p < . p < . and OCB .001). which nonetheless approaches significance (p = .001). inclusion of the affect variable led to a considerable decline in the beta value of SBD (β= . Once more.21.05. Inclusion of positive emotions made this significant influence disappear (β= . Results 33 Model 1 with only control variables accounted for 7% of the variance in the dependent variable OCB (R2= . How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. p<.06). innovativeness. Those results yielded full support for hypothesis 3a.13). No supporting evidence could be found for hypothesis 4b.001). hypothesis 3b concerning mediation by emotions was supported as well.25. resulting in a model that explained 16% of the variance in OCB. p < . Inspecting influences of the three separate SBD factors showed results that mirrored the outcomes from the hierarchical regression of the SBD factors on innovativeness (Table 8).01).07.13. When adding SBD as an independent variable within the second model.04.98. p < .4. p<. indicated statistical significance of the indirect relationship from SBD to OCB via positive emotions (Z=4. The Sobel test.13. stating that experience of positive emotions facilitates citizenship behaviors.11 (p < . displayed a significant beta value (β= . p =.001). another significant change in R square occurred (∆R2 = . p < . saying that there is a direct effect from SBD to OCB.001). Again.001). p < .001) this model explained significantly more variance than the first model (∆R2 = . which was conducted to test for mediation afterwards. a significant individual influence from SBD to OCB could be detected (β= . only the first subfactor of SBD. Similarly.18.

14 Vocational School Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 CSP SBD identification & development SBD appreciation SBD use Positive emotions R 2 2 0.05 6.4.00 0.74*** 21.11 0. 1=female. SE = standard error.15 0.08 0.20 0.11 0.23 -0.11 0.31*** Note.11 .02 0.00 -0.05 -0.34*** ∆R F ∆F 3.04 Β 0.00 0.16 -0.04 0.05 0.46 0.18** -0.24 0. in years *p < .07 0. Results 34 Table 8 Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting OCB From the Three Factors of SBD and Positive Emotions Model 1 Variable (Constant) Gender a b Model 2 β b 3.00 -0.12 0.01 0.04 -0.06 0.05 0.06 0.06 0.03 0. ***p < .03 0. and OCB .17 . innovativeness.06 0.10 0.13 0.04 0.12 0.14 0.13 Education Job tenure 0.07 b 3.02 0.40** 4. Beta = standardized regression coefficient a b c 0=male.05.03 -0.09 0.04 SE 0.12 0.04 0.06 .08 0.19 -0.07 -0. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).05 0.81 0.04 0.13 0.09 0.04 0.09 Model 3 Β b 2.13 -0.16 0.14 0.09 0.16 0.18* 0.09 -0.08 0.001 How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.83*** 7.12 0.17 0.05 -0.16 0.16* -0.05 0.04 0.01 0.06 .11 0.06 0.07 0.00 -0.71 0. N= 359. b = unstandardized regression coefficients.01.06 0. **p < .06 0.05 0.07 0.00 0.13 -0.25 0.06 c SE 0.16 0.24 0.25*** .08 SE 0.12 0.08 0.

a multilevel analysis has been conducted.00 0. ICC values between 0. **p < .08 0.01 0.06*** SE 0.23 0.62 0. and Positive Emotions Variable Innovativeness OCB Positive emotions SBD Note.19 B 3. Results 35 4. Table 10 Multilevel Regression Analysis Predicting Positive Emotions From SBD Model 1 Variable Constant Individual level Gender a b Model 2 SE 0.02*** 81.63 (3) d 0. N= 359.4. OCB.63* 8.45 0.02 0.61 The results for the multilevel regression predicting positive emotions from SBD can be seen in Table 10.02 and 0.01 0.06 0.01 0. SE = standard error a b c 0=male. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).07 ICC(2) 1 0.00 0.4 Multilevel Analysis In order to account for the differences in the data on the departmental level. according to Bliese (2000). 37 departments.03 Job tenure Education SBD total c Group level Department Model fit -2log likelihood Deviance change (df) 443. with department as only predictor.05.06 0. Table 9 Intraclass Correlations on the Departmental Level for Innovativeness.01 362.01. innovativeness. in years. 1 ICC(1)1 0. comparison to an empty model. *p < .60 (1) d Note.08 indicated that the departmental level explained sufficient amounts of individual-level variance to justify the use of a multilevel procedure (Table 9). ***p < .00 0.04 0.01 0.26*** 0.17 B 3.04 0.93*** 0.01 0.00 0. 1=female.03 0.11* 0. and OCB .001 in How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.13* 0. B = Estimate.

00 0. in years.07 0. The model offered a significant better prediction of the dependent variable than the empty model. df = 1. the model provided a statistically significant better fit to the data than the first model (∆χ2 = 46.00* 0. Table 11 Multilevel Regression Analysis Predicting Innovativeness From SBD and Positive Emotions Model 1 Variable Constant Individual level Gender a b Model 2 SE 0.07 0. Adding SBD total as another independent variable significantly enhanced the predictive power of Model 2 in comparison to Model 1 (∆χ2 = 81. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).25 B Model 3 SE 0.61 (1) 460.26 (3) d 553. p < .03 0.05 -0. p < . job tenure (β = .26. p < .03 0.06 0.05).05). p < . p < . which uses the group level variable as only predictor (∆χ2 = 8.02** 18.001 level.01. Results 36 Within Model 1. SBD showed an individual influence that was significant on the p < .28*** 0.06 0.001).00 0.15. innovativeness was significantly affected by the control variables gender (β = -. In the first model. SBD which was entered in the second model showed a significant effect on innovativeness over and above the controls (β = .05).00 0.06 0. with department as only predictor.37*** 93. p < . comparison to an empty model. innovativeness.05).63.04 -0. and education (β = .01 0.04 0.10* 0.08 0.04 0.06 Job tenure Education SBD total c Positive emotions Group level Department Model fit -2log likelihood Deviance change (∆χ (df)) 2 0.91** -0. p <. p <.23.63*** 0.13.01 0. Table 11 provides the results for the multiple regression analysis which examined the influences of SBD and positive emotions on innovativeness.29 B 3. 37 departments. 1=female.15* 0. SE = standard error a b c 0=male.79*** SE 0.05).60. B = Estimate.001 in How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.23*** 0.01 0.00 0. a significant influence from gender on positive emotions could be detected (β = . and OCB .61.04 0. df = 1.001).00* 0. With this.04 (1) d Note. df = 3.001). With a beta-value of β = .22 B 2. *p < . **p < .44*** 0.4. N= 359. which only included control variables.01 600.05.10.00.42*** 46.18* 0. Again a hierarchical approach with three subsequent models was used. ***p < .

this hinted at full mediation of the SBD – innovativeness link through positive emotions.00 0.63) had a considerable effect on innovativeness that was significant at the p < . p < . In the second model.49*** SE 0.05 Job tenure Education SBD total c Positive emotions Group level Department Model fit -2log likelihood Deviance change (df) 414. in years.07. they repeatedly displayed a highly significant effect on OCB (β = . 37 departments. df = 1. and OCB .13.00 0.00 0.01 0. the significant influence of SBD disappeared (β = . p = .03 0.25 B 3.08 0.19 B Model 3 SE 0. Results 37 In the final model.15). Just like in the former hierarchical regression analysis (compare Table 5).89*** 31.01 0.01 0.02 0. with department as only predictor. SE = standard error a b c 0=male. p < . df = 1.79 4.03 0. When entering positive emotions in the third model. p < .001).05.001).00 0. a significant influence of SBD on OCB could be found (β = .03 0.01.07* 0. whilst the significant effect of SBD decreased (β = . the fit of Model 3 turned out to be significantly better than the fit of Model 2 (∆χ2 = 93.001). Table 12 Multilevel Regression Analysis Predicting OCB from SBD and positive emotions Model 1 Variable Constant Individual level Gender a b Model 2 SE 0.03 0. Group-level influences failed once again to reach statistical significance.85 (1) d Note. None of the control variables showed a significant influence on OCB in Model 1.84*** 2.01 0.001 in How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. comparison to an empty model. p < . ***p < .01 382.001).05 0. the group-level variable displayed a significant influence on innovativeness.00 0.04*** 29.001 level.80*** 0. p < .04. Model fit was found to be best for Model 3 (∆χ2 = 29. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education). innovativeness.16 B 3.85. N= 359.03 0.05 0.00 0. Again. Hence.03 0.24.06 0.06 0.00 0. **p < . the contribution of the second model to the explanation of variance in OCB was found to be significantly better than the one of Model 1 (∆χ2 = 31.89 (3) d 0. *p < . df = 1.89 (1) 353. p < . In none of the three models. Instead.04 0.89.10 0.05). positive emotions (β = . 1=female. however.06.4.001). Results for OCB are similar to the results for innovativeness as can be seen in Table 12. B = Estimate.13*** 0.24*** 0.

since correlations amongst those three factors were high. innovativeness. Consequently. Positive emotions. Conclusion and Discussion 38 5. Gecas. the strong influence of SBD on positive emotions might be explained by the high amount of favorable social interactions inherent to this personnel development approach. Furthermore. Talent identification. In general. then. but not for strengths use. 2003). 1982) and as self-esteem promotes positive mood states (Leary. Clifton & Harter. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Results for OCB. In case of innovativeness full mediation could be detected. which reflected the assumptions made by the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. These findings underlined the value and the usefulness of the strengths-based approach to personnel development. on employee innovativeness and OCB were assessed. results needed to be interpreted with caution and did not allow drawing valid conclusions about the influences of separate subfactors. results indicated individual influences for the factors identification & development and appreciation. Moreover. Nonetheless. evidence for a direct link was only obtained for the SBD-OCB. but not for the SBD-innovativeness relationship. for example. Terdal. influences from both. were suggestive of partial mediation. strengths-based approaches and positive emotions. It became apparent that SBD significantly enhanced the amount of positive emotions reported.5. Tambor. which was in accordance with the reviewed theoretical work where the strengths approach received highest praises from advocates of positive psychology (e.g. Within the regression analysis containing the three different SBD subfactors. 1979. Conclusion and Discussion This research concerned the question whether the strengths-based approach to personnel development in organizations increases the amount of positive emotions experienced by the workforce. & Downs. and OCB . it appears that SBD includes getting a lot of laud and compliments from others. as reflected appraisals have been indicated as an important source of self-esteem (Rosenberg. The favorable influence of those flattering interactions on mood cannot be astonishing. When taking a closer look at the items with which the construct is measured. proved to advance employee innovativeness and organizational citizenship behavior. employee mood states were notably elated by SBD in this sample. First of all. comprises talking to others about possible strengths and appreciation by definition implies being judged by another person in a positive manner. 400 employees from seven different organizations filled in the questionnaire that was used to answer the research question. Evidence of the mediating role of positive emotions in the SBD – innovativeness and SBD – OCB relationships could be found. in contrast.

This study. In the recent study.has negative consequences for children as well as for adults. furthermore. especially if it is evaluative in nature (Faber & Mazlish. get into a state of flow and therefore report more positive emotions than workers who are not able to utilize their strengths. The evidence for a connection between SBD and positive emotions is also explainable against the background of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory (1990). no hints for a negative relationship between praise and employee feelings or employee extra-role performance have been found. An important point to bear in mind talking about lauding of employees is the possibility that praising – under certain conditions . it has been found that praise can negatively affect employee performance (Baumeister. however. 1996). namely that positive emotions facilitate innovativeness and OCB. are motivated to do so. That is. innovativeness. 2006b). Cairns. Csikszentmihalyi’s expression “optimal experience” bears resemblance to the term “optimal functioning” (Linley & Harrington. it can be argued that workers. who are able to do what they do best. Due to the already discussed multicollinearity issues. Similarly.5. 1963) and can give rise to feelings of uncomfortableness. It means that workers. found supportive evidence for the assumptions made on the basis of the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. cognitive efficiency. feel fulfilled by their tasks. and motivation in a state of flow (Moneta & Csikszentmihalyi. In addition. the individual influence of strengths use is likely to be underestimated. was neither experienced as threatening nor as uncomfortable in this sample. workers also experience feelings of happiness. In this regard it should nonetheless be mentioned that neither organization participating in this research had implemented a clear-cut strengths-based approach. Although no individual link between the factor strengths use and positive emotions could be found in this study. Hutton. Thus. 1990). 2006b) which is a state that should be reached in the strengths use phase. although evaluative. These findings were obtained by both the general hierarchical regression analysis and the multilevel analysis and showed that the broaden-and-build theory is not only applicable to personal but also to working life. Theorists argue that praise can be experienced as threatening (Farson. Conclusion and Discussion 39 1995). and operate as effective and efficient as they can be (Linley & Harrington. and OCB . strengths use might still be the most important factor in enhancing flow experiences. 1995). Positive affect accounted for significant variance proportions in innovativeness and OCB over and above the effect of SBD. Employees who experience higher amounts of positive emotions How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. that feedback inherent to SBD. who do what they do best. For that reason it remains arguable whether negative effects of laud would arise in organizations with an exclusive focus on talents and strengths. a mediating effect via self-esteem for the obtained SBD – positive affect relationship might be possible.

By reason of that. Hierarchical regression. Reasoning with Organ (1990) and his social exchange theory.5. Results. this study revealed significant indirect effects from SBD to the two outcome variables innovativeness and OCB. which then leads to an increase in innovativeness. “interested” and “proud”) in a first step. Nonetheless. in turn. full mediation has been detected. Since they are responsible for their work outcomes and are not restricted by another person’s rules. 2000). those employees should feel strong and active while working and proud after achieving good results. innovativeness. Theoretical assumptions about the direct SBD-innovativeness link mainly relayed upon the strengths use phase. Strengths-based approaches led to positive mood states and those mood states thereupon caused innovativeness and OCB. 2001). if employees that are working on their own authority feel more positive about their work than employees that are not in charge of their actions. and OCB . Next to tangible resources like money and time for talent identification procedures. however. “active”. that SBD guarantees for a certain degree of worker autonomy only and that this degree of autonomy is not sufficient to stimulate innovative behavior. In case of innovativeness. is supposed to contribute to the building of intellectual resources by learning processes and social resources by processes of networking and fostering relations. But as the direct effect from SBD to OCB controlled for positive emotions approached significance. Conclusion and Discussion 40 engage in more innovative and creative behaviors and act more prosocial at the workplace. It is also highly likely. they showed a broadened arrow of activities and behaviors. This phase postulates a certain degree of worker autonomy so that he or she can decide how to best accomplish his or her tasks and this same task autonomy was believed to be one of the most important predictors of innovativeness (Mumford. It would not be surprising. which militated against the hypothesis of a direct effect from SBD to innovativeness. however. hinted strictly speaking at full mediation. it seems highly likely that employees in strengths-oriented organizations get the feeling of receiving a lot from the organizational site and therefore tend to reciprocate with OCB. It could be argued. which were mediated by positive emotions. 1998. Fredrickson. Moreover. for diverse training activities and for the restructuring of activities stand intangible resources like the general effort an organization makes to ameliorate the employees’ How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. it is possible that task autonomy produces positive emotions (like “strong”. which. challenged this believe. it can be assumed that this link indeed exists. that they therefore develop an increased interest in and enthusiasm for their subject. Results of the multilevel regression analysis revealed that the second indirect connection from SBD to OCB was only partially mediated by positive emotions. As predicted by theory. they then might engage in more creative and innovative behaviors at the workplace (cf. just as in case of innovativeness.

1997). Conclusion and Discussion 41 situation and the therewith expressed appreciation. implies that SBD would function as one of several investments a supervisor makes in the employees he has built rapport with (cf. their colleagues. Although supervisors certainly play an important role in implementing the strengths-approach. supervisors. Shore. Thus. & Liden. and OCB . Thereupon. but as an encompassing approach depending on employees. it designedly differed from the abundant range of research with a deficiency background. Within theoretical work on job crafting it has been stated that employees make physical and social modifications to the task boundaries of their work (Wrzesniewski & Dutton. Wayne. SBD seems to be an organizational instrument that supports employees in this natural process and that can maximize the positive outcomes for both employees and employers. a link between levels of SBD applied to an employee and LMX almost suggests itself. This. Otherwise the present study would How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. 2009). Nevertheless. Nahrgang. SBD should not be seen as a reward which is only given to parts of the workforce. employees show a stronger tendency to dedicate some of their own resources to the organization which keeps the give-and-take equation in balance. has been found to be consistently positively related to leadermember exchange (LMX) (Ilies. competences and preferences of the position holder (Leana. and the organization in general. Firstly. A second one is the notion that the employee itself is of greater importance to the strengths-approach than one might suggest at the first glance. & Shevchuk. 2001). 2007). When finally looking at the overall SBD picture which presents itself as highly beneficial. Appelbaum. such as performance appraisals.5. As a consequence of this magnitude they receive. & Morgeson. Since OCB.1 Limitations and Future Research This study has been subject to several limitations. it was the declared aim of this study to explore the benefits of the strengths-approach. Against this background. it also depends on colleague behavior and on official organizational structures and processes. These modifications are aimed at creating jobs that better fit the needs. for example. one important aspect in disfavor of SBD as a preferential supervisor treatment can be seen in the conceptualization of SBD in this study. in turn. critics might mention that it only assigns an underpart to the handling of weaknesses and to the value of the commonly applied deficiency approach to personnel development. 5. innovativeness. However. one might question whether SBD is an equally applied principle or a preferential treatment given to specific employees only. employees display extra-role behavior In order to reciprocate the efforts made by their supervisor. For this reason.

one should bear in mind that theorists justified the use of a mood questionnaire to assess emotional states. with the two separate dimensions identification and development clustering together as one factor.5. interesting results might emanate from future studies that examine SBD and its counterpart alongside and make comparisons of both concepts. the supposed object-freeness was countered by changing the introductory sentence of the PANAS and thereby relating it to the working context. innovativeness. Secondly. This questionnaire measures context-free emotions (Van Katwyk. this result is not surprising if one considers that both are subsequent phases in the strengths building process and are therefore closely linked. Conclusion and Discussion 42 not have been capable of exploring the new research field of SBD and demonstrating its valuable consequences. Fourthly. & Kelloway. Beyond. the use of the PANAS to assess the amount of experienced emotions might be criticized. but that they also have a more euphemistic view of their work performance including innovativeness and OCB. if those emotions are conceptualized as subjective feelings. According to Frijda (1986) and his theoretical differentiation between both concepts. results might be explainable by specific answer patterns of individual respondents. Thus. it took respondents nearly 25 minutes to answer the 143 questions. which means that the emotions measured are not related to one specific object. The explored factor structure did not fully match the theoretically assumed dimensions. Nonetheless. Results would then mainly be attributable to positivity as a personality trait. Fox. the PANAS therefore seems to be a mere mood questionnaire. Spector. This impaired data quality particularly for variables standing at the end of the questionnaire and should be avoided in future research. It is possible. 2000). because no suggestion how to deal with this matter has been made so far. Inspecting the content of the items that represent the different factors in the final factor solution suggested an adequate representation of the underlying factors by the maintained items. and OCB . In addition. Nevertheless. answer all questions in a specific. As a single questionnaire was set up for several research projects measuring different variables. positively forged pattern. it would be beneficial to examine the handling of dysfunctional deficiencies within the strengths-approach. Still. that people. That means that they not only report higher amounts of positive feelings. it must be considered that this study exclusively relied on self-report data. who generally see life in a more positive way. the quality of the newly developed questionnaire that was used to assess SBD could be seen as a restricting issue. Thirdly. A more severe limitation regarding the questionnaire was its general lengths. another possibility How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Next to controlling for this.

Both can be considerably enhanced by SBD and his favorable effect on mood states. SBD should not be considered a one-time intervention but an all-time philosophy incorporated in the organizational culture. is necessary to benefit from the strength approach in an optimal way. Conclusion and Discussion 43 for future research would be to expand the assessment of innovativeness and OCB by either objective measures (e.5. HR managers should be aware of the positive potential that lies within the strengths approach. Thus. Two additional research suggestions arose. Future researchers that want to extend the range of the study beyond the broaden-and-build theory could therefore be advised to include this relation into their conceptual models. The same also applies to organizations that attach importance to mutual support amongst employees and to behavior that goes beyond official task descriptions. For organizations that mainly rely upon innovations as a success factor. Since SBD directly or indirectly influences OCB and innovativeness.g. that continuous feedback and the ongoing possibility to work on ones strengths. a reverse effect from OCB to positive emotions would be likely because helping might trigger emotions such as pride and accomplishment (Miles et al. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. This means that organizations should be aware of the fact that SBD is not only a process an employee once has to undergo in order to find specific tasks he or she is good at doing. and OCB .3 Practical Implications The results obtained make a good case for strengths-based personnel development in praxis. Mood states have been found to be effectively enhanced by the strengths identification and development phase as well as by the appreciation aspect. As a final point. The second would be an investigation of SBD as a team-level approach: As the present study focused on the individual level only. as applied at a team-level. it would be interesting to see how SBD. 2002). innovativeness. Utilizing strengths alone is not sufficient to keep employee spirits high. would affect team behavior and performance. This would be necessary to gain explicit knowledge about the cause and effect relationships between SBD and the dependent variables. But at least in case of OCB. It shows. number of patents in case of innovativeness) or by supervisor ratings. it could be seen as a means to boost performance. 5.. the causal model that has been tested assumed a unidirectional influence between the variables only as this has been assumed on the basis of the broaden-and-build theory. SBD might be a solution to enhance employee creativity through elating emotions. The first is the claim for a longitudinal study with repeated investigations before and after the implementation of SBD in a specific organization.

Still.4 Concluding Remarks This study was aimed at (a) investigating the benefits of the strengths approach and (b) making a contribution to the mainly neglected research field of positive emotions. Conclusion and Discussion 44 5. 8). innovativeness. Both aims could be reached. I want to bring forward a plea for this fascinating field of research: “We can choose to create a scientific monument—a science that takes as its primary task the understanding of what makes life worth living” (p. the study demonstrated the favorable effects of SBD. To conclude with the founding father of positive psychology. With linking emotions to the working context. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. this work revealed another piece of the proverbial iceberg (Fredrickson. Martin Seligman (2002). much work has to be done to uncover all the potential benefits of SBD and/or positive emotions and many open research questions have to be answered. Firstly. Secondly.5. it provided additional evidence for the power of positive emotions. and OCB . 2001) that has been hidden under the surface up to now.

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10. 12. krijg ik de ruimte om mijn werk uit te voeren op de manier die het beste bij mij past. 21. Is men geïnteresseerd in wat mij drijft in mijn werk. 20. 5.Appendix A 53 Appendix A Table A1 Questionnaire Strengths-Based Development Item Nr. wordt het opgemerkt als ik een succes in mijn werk behaal wordt gefocust op mijn zwakke kanten als leerpunten voor de toekomst. 3. 7. besteed ik de meeste tijd aan dingen waar ik goed in ben. 24. wordt de nadruk gelegd op het verbeteren van de dingen waar ik minder goed in ben. 4. 22. praat ik met mijn leidinggevende over het verder uitbouwen van mijn sterke kanten. worden de taken zodanig verdeeld dat ieder doet waar hij of zij goed in is. krijg ik complimenten als ik een goede prestatie heb geleverd. 25. 9. word ik gestimuleerd om mijn kwaliteiten verder te ontwikkelen. worden mijn zwakke kanten gecompenseerd door mijn collega’s. 17. worden mijn sterke kanten gewaardeerd word ik geholpen om mijn sterke kanten te ontdekken. word ik bij het behalen van een succes gestimuleerd om hier op verder te bouwen. 14. 1. wordt gekeken hoe mijn takenpakket optimaal aan kan sluiten bij mijn kwaliteiten. krijg ik de kans om te leren wat mijn talenten zijn. 23. wordt van mij verwacht dat ik mijn zwakke punten verder ontwikkel. 19. 2. 15. 16. krijg ik de kans om te doen waar ik goed in ben. heeft men oog voor mijn sterke kanten. wordt gezocht naar oplossingen voor de onderdelen van mijn werk die niet mijn sterke kant zijn. krijg ik erkenning voor werk dat ik goed doe. 6. 11. is mijn ontwikkelplan gericht op het uitbouwen van mijn sterke kanten. word ik bewust gemaakt van mijn kwaliteiten. krijg ik positieve feedback identification use appreciation use development development identification development appreciation identification appreciation development use use use development appreciation identification development appreciation appreciation use development identification use In deze organisatie… dimension Note. 8. Answers on a 5-point scale from one (totally disagree) to five (totally agree) How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. 13. 18. innovativeness. dan op wat ik niet kan. and OCB . is men meer gericht op wat ik kan.

58 0.13 -0.87 0. wordt het opgemerkt als ik een succes in mijn werk behaal.12 0.13 0.04 -0. Factor I 0.14 0.91 1. word ik bewust gemaakt van mijn kwaliteiten.91 1. krijg ik de ruimte om mijn werk uit te voeren op de manier die het beste bij mij past.49 -0.76 -0. krijg ik positieve feedback krijg ik erkenning voor werk dat ik goed doe.23 0. praat ik met mijn leidinggevende over het verder uitbouwen van mijn sterke kanten.92 -0.15 0. krijg ik de kans om te doen waar ik goed in ben.80 0.33 . word ik geholpen om mijn sterke kanten te ontdekken.64 -0.01 0.14 -0.06 .16 0.03 -0.03 0.82 0.42 c Eigenvalue Cronbach’s Alpha 9. Factor strengths appreciation. N=391 a b c Factor talent identification & development.05 -0.74 Note. krijg ik complimenten als ik een goede prestatie heb geleverd.57 0. Factor strengths use How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. worden mijn sterke kanten gewaardeerd.12 -0.63 0.01 -0.20 . worden mijn zwakke kanten gecompenseerd door mijn collega’s.09 0.75 0.62 0.03 -0. krijg ik de kans om te leren wat mijn talenten zijn.12 -0.01 0.44 -0.04 -0.04 -0.22 0. Is men geïnteresseerd in wat mij drijft in mijn werk.20 -0.18 -0.78 -0.04 -0.01 b Factor III 0.47 -0. heeft men oog voor mijn sterke kanten.03 0.14 -0.08 0. word ik gestimuleerd om mijn kwaliteiten verder te ontwikkelen.03 0.54 Table A2 Factor Loadings for Exploratory Factor Analysis With Oblimin Rotation of the Total SBD Scale NR 3 5 15 4 21 13 7 17 8 25 6 14 18 11 10 1 12 24 Item Is mijn ontwikkelplan gericht op het uitbouwen van mijn sterke kanten.91 -0.23 -0. worden de taken zodanig verdeeld dat ieder doet waar hij of zij goed in is.02 -0.87 0.74 0. innovativeness. besteed ik de meeste tijd aan dingen waar ik goed in ben.29 -0.16 0.00 a Factor II 0. and OCB .

55 Table A3 The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) Hieronder ziet u een aantal woorden die verschillende gevoelens en emoties beschrijven. Items of the Positive Affect Scale in italic How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Geef aan in welke mate onderstaande emoties op u van toepassing zijn tijdens uw werk. Aandachtig Vijandig Geïnteresseerd Prikkelbaar Alert Schuldig Uitgelaten Beschaamd Enthousiast Nerveus Geïnspireerd Rusteloos Trots Overstuur Vastberaden Van streek Sterk Bang Actief Angstig Note. Answers on a 5-point scale from one (very slightly or not at all) to five (extremely). and OCB . innovativeness.

14 Note. innovativeness.44 .80 . N= 369 How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.92 6 362 368 .21 1. 4.62 126. 8. 2. N= 365 Table B2 One-Way ANOVA for Innovativeness by Organization Sum of Squares Between Groups Within Groups Total df Mean Square F Sig.61 .00 Note.38 69. and OCB . N= 366 Table B3 One-Way ANOVA for OCB by Organization Sum of Squares Between Groups Within Groups Total df Mean Square F Sig.54 73.42 135.09 6 358 364 .04 6 359 365 1.33 .35 4.19 3.73 .00 74.08 .Appendix B 56 Appendix B Table B1 One-Way ANOVA for Positive Emotions by Organization Sum of Squares Between Groups Within Groups Total df Mean Square F Sig.09 76.00 Note.

93 178.37 6 373 379 1.48 3.65 . and OCB . N= 380 How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.44 188.57 Table B4 One-Way ANOVA for SBD by Organization Sum of Squares Between Groups Within Groups Total df Mean Square F Sig. innovativeness. 9.46 .00 Note.