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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
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.
How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions, innovativeness, and OCB
Table of Contents
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
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
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
there is still much research to be done in the field of positive emotions and their valuable consequences. Consequently. 1998). 1998). exploring. 1991). and OCB . As the positive psychology movement inspires additional research on positive emotions. continued action. 2002). 2003b). the bulk of emotion research up to date has focused on negative mood states only (Fredrickson. 2002). savoring. the evolving action tendencies linked to positive emotional states seem to be rather vague and unspecific (Fredrickson. The person’s momentary thought-action repertoire gets narrowed by calling in mind an urge to act in a particular way. (p. She stated that negative emotions trigger people to focus their energy on the execution of one specific action. and integration of different perspectives as typical actions for individuals in a positive mood state (Fredrickson. For this reason. positive emotions are said to be evolutionary adaptive although they do not contribute to lifesaving as obviously as negative ones (Fredrickson. Despite the supposed beneficial effects of positive feelings. like fleeing in case of danger.224) An important yet scarcely investigated setting in the emotion research is the organizational context. Fredrickson (2001) herself made the following statement in this regard: Yet.1. Consequently. As an example of this the negative emotion fear can be mentioned which initiates an individual to take flight (Fredrickson. innovativeness. This link suggests itself. an individual can build enduring personal resources in intellectual. leads to aimless activation. expansiveness and outgoingness (Lazarus. While partaking in one of those activities. In order to make Frederickson’s theory verifiable in an organizational context. playing. Fredrickson (2003a) explained this difference in the elicited action tendencies within the context of her broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. 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. for example. 2003a). In contrast. One can observe approach behavior. Joy. physical and social terms (Fredrickson. even more reasons to cultivate positive emotions may be discovered. because it can help individuals escape from mortal danger (Fredrickson. 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. Experts agree that this promotion of fast responses possesses an evolutionary adaptive quality. the benefits of positive emotions identified thus far are likely just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Introduction 6 unambiguous. that is the building of How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. the positive effects of emotions. 1998). this study made a first attempt to combine emotion and organization and linked emotion theory to the previously presented strengths approach.
then. Secondly. 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. This led to the following research question: Does an organizational strengths-based development approach. the focus was put on intellectual and social resources only. in turn. 2005). and OCB . which was transferred to innovativeness in the organizational setting. contribute to greater experience of positive emotions and do these positive emotions. innovativeness. On the intellectual side. Therefore. To sum up. this research project strived for two important goals: Firstly. had to be transferred to the working environment. as perceived by the employees. positive emotions are said to facilitate generativity and behavioral flexibility (Fredrickson & Losada. because they are of particular importance for employee performance. it was aimed at testing the broadenand-build theory of positive emotions in an organizational context. On the social side.1. 1998) which should parallel organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) at the workplace. positive feelings are seen as a favorable precondition of helping behavior (Fredrickson. it had the objective to examine the beneficial effects of strengths-based development. Introduction 7 personal resources.
organizations can make use of instruments like the Clifton Strengthfinder (Lopez. 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. p. a visualization of the model clarifies the supposed relationship between all variables and a synthesis is given.1 Strengths-Based Development (SBD) Employees’ perception of the organizational approach to strengths-based development is the variable of central importance in this study.88). At the end. and linked to the other variables under examination. we feel good about ourselves. and give them a sense of authenticity (Govindji & Linley. 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. Clifton & Harter. 2. explained. In order to better understand this expression. 2003). For a professional assessment of dominant talents. Hodges. 2006a.41).2. Linley and Harrington (2006a) defined strength as “a natural capacity for behaving. we are better able to achieve things. Both questionnaires have been explicitly developed for the purpose of revealing individual talents. an organization must support its employees in going through a process with several stages (cf. 2007). Furthermore. they energize individuals. 2005) and the Values in Action (VIA) classification of strengths (Peterson & Seligman. “When we use our strengths. Once strengths are built. and OCB . thinking. Theoretical Framework In the following paragraphs every variable of the conceptual model that has been tested in this study is presented. or feeling in a particular way that allows optimal functioning and performance in the pursuit of valued outcomes” (p. innovativeness. motivate them. 2006b). & Harter. The first stage is the identification of individual talents. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. 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. In order to fully use this potential. 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. and we are working toward fulfilling our potential” (Linley & Harrington. Theoretical Framework 8 2. 2004). 2006b. a process which can be promoted by line managers as well as by colleagues.
organizations support their employees to adapt their behaviour and to utilize their strengths in an optimal way: optimization is procured by focusing on strengths. which is only possible by combining them with compatible knowledge and skills (Buckingham & Clifton. innovativeness. It cannot be integrated into the chronology of the three formerly mentioned phases. or strengths-based team-working” (Linley & Harrington. an organization can facilitate this process by the distribution of tasks. talents should be developed into strengths. organizational approach which targets the achievement of exceptional individual and organizational outcomes by a process of identifying and valuing employee talents. however. and the given tasks are limited. but builds an element which spans the whole SBD process. This study. 2007). an additional fourth component was added to this sequence. 2006a. p. rather than neglecting weaknesses. Team-level approaches to SBD have the advantage that the number of people. dynamic. and by the creation of leeway. This stage. mentoring and various training activities that explicitly build upon the previously identified talents. tries to manage them in an efficient way by means of “job allocation. since it was aimed at revealing general effects of SBD in organizations.89). SBD is an approach that can be applied at the individual as well as at the team-level (Linley & Page. For this purpose. and to become all that they can be” (p. this does not mean that weaknesses are completely ignored (Linley & Page. has focused on the individual level.40). Theoretical Framework 9 After the identification phase. Despite the strong focus on strengths. within the context of this research project. supports human beings in their “natural tendency to want to develop their capacities. the strengths possessed by them. and OCB . 2004). In a last stage. 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. developing them into applicable strengths and putting these strengths into practice. a strengths-based organization. Still. complementary partnering. according to Linley and Harrington (2006b).2. the organization provides means like coaching. Making use of strengths should come naturally to people (Linley & Harrington. 2007). to exploit their natural potential. 2006a). After consultation with experts. so that an employee can decide himself how to accomplish his tasks in the most efficient and effective way. To summarize. since everybody possesses a strong intrinsic motivation to do what he or she is doing best (Peterson & Seligman. strengths-based development has been defined as a positive. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. composition of teams. 2001). which makes the reallocation of tasks according to strengths-profiles less complex and easier to accomplish.
pride. love. disappointment. Fox. fear.2. 2008).55).1. 2009. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. less intense) and do not refer to one specific object. By subjective manifestations the authors referred to pleasant or unpleasant feelings that are elicited by a specific object. If an event is perceived as motive-congruent. Variables such as joy. innovativeness. Fox. subjective and objective manifestations” (Reisenzein & Weber. Moods. there is no generally accepted definition of the term emotions (Reisenzein & Weber. if it’s harmful.2. In general. p. about a negative one. because they are considered to be “manifestations of the same sort” (Frijda. those emotions are experienced if a motive has been frustrated or if the person-environment relationship is harmful. emotions are considered to be temporary states of individuals that “occur as reactions to the perception or imagination of objects” (Reisenzein & Weber. an individual will experience hedonically positive emotions. p. intense) and linked to a specific eliciting object or event (Frijda. A third agreed upon characteristic of emotions is the generation of specific action tendencies (cf. expressive reactions. Another way to discern positive from negative emotions was presented by Reisenzein und Weber (2009). and physiological changes. hedonically negative emotions will be deployed by events which are perceived as motive-incongruent. we’re talking about a positive emotion.55). there is consensus about the fact “that they have both. shame. p. variables such as anger. First.59). 1986.1 Positive Emotions Classifying an emotion as either positive or negative can be done by appraising the person-environment relationship (Lazarus. 2009). that is. 1991). 2009. however. Emotions are phasic (brief in duration. 2008). 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. 1986. as representing an actual or potential fulfillment or frustration of a motive” (Reisenzein & Weber. If this relationship is beneficial. and OCB .2 Emotions Up to date. The term emotion is often interchangeably used with the term mood. Theoretical Framework 10 2. hostility. The broaden-and-built theory of positive emotions). however. they can fleet from one to another (Frijda. 2009. whereas objective manifestations comprise particular actions. but many researchers agree upon different characteristics of them. 2. embarrassment. 1986. are tonic (longer in duration. p.56). distinguish one from another according to two characteristics. disgust. Experts. chapter 1. and grief are understood as negative emotions. guilt. Second.
in two recent studies. happiness). & Linley. Belschak and Den Hartog (2009) found confirming evidence for Lazarus’ (1991) assumption that positive feedback. innovativeness. changes to a more praising one (Linley & Page. for example. hope. Although this linkage has hardly been tested empirically so far. 2003a).120). guilt). and OCB . which can be distinguished from hope as a personality trait (trait hope). theoretical work points out to a positive connection between both variables. Finally. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. 2007). gratitude. Furthermore. 2. amusement. amongst others positive emotions. Those experiences and feelings. 2010) and strength knowledge (Govindji & Linley. secure that employees can derive positive meaning from their work (Fredrickson. That means.2. will generally lead to the experience of positive emotions (pride. Maltby. in turn. Hodges (2002) found that talent identification and development of strengths in a student sample led to significant increases in state hope. 2001). which forms a part of SBD. Hypothesis 1: Strengths-based development approaches in organizations will lead to greater experience of positive emotions on the part of the employees. Theoretical Framework 11 contentment. interest. 2007. it was expected that higher ratings of SBD would produce higher amounts of positive emotions reported by employees.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. strengths and no longer weaknesses of employees attract most of the attention (Buckingham & Clifton. only a few empirical studies so far delivered evidence which points to the theoretically assumed direction. strengths-use (Govindji & Linley. as it was common for deficit approaches to HRD. Accordingly. while negative feedback will result in negative ones (disappointment. 2007) were found to be positively linked to subjective well-being. Proctor. They appear when a motive has been fulfilled or when the person-environment relationship is favorable. and enthusiasm are considered to be positive ones. Within a strengths-based development approach. As mentioned above. 2003) and gives them a feeling of competence and achievement. that the reprehensive tone in appraisal interviews. In summary. it is assumed that an SBD approach conveys employees with positive subjective experiences (Clifton & Harter.
In contrast to negative emotions that narrow the range of thoughts.368). investigated the relationship between positive affect and creativity with qualitative and quantitative research and could demonstrate a positive. 2001. 1987. innovativeness. 1986. 2007). 2005). Some supporting evidence could be derived from studies which were primarily centered on creativity and not explicitly on innovation (Amabile et al. Daubman.4 Innovativeness Huhtala and Parcefall (2007) based their definition of employee innovativeness on previous work (Kanter. Barsade. useful ideas or problem solutions” (Amabile. 1994). 2005. & Nowicki. Carnevale & Isen. which in turn has a favorable influence on inventiveness. 2005. p. which encompasses the sponsoring and implementation of the developed ideas alongside (Scott & Bruce.with its exclusive focus on the development of new ideas . How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. 1986) which stimulates creative behavior. idea promotion and idea realization with the aim of meeting organizational goals in novel ways” (p. suggests a positive link between positive emotions and the constructs creativity and innovative behavior (Fredrickson. positive emotions are said to facilitate broad-minded thinking. Mertz.5 Relationship between Positive Emotions and Innovativeness The broaden-and-build theory. which was specified “as the production of novel. & Staw. & Robinson. Isen.creativity builds only one important component of the broader innovativeness concept. (2005).. Theoretical Framework 12 2. which formed the foundation of this study. Daubman. Similar results were achieved by Isen. Innovativeness is closely linked to creativity.300). Experts however agree that . Scott & Bruce. and OCB . 2003b). Mueller. another is the less intense emotion interest that motivates exploration and consideration of new information and experiences (Fredrickson. Despite those theoretical assumptions. Isen. Johnson. Amabile et al. 1988. and Nowicki (1987) who could demonstrate the facilitating effect of positive emotions on two tasks of creative problem-solving. Huhtala and Parzefall (2007) described it in an easier way: “Innovativeness requires creativity.2. 1985). researchers have mainly neglected the topic of positive emotions and well-being in their innovativeness studies up to now (Huhtala & Parzefall. but creativity does not always lead to an innovation” (p. 2. 1994) and described it as “complex behaviour consisting of idea generation.300). 1998. One example of this link is the specific emotions joy that leads to a state of free activation and playfulness (Frijda. for example. direct relationship between them. Fredrickson & Losada.
including altruism and consideration toward others. innovativeness.7 Relationship between Positive Emotions and OCB Over and above their effects on creativity. Podsakoff. This term refers to the willingness of individuals in a positive mood state to invest resources in activities (e. 2.2. 1988). altruistic behavior) that promise long-term rather than short-term benefits. perceptions of fairness (Messer & White. Possible factors associated with it are job satisfaction and leadership style (Smith. sportsmanship. Up to date. 1998). as positive emotions themselves were assumed to be engendered by SBD. courtesy and conscientiousness (Organ. and organizational stressors (Cohen. “Broadening in a social context. Organ. Hypothesis 2a: Greater experience of positive emotions will lead to greater employee innovativeness.41). but which is nonetheless of great organizational importance (George. civic virtue. 1983). How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. a mediating role of emotions in the SBD – innovativeness relationship was expected.g. 1980). and OCB . positive emotions can also be seen as potential facilitators of altruism and helping behavior (Isen. 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. & Near. does not need to build resources if it directly enhances survival for the recipient. 2006).3). p. It is an umbrella term that combines the dimensions altruism. Moreover. 2. and MacKenzie (2006) defined OCB as “individual behavior that is discretionary. not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system. 1999). 2006. many researchers in the field have focused their attention on investigating the antecedents of OCB. Thus.6 Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) is an expression which is used to describe prosocial behavior within the working context. In a recent paper on the broaden-andbuild theory by Cohn and Fredrickson (2006). the necessity to examine the relationship between positive emotions and helping was expressed and the term broadened investment was introduced. Hypothesis 2b: Positive emotions mediate the relationship between SBD and innovativeness. 1987. it is behavior which goes beyond the required behavior according to formal job descriptions (Williams & Shiaw. 1991). Fredrickson. and the recipient enhances the giver’s survival (either genetic or personal)” (Cohn and Fredrickson. and in the aggregate promotes the effective and efficient functioning of the organization” (p. Organ.
would be responsible for prosocial behavior and found supporting evidence. Podsakoff. Brown. George & Brief. First. 1997). Cialdini. 2002. the more likely he or she would engage in prosocial behavior. Krebs (1970). for example. Several studies delivered supporting evidence for the relationship between positive emotions and OCB (Dovidio. 1991). within the framework of the broaden-and-build theory. it was hypothesized that OCB would be enhanced by positive emotions. 2001). and MacKenzie (2006) stated their opinion in a simpler way: the better the mood of a person. Williams and Shiaw (1999). George. 1992. Hypothesis 3b: Positive emotions mediate the relationship between SBD and OCB. altruism and courtesy. 2006). Luce. 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. 1999). in contrast to positive trait affectivity. Williams & Shiaw. Rioux and Penner (2001) found mood to be significantly correlated with four out of five sub-dimensions of OCB (civic virtue. and OCB . Furthermore.g. Borman. 2001. A third explanation could be that positive moods lead people to perceive others and situations in a more positive way (George. sportsmanship. unrelated to conscientiousness). Lewis. innovativeness. 1999). Lee & Allen. & Fox. George (1991) tested the hypothesis that positive mood. positive emotions were again assumed to function as a mediator in the relationship between SBD and OCB. it was assumed that positive mood not only elicits approach behavior towards other persons in general (Fredrickson. which in turn enhances the chance of helping behavior (e. 1995. but that it also enlarges the perceived self-other-overlap (Waugh & Fredrickson. Organ. other theorists assumed a link between positive emotions and OCB as well. while reviewing relevant literature. Rioux & Penner. & Neuberg. conducted a study in Singapore and disclosed that mood influences employees’ intentions to display OCB. found that mood state was one of the most important preconditions of helping behavior. Finally. Experts on OCB offered several theoretical explanations for this assumed link between mood and extra-role behavior. This means that a person in a good temper is more likely to perceive similarities with other individuals. 2002. Spector. Isen.2. Gaertner. Second. Similarly. In line with those supporting research results. in a study on salespeople. Hypothesis 3a: Greater experience of positive emotions will lead to more employee OCB. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Theoretical Framework 14 Independent of the positive psychology movement. Miles. it was suspected that positive mood leads to an increased social awareness that then triggers OCB (Williams & Shiaw. & Lowrance. 1991. Furthermore.
Theoretical Framework 15 2. they should be free to manage their time and to structure their activities according to their own preferences. Oldham and Cummings (1996) explored the relationship between several job characteristics (autonomy. He could also find partial support for the hypothesis that positive. innovativeness. feedback and task significance in particular. 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. the following hypothesis was included in this research: How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.8 Direct Effect of SBD on Innovativeness and OCB Although not yet having been tested explicitly. task feedback. these research findings give an additional hint on their capability to boost innovativeness. the above mentioned theoretical assumptions and research findings suggested that there could be a direct link between SBD in an organization and employee innovativeness. employees should have the leeway to pursue emerging opportunities and to act in a way that suits them personally. Moreover. Starting with innovativeness. who examined the connection between innovativeness and task autonomy. literature points out to a possible direct effect from strengths-based development to innovativeness and OCB. As a consequence. As SBD approaches are supposed to lead to high degrees of autonomy. Parallel to this. contributed to higher employee creativity. He declared that employees should always be on an updated state of knowledge if they were supposed to act innovatively. Mumford (2000) brought forward strong theoretical arguments for enhancing creativity by conceding employee autonomy which is an important feature of SBD. accordingly. feedback style and feedback valence. 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.2. According to Mumford. informational feedback combined with substantial task autonomy is the most supportive precondition for employee creative behavior. SBD shows a strong emphasis on continuous training as well and should. Empirical evidence for a direct SBD – innovativeness link could be delivered by Zhou (1998). He found empirical support for the hypothesis that positive. Taken together. In addition. and OCB . Many characteristics of Mumford’s approach parallel the underlying ideas of SBD. task identity. contribute to employee innovativeness. which is an important feature of SBD. informational feedback. skill variety. task significance) and creativity. Mumford (2000) further accentuated the importance of training and ongoing professional development.
In order to enhance clarity of representation two separate models. Paine. 1990). One of the most important theoretical contributions to the OCB research in general was delivered by Organ (1990). were set up. one for innovativeness and one for OCB. NorrisWatts and Levy (2004) could detect a positive relationship for OCB and feedback environment (consisting of the seven aspects source credibility. In other words: an organization could profit from enhanced prosocial behaviors at work. and offered support.2. source availability. favorable and unfavorable feedback. Theoretical Framework 16 Hypothesis 4a: There is a direct.9 Synthesis: Conceptual Model Taken together. if it invested in employees. feedback quality. 2000) and found supporting empirical evidence (Farh. feedback delivery. It has been even more complicated to find studies hinting at a direct link between SBD and OCB. 2. dedicated resources to them. innovativeness. in line with the reasoning on 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. and to give them the opportunity to do what they like. MacKenzie. positive effect from SBD to innovativeness. Another linkage that parallels the considerations on innovativeness could be found for OCB and feedback. there are sufficient hints in the literature that suggest a direct link between SBD and OCB. researchers also suspected a relation between the beforehand mentioned five task variables and citizenship behaviors (Podsakoff. However. and promotes feedback seeking). should contribute to a positive perception of the organizational exchange relationship and therewith to a higher degree of OCB. to value individuals. & Bachrach. A strengths-based approach that is by definition meant to focus on the positive. He proposed that OCB is basically influenced by the social and economic exchange relationship an employee thinks to have with an organization. the above mentioned suggested linkages added up to the following conceptual model (see Figures 1 & 2). Similarly. and OCB . the following statement has been recorded as a final hypothesis: Hypothesis 4b: There is a positive direct effect from strengths-based development to OCB. Therefore. & Organ. an employee is more likely to perform OCB. Podsakoff. If this relationship is perceived to be fair. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Despite the absence of specific empirical evidence. to advance and support the workforce.
mediated by positive emotions 3b 1 + SBD Positive emotions 3a + OCB + 4b Figure 2. Chart of the relationship between SBD and innovativeness. and from positive emotions to innovativeness in a second step (Figure 2). and OCB . Similarly. 2b 1 + SBD Positive emotions 2a + Innovativeness + 4a Figure 1. mediated by positive emotions How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. 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. 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.2. Chart of the relationship between SBD and OCB. innovativeness.
3 82. In total. the questionnaire was available in a Dutch and an English version. Method 18 3. All were located either in the Netherlands or in Belgium. it contained scales for variables that were neither used nor mentioned in this specific study.6 76. and could either be filled in online or in a paper-pencil form. Self-report questionnaires were used to examine the variables of interest so that possible relations between them could be discovered. single measures were not independent of one another.2 Description of Respondents Respondents were recruited in seven organizations operating in four different sectors.17% could be achieved. Overall response rate 21. Data collection took place in 37 departments from seven different organizations at one point in time. Of these answers only 400 could be included in the data base due to delays in responses. The applied questionnaire was used for several research projects on SBD.17% How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.1 General Research Set-Up To answer the research question mentioned under paragraph one a quantitative survey research was designed and conducted.6 83. Furthermore. Therefore.3 Note. Method 3.4 25. with 412 valid answers. special attention needed to be given to the nested data structure (employees nested within departments. consequently. 3. within organizations). innovativeness. and OCB . An overview of the participating organizations is given in Table 1. 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 29.3. 1946 employees received a link to the online-questionnaire or a questionnaire in paper-pencil form. A response rate of 21.6 13. As organizational and departmental factors tend to influence employee ratings.
A minority (N=55. 91 employees (22.79 years. and appreciation by six items. Their age averaged 41. Method 19 196 male respondents (49%) and 204 female respondents (51%) filled in the questionnaire. have been newly developed. innovativeness.8%) had an international background and had to fill in the English version of the questionnaire. “I am stimulated to further develop my competences” (development). The questionnaire was designed to cover the four aspects of SBD.8%) completed vocational education and only the remaining six fell into the categories preschool education. More than half of the employees were highly educated. which were partly derived from the Strengths Knowledge Scale (Govindji & Linley. Example items were “I get the opportunity to learn what my talents are” (identification). 2007). they were retranslated into English by a third person and adapted if misfitting. 86.1 Strengths-Based Development Since no existing questionnaire covered all aspects of strengths-based development. 2002). however.3%) were Dutch native speakers.3. and from the Gallup Workplace Audit (Harter. Questionnaires that were available in Dutch only. development of talents and strengths use by seven items respectively. and OCB . The sample mainly comprised professional and clerical workers who did not perform managerial tasks. 2007). For an exact overview of the number of employees per organization see Table 1. The previously agreed upon definition of SBD served as guideline for the test construction.5%). Several existing questionnaires were searched for adequate items.3. The final version of the questionnaire comprised 25 items.8% (N=185) who completed higher academic education and an additional 28. 13. That means that after translating the scales into Dutch in the first instance. have been translated using the translation-back-translation method. If possible. Most of the respondents (N= 345.7 years. Questionnaires that were available in English only. which were slightly adapted if necessary. 3. “I get the opportunity to do what I am How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.3 Instruments Literature was searched for already existing questionnaires and scales measuring the variables of interest. were translated into English by a professional translation office.5% (N=114) who completed higher vocational education. the Strengths Use Scale (Govindji & Linley. a new questionnaire was developed by the research team. English and Dutch. Most of the items. 3. questionnaires that were available in both languages. were used. This procedure should guarantee the quality of the translation. with 46. Schmidt. like the scales of SBD and innovativeness. primary education or secondary education (1. The average tenure of employees was 12. & Hayes. Identification of talents was measured by five items.
3.74 respectively. there was sufficient justification to utilize the positive affect scale of the PANAS for the purpose of this study. Ponds and Vermeeren (1996). 3. “excited”) during work. An ideal factor structure could be obtained after deleting seven items. Frijda. theoretical work pointed out the differences between emotion and mood (cf.95 and a significant outcome of Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity. amongst which all negatively poled ones. Answers could be given on a five-point scale from one (very slightly or not at all) to five (extremely). α = .3. and with a forced structure of 3 factors. Answers could be given on a five-point Likert scale from one (totally disagree) to five (totally agree). and α = . Method 20 good at” (use). these theoretical distinctions can only rarely be found in empirical work. When estimating the reliability of the factors by calculating Cronbach’s Alpha. and “I receive compliments for performing well” (appreciation). innovativeness.2 Positive Emotions Positive emotions have been measured by using the positive affect scale of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS. 1986). 2005).g.43% of the variance. The PANAS has originally been developed as a mood questionnaire and.91. Thus. Next to the three subfactors.94) has been computed which comprised those 18 items that were included in the factor analysis. Plutchik and Kellerman (1989) further said that mood checklists are a reasonable choice to measure emotional states. In total these factors explained 64. since correlations between the factors were to be expected. The questionnaire including all items can be found in Appendix A. which has been translated into Dutch by Peeters. “interested”. if one concentrates on the subjective feelings of an individual only. Nonetheless. This scale asked respondents to indicate the extent to which they have undergone one of ten particular emotions (e. Table A1. 1988). 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).91. and OCB . Watson. it appeared that all factors obtained sufficient alpha values with α = . an overall factor SBD total (α = . In How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Oblimin rotation has been used. The second factor comprised six items measuring appreciation of talents and the third factor consisted of five items measuring strengths use. With a Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin value of . where the same techniques are used to induce positive moods and positive emotions (Fredrickson & Cohn. & Tellegen. 2008). For a complete overview of the factor structure see also Appendix A. the questionnaire was suitable for being subjected to an exploratory factor analysis (Pallant. Table A2. The whole questionnaire was checked for its factor structure using principal component analysis (PCA). let us recall. what we did within this research project. Clark.
84 obtained in previous studies (de Jong & den Hartog. since sportsmanship significantly correlates with altruism as well as courtesy (MacKenzie. 2001). and implementation. 3.94 then explained 49. Podsakoff and Fetter (1991). but was still more than sufficient. the assumed two factor structure could be supported: the ten items measuring negative emotions clustered as the first factor (eigenvalue: 5.3. Example items are “I willingly give of my time to help others” (altruism).88. “I keep up with developments in this company” (civic virtue). One example of the dimension idea generation is the item “I often hit upon ideas in my work”.126.96.36.199% of the variance.3 Innovativeness Innovativeness has been measured by an eight-item scale. It covers the innovativeness dimensions idea exploration. which is in line with the previously found value of α = .83 was achieved for this scale which comes close to the alpha value of α = . The scale covered the OCB dimensions altruism (3 items). When subjecting the whole PANAS to a factor analysis using oblimin rotation with the number of extracted factors set as two. 12.54. Podsakoff & Fetter. 1991) it was decided to omit it and keep the questionnaire as short as possible. promotion. Furthermore. and “I consider the How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. used and tested by de Jong and den Hartog (2005).4 OCB OCB has been measured with a ten-item scale based on the work of MacKenzie.79 (Peeters et al. In the present study a Cronbach’s Alpha of α =.71% of variance explained) and the ten items measuring positive emotions clustered as the second factor (eigenvalue: 2. 2005). 3. 27. civic virtue (4 items) and courtesy (3 items).46. 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. 1996). generation. the Kaiser criterion (eigenvalue > 1) and the scree test.80. suggested a one factor structure. 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. Method 21 this study the Cronbach’s Alpha for the scale has been found to be α = . innovativeness.28% of variance explained). This value differed slightly from the previously found α = .. Factor extraction according to both. Factor analysis supported the assumption that this scale was measuring one single innovativeness factor. The general innovativeness factor with an eigenvalue of 3. Scale analysis revealed a Cronbach’s Alpha value of α = . The remaining items could be answered on a 5-point Likert scale from one (totally disagree) to five (totally agree). and OCB .
2000). 36. innovativeness. 3. The categorical variable gender was included as a dummy variable and educational level as an ordinal variable. length of service (Janssen. Lee and Allen (2002) could not find significant influences of the control variables age. & Near. Wall. with factor one consisting of the four civic virtue items (eigenvalue: 3. has been found to be positively linked to supervisor. Clark and Tellegen (1988). Factor analysis supported this factor structure. although said to be important for prosocial behavior. within their research on OCB. Unsworth. and organizational level. Holman.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.4 Control Variables Common control variables in the innovativeness and OCB literature are age and gender of individuals. 15.67. Axtell. was not found to significantly influence OCB (Chiu & Tsai.56. it was controlled for gender since this is recommended by the mood researchers Watson. Filling in the questionnaire took approximately 25 minutes. Organizations had the possibility to choose which method was more convenient for their employees. 3. factor two consisting of the courtesy items (eigenvalue: 1. & Waterson. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Gender. organizational tenure. however. Organ. Differences on the departmental level were accounted for by applying a multilevel analysis. 2001). In the innovativeness research. 1983). and OCB .6% variance explained).58% of variance).26. Tenure was assessed in years and included as a continuous variable. 2000) and gender (Axtell et al. In addition. 2001. 2006). Educational level. educational level. and organizational factors.. according to the research results for OCB and innovativeness.3. 2006) and between OCB and educational level (Smith. lengths of service. Beyond. since the data that was used showed a nested structure (employees nested within seven organizations). Method 22 impact of my actions on others” (courtesy). Consequently. only the two variables lengths of service and educational level had to be included as control variables in the present study. and the third factor building up altruism (eigenvalue: 1. 12. no influence or only a minor influence was found for the background variables age.and self-rated innovative job performance (Janssen.71% of variance). Supplementary dummy variables were created for different organizations. Other studies however revealed a positive relationship between OCB and lengths of service (Chiu & Tsai.
0. Multiple hierarchical regressions can partly account for a nested structure by creating dummy variables for the different groups. in the second model the independent variables were added. this study dealt with individual data that was nested within two levels: the organizational and the departmental level. indicates significance of the indirect effect (Preacher & Hayes. and Fritz (2007). Mediation was tested following the rules from MacKinnon. innovativeness. OCB.3. Those dummies were then included as control variables in the following multiple hierarchical regression analyses. The first model comprised control variables only. and OCB . dummy variables have been created. if Z ≥ 1. Fairchild. Sobel-tests were used additionally. This How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. In the subsequent multiple regression analysis. 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.96. According to them. Those ANOVAs were aimed at revealing significant differences in the group mean values for SBD. This analysis comprised dependent. This test produces a Z-value that. 3. finally. 2004). and positive emotions.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. For organizations that turned out to differ significantly from the others in one of the variables. In a last step. Therefore several One-way Analyses of Variance (ANOVAs) with Bonferroni post-hoc tests were conducted before starting with the actual regression analyses. including the newly created organizational dummy variables. differences on the organizational level were considered. In order to assess significance levels of the mediating relationships. and. 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). a correlation analysis using the Pearson product-moment correlation was carried out. Variables were added to the regression equation following the enter method. it was decided to only account for the organizational level in this way. innovativeness. in the third model the mediating variable. For reasons of complexity. however. After the main variables had been tested for their factor structure and computed. As a reminder. Regression analyses comprised three blocks of variables (three models) each. independent and mediating variables and revealed basic relations between them.
the assumption of independent measures would be violated when applying a common multiple regression analysis. If ICCs are considerably high. 2000). In a situation where we only have to deal with the department level as a random component. and an individual error term. (c) groups or contexts are not treated as unrelated. The term mixed effects denotes that a regression model comprised fixed as well as random effects. intraclass correlations have been calculated in a first step (ICC1.3. 2000). the effect of receiving a treatment.174) In order to compare different multilevel models and test their significance.and between department-level (Raudenbush & Bryk. the departmental level could disturb the regression equation by systematically influencing the scores of individuals. Degrees of freedom were obtained by calculating the difference in the number of parameters per model (Bickel. In order to test the extent to which the departmental level influenced individual level scores. In this case. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Those differences are analogous to differences in R² and adjusted R² in a standard regression (Bickel. They indicate the proportion of the total amount of variance in the data between the departments. Method 24 was necessary. 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). (b) the nonindependence of observations within groups is accounted for. Comparison of deviance differences with a Chi-square distribution table delivered a measure of the model fit. In a common regression model. 1991). 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. 2002). but are seen as coming from a larger population of groups. (p. In our case. 2007) and were thus calculated for every model that added predicting variables to the regression equation. measures were likely to depend on one another which would hurt the assumption of independence of errors. 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. only fixed effects can be found. deviance differences (differences in the -2log likelihood) had to be calculated. 2007). Thus. Bliese. mixed effect models must be used to account for the nested data structure and to assure non-violation of this assumption (Garner & Raudenbush. and OCB . the score of an individual on the dependent variable always depends on the mean of the sample. innovativeness. Random effects are often possible disturbing factors that need to be controlled for. it was appropriate to use a hierarchical 2-level modelling approach that simultaneously models effects at the within.
24** . and dependent variables was analyzed using the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient.18** .01). Correlations.84 .74 4.07 .41. positive correlation with the assumed mediator positive emotions (r=.75.01). Standard Deviations.74) . in years.01 . innovativeness (r=.07 -. 1=female.91) .50 9.21** .91) Note.49** .01. p<.32.50 12.67 4.36** . p<.21** . Cronbachs’s Alpha can be found between brackets. p<. and OCB .94) .79) .82 .07 -.32** .21.07 -.47** . Results This paragraph presents the most important results.01).37** -.23 . p<.02 (.04 -.90** .37.41** .05 (.08 -. 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.07 . positive correlations with innovativeness (r=.25.70 . which were used to answer the hypotheses.23** .60 . p<.10 -. innovativeness.01.44 .44 4.40 3. mediating.38** .67 .63** . Table 2 Means.20** (.19** -. r=.4.49. p<.11** . p<.93** (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (.11* -. The dependent variables innovativeness and OCB showed a significant positive correlation as well (r=. Positive emotions correlated positively with both.83) .06 . 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=. 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 3.75** .21** -.11* .46 .09 (.01) and smaller.19 SD . p<.80) . As can be seen from Table 2.25** . and OCB (r=.01). 4.33 3.80** .01).32** .01) and OCB (r=.00 3. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education) * p<.01 (two-tailed) How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. the independent variable SBD total shows a medium.04 . r=.61.10* M 3.61** .11* -.1 Correlation Analysis The relationship between independent.63. Results 25 4.04 -.05 -.83 (1) (.05 ** p<.97 .20** .04 (. p<.
25. with a maximum number of 11 predictors. SD=0. For positive emotions.2 ANOVA In order to determine the impact of the seven organizations on SBD.08. 362) = 3. 380) = 3.01) (see AppendixB).45) and again Consultancy 2 (M=4.75.88. innovativeness.54). By contrast. and Consultancy 2 were included as dummy variables in every following hierarchical regression analysis. no statistical significant difference between the mean scores of the seven groups could be found (F(6. assumptions of multiple regression analysis were checked.40). As a consequence.75.46. Consultancy 1 (M=3. SD=0. SD=0.001 level for both innovativeness (F(6 . SD=0.3 Multiple Regression Analyses First. Results 26 4.67). an N of 50 + 8 x 11 = 138 should be obtained. Putting the three subfactors into one analysis did not violate the assumption of multicollinearity according to Pallant (2005). 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.001) and on the p < .65) and Consultancy 2 (M=3. inspection of the Variance Inflation Factor (VIF) How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.61 to r=. 358) = 1. Finally. differences between group means reached statistical significance on the p < . whereas the variable CSP was included in analyses where OCB was relevant. In this case. and OCB . SD=0. With a sample size varying between N = 365 and N=395.01 level for SBD (F(6. and Consultancy 2 (M=3. Although they showed moderately high correlations from r=. and OCB.81). four one-way between-group analyses of variance have been conducted. p=.17. the organizational determinants Vocational School.80. To avoid hurting the assumption of singularity. Inspecting the post-hoc Bonferroni comparisons. Furthermore.83. Hospital was included as a dummy variable in any analysis containing the variable innovativeness. SD=0. 4.50).41. for SBD.99. Consultancy 1. significant differences could be found for the organizations Vocational School (M=2. since SBD was included in any of them. innovativeness. SD=0. using the post-hoc Bonferroni procedure. positive emotions. 359) = 4. it could further be seen that the means for innovativeness differed significantly between the organization Hospital (M=3. p=. separate regression analyses were run for the total factor SBD on the one hand and its three subfactors on the other. p=.61). For OCB the same test indicated significant differences in the means of the organizations Communication Service Provider (M=3.001) and OCB (F(6. this criterion is fully met.4. with k as the number of independent variables.
homoscedasticity and independence of residuals. VIF values fell under the critical value of 10 and Tolerance exceeded the critical threshold of .19. This result delivered supporting evidence for hypothesis 1. West.001). SBD had a highly significant influence on the experience of positive emotions over and above the effects of the control variables gender. which hints at no major problems with multicollinearity (Pallant. Finally. results from those regressions will be interpreted with caution and receive less emphasis than the results for the general factor SBD. p<. it was decided to delete them because of their apparent negative influence on the mean values and therewith the regression results. R square of this model has been found to be R2=. organizational tenure.41. Two cases were deleted. Cohen.4. After running analyses with and without those cases. education. Thus. when applying a VIF threshold of 2. Therefore. In general. and OCB . and the values of the computed mahalanobis distance. the casewise diagnostics table. and organization (β=. Cohen. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. linearity.16.26 (df=11. p<. 2005). inspections of residual scatterplots and normal probability plots revealed no major violations of the assumptions of normality. & Aiken. The first hierarchical regression analysis conducted tested the hypothesis that SBD approaches positively influence the amount of positive emotions reported by employees (Table 3). Results 27 and Tolerance values justified the decision to treat them simultaneously in one regression analysis. innovativeness. 2006). However.0 to -3. offering a highly significant R square change in comparison to the model only including the controls (ΔR2= .5 as suggested by Allison (1999).0 and no explanation for this could be found. because their standardized residual values fell outside the range from 3. less tolerant theorists argued that VIF values that are considerably lower than 10 might pose problems to the multicollinearity assumption (P.001). J.10.001). Five other cases by far exceeded the critical mahalanobis distance value of 31. results for regression analyses that included the three SBD subfactors pointed out to a possible violation of the multicollinearity assumption. Outliers were checked for by inspecting the residual scatterplots. p < .
from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).00 c Job tenure 0. and OCB . in years *p < .07 Education 0. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.11* 0. ***p < . N= 359.08 0.14 0.04 0. 1=female. The individual influence of the factor strengths use was not significant (β=.01 -0.09 0. innovativeness.03 0.04 0.02 0.51*** β b 3.01.05 0.06 0.05 0. p<.02 SE 0.19 . **p < . followed by the factor appreciation (β=.01 -0.27 .04 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=.14 0.07 0.17 0.41*** .08).09 -0. Beta = standardized regression coefficient a b c 0=male.00 0. Results 28 Table 3 Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting Positive Emotions From SBD Model 1 Variable (Constant) Gender a Model 2 β b 3.19 0. p<.01 0.34 11.13 0.16 0. b = unstandardized regression coefficients.07 0.00 -0.06 -0.03 0.16.22. SE = standard error.05.06 0.05).08 b SE 0.06 0.00 0.01).16 1.96 0.4.00 0.08 Vocational School Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 SBD total R 2 2 ∆R F ∆F Note.03 0.03 0.16*** 68.03 -0.11 0.01 0.
1=female. proved to be a significant predictor of innovativeness (R2= .09 0. 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. showing that new employees tended to be more creative than the more senior ones.05).02 0.08 b SE 0.05).06 0.08 0. The second model.19 0. indicating that female employees were less innovative than their male colleagues (β=-.09 0.04 0.07 0.06 0. Beta = standardized regression coefficient a b c 0=male.05 . SE = standard error.16 1.00 0.4.01.00 0.04 0. This could mainly be explained by significant individual influences of gender.15 0.11. SBD appreciation SBD use R 2 2 ∆R F ∆F Note.03 0.12.00 -0. p < . which included control variables only.12 0.05). job tenure (β=-.08 Vocational School Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 SBD ide.03 -0.02 SE 0.00 0.001). innovativeness. and OCB .04 0.14 0. in years *p < . **p < .01 0.07 Education 0.96 0. p < .16* 0.01 -0. p< . from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).19 . p< .12 0.04 0.16.22** 0.05 0.02 -0. b = unstandardized regression coefficients.001).03 0.35 8.05 0. p < .06 0.61*** 22.16 0.08 .04 0. 2b and 4a.11* 0.12. and Consultancy 2 (β=.12 0. N= 359. offered a significant enhancement in predictive power compared to the first model and explained 18% of the variance in innovativeness (R2= . The first model.04 0.17 0. & dev.18. ***p < .67*** β b 3.09 -0.05.06 -0.00 c Job tenure 0.07 0. which assumed an effect of SBD on innovativeness mediated by positive emotions.01 0. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.001 Table 5 presents the results of the regression analysis conducted to test hypotheses 2a. incorporating SBD.06 0.
53*** 88. p < .06 -0.20 0.05 level.19 0.18*** Model 3 SE 0.46 (p < .11 .01 0.70 -0. which hinted at mediation. and OCB . and another control variable.17 0.01 0. which was significant on the p < .09.09 0.10* -0.16* 0.10 Education Job tenure c -0.06).73*** Β b 3.001 level. 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 2.05 0. 1=female.09 0. innovativeness.12 Vocational School Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 Hospital SBD total Positive emotions R 2 2 ∆R F ∆F Note.00 0.07 -0.08 0.06 0.15 0.04 0.08 0.10 -0.16 0.00 0. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.11* -0. which rendered the third model capable of explaining 35% of the variance in innovativeness (R2= .01 0.21*** 0. p < .14** -0.08 -0.42 0.17.19 0. Beta = standardized regression coefficient a b c 0=male. 1986. **p < .24 -0. SBD itself had a beta-value of β= . mediated effect from SBD to innovativeness via positive emotions a Sobel test was run (Baron & Kenny.04 0.29.09 0. positive emotions absorbed the significant influence of SBD (β= .14 0. N= 359. p < .05. Results revealed high significance of this mediating relationship (Z=6.53*** 32.51 -0.25 0.11* 0. b = unstandardized regression coefficients.001) when positive emotions were included in the regression equation.17 20.12* 0. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education). ***p < .001).10 0.24 SE 0.001 Influences of gender and Consultancy 2 remained significant as in the previous model.07 -0.16 0.07 0.11) that was significant on the p < .35 .001).01.09 0.11 -0.10* 0.38 0.60 . the organization Vocational School.29*** β b 0.09 0.25 0. In order to test the possibility of an indirect.10 0. Sobel.07 0.84 -0.00 0.04 -0.06 0.30 0. SE = standard error.08 5. in years *p < .12* -0.4.01 0.31 0.04 0.03 0.08 SE 0. With a beta value of β= .17 -0.02 0.05 0.08 0.20 -0.09 0. showed an influence on innovativeness (β= . The amount of variance explained rose again (∆R2 = .35.19 0.18 . 1982).04 0.09 0. p =.46*** .22 0.76*** 9.46.12 0.001).16** 0.
01. Contribution to the prediction of innovativeness was mainly delivered by the subfactor identification and development (β= .11* -0.05).43 0.10 0. full mediation via positive affect could be assumed. and OCB . β= -.10* 0.04 0.05 0.26 0.15 0.01 0. SE = standard error.07 0.14 0.10 -0. p < .25 0.20* 0. **p < . innovativeness.14*** 88.16 0.11 -0.26 -0.07 0. Results 31 In summary.80*** 7.17 17.04 0.10 0.24*** Β b 3.08 c SE 0.05 0.08 -0.10 0. ***p < .07 0. p = .07 -0.01 0.06 -0.05.09 0.14.19 0. Beta = standardized regression coefficient a b c 0=male.20 0.4.06 0.05 0.71).09 0.02 Β b 0.30 0.01 0.51 -0.12* -0.09 0.07 -0.06 0.001 How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.97*** 11.08.11* 0. Splitting up SBD in its three subfactors revealed similar results (see Table 6).12 Vocational School Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 Hospital SBD identification & development SBD appreciation SBD use Positive emotions R 2 2 ∆R F ∆F Note.11 -0.46*** . those results fully supported hypotheses 2a and 2b: positive emotions strongly influenced innovativeness and mediated the relationship between SBD and innovativeness.19 -0.10 Education Job tenure -0.09 0.31 0.05 0. b = unstandardized regression coefficients. N= 359.01 0.36 .05 0. in years *p < . Hypothesis 4a was rejected.16** 0.06 0.09 0.60 .00 0.08 0. 1=female.06 0.12 0.04 0. Consequently.02. 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. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).09 5.21*** 0.16 0.16** -0.11* -0.00 0.22 0.05 -0.91 -0.14 -0.14 0.19 0.77*** Model 3 SE 0. since the direct effect from SBD to innovativeness disappeared after adding positive emotions to the model.38 0.17 0.02 SE 0.00 0.06 -0.00 0.00 0.76 -0.12* 0.04 0.20.19 0.20 -0.08 0.19 . p = .08 -0.09 0. The two other subfactors SBD appreciation and SBD use did not show a significant individual influence on innovativeness (β= .05 0.16* 0.11 .
00 0.02 0.16 0.11 0. in years *p < .24 .04 0.08 0.14 0. p<.02 0.13 0.16 0.07 .10.05.04 0.18 0. results for organizational citizenship behavior and the hypotheses 3a.09 0.13* -0.16 -0.03 0. b = unstandardized regression coefficients.13 -0. 3b and 4b are presented that assumed an effect from SBD to OCB.06 0. Results 32 Parallel to the previous regression analysis.13 SE 0.05 0.08 0. Mediation via positive affect for the relationship between SBD identification & development and innovativeness was again tested with the Sobel test. the hierarchical regression analysis included all control variables in the first model.20 -0.04 3.05 0. Results indicated significance of the indirect effect (Z=6.12 0.03 0.00 -0.11 0.12 0.16 -0.14*** Model 3 SE 0.06 0.00 -0.14 0.001).12 0. which then was extended by the total factor SBD in the second and positive emotions in the third model (Table 7). ***p < .16 0.001 How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.14 0.37 0.03 0.14 Vocational School Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 CSP SBD total Positive emotions R 2 2 ∆R F ∆F Note.08 Education Job tenure 0.05 -0.001) to the equation.02 0.25*** .08 0.16 .00 0.00 -0.06 0.11 .04 0. Beta = standardized regression coefficient a b c 0=male. the significant influence of SBD identification and development disappeared (β= .00 0.08 0. In the following.96*** Β b 3.01.19) when adding positive emotions (β= .07 0.11 0.19 0. As with innovativeness.21*** Β b 2.06 0.25*** 16. and OCB . 1=female.02. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).00 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 3.62 0.07 0. p = .05 7.81 0.11 0.24 0.25 0. innovativeness. SE = standard error.16* -0. **p < .15 0. N= 359. p < .13 0.04 -0.27*** 20.06 0.16 0.53** 5.12 0.06 0.06 0.4.03 -0.06 0.12 0.16 0. again mediated by positive emotions.06 c SE 0.07 0.46.00 0.
p < . No supporting evidence could be found for hypothesis 4b.11 (p < . only the first subfactor of SBD. p<. which nonetheless approaches significance (p = . indicated statistical significance of the indirect relationship from SBD to OCB via positive emotions (Z=4. and OCB . Those results yielded full support for hypothesis 3a.001).001). hypothesis 3b concerning mediation by emotions was supported as well.001). How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.13.4. p =. p < . displayed a significant beta value (β= .18. Similarly. stating that experience of positive emotions facilitates citizenship behaviors.001). another significant change in R square occurred (∆R2 = . innovativeness.07. With an R2= .001) this model explained significantly more variance than the first model (∆R2 = . resulting in a model that explained 16% of the variance in OCB. After adding positive emotions in a third step. The variable positive emotions thereby appeared to be a significant individual predictor of prosocial behavior (β= . p < . Results 33 Model 1 with only control variables accounted for 7% of the variance in the dependent variable OCB (R2= . identification & development.13.001). Again. 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=3.001). inclusion of the affect variable led to a considerable decline in the beta value of SBD (β= . 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).25.06). When adding SBD as an independent variable within the second model.98. p < . Inclusion of positive emotions made this significant influence disappear (β= .11).05. The Sobel test.21.04. saying that there is a direct effect from SBD to OCB. Once more. p < . a significant individual influence from SBD to OCB could be detected (β= . which was conducted to test for mediation afterwards.13).05). p < . p<.
06 0.24 0.17 .01 0.12 0.08 0.13 Education Job tenure 0.04 0.74*** 21.05.00 0.04 Β 0.09 Model 3 Β b 2.09 0.05 0.11 0.00 -0.12 0.09 0.06 0.13 -0.00 -0. ***p < .09 0.19 -0.05 0.01.10 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 3.12 0.05 -0.11 .08 0.02 0. b = unstandardized regression coefficients. 1=female.40** 4.81 0.34*** ∆R F ∆F 3.06 0.13 0.15 0.16* -0.08 0.00 -0.07 -0.07 b 3.16 0.03 0.06 0. and OCB .24 0.14 0.16 -0.04 0.01 0.16 0.06 c SE 0.08 SE 0.05 6.07 0.13 -0.04 0.71 0.13 0.03 -0.03 0.04 -0.06 0.06 .07 0. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).04 0.12 0.18** -0.17 0. innovativeness.11 0.05 0.05 0.12 0. N= 359.14 Vocational School Consultancy 1 Consultancy 2 CSP SBD identification & development SBD appreciation SBD use Positive emotions R 2 2 0.14 0.83*** 7.00 0.23 -0.06 0.04 SE 0.46 0.04 0.07 0.05 -0.25*** .4.20 0.06 .11 0.05 0.11 0.31*** Note. Beta = standardized regression coefficient a b c 0=male.25 0. in years *p < .18* 0.16 0.04 0. **p < .001 How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. SE = standard error.16 0.08 0.00 0.02 0.06 0.09 -0.
37 departments. Table 10 Multilevel Regression Analysis Predicting Positive Emotions From SBD Model 1 Variable Constant Individual level Gender a b Model 2 SE 0.08 indicated that the departmental level explained sufficient amounts of individual-level variance to justify the use of a multilevel procedure (Table 9).63 (3) d 0. Results 35 4. ***p < .01 0.62 0.06 0.08 0.4.00 0.06 0. **p < . with department as only predictor. comparison to an empty model.11* 0.23 0.01 362.01.01 0. N= 359.03 0.61 The results for the multilevel regression predicting positive emotions from SBD can be seen in Table 10. OCB. according to Bliese (2000). *p < .02 0.45 0.07 ICC(2) 1 0.00 0.01 0. a multilevel analysis has been conducted. ICC values between 0.60 (1) d Note.01 0.05.4 Multilevel Analysis In order to account for the differences in the data on the departmental level.06*** SE 0.001 in How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.03 Job tenure Education SBD total c Group level Department Model fit -2log likelihood Deviance change (df) 443.26*** 0. and Positive Emotions Variable Innovativeness OCB Positive emotions SBD Note. 1=female.04 0.00 0. in years.01 0. innovativeness.02 and 0. Table 9 Intraclass Correlations on the Departmental Level for Innovativeness.04 0.02*** 81. from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education). and OCB . B = Estimate. SE = standard error a b c 0=male.63* 8.17 B 3.00 0.93*** 0.19 B 3.13* 0. 1 ICC(1)1 0.
79*** SE 0.06 0. comparison to an empty model.23*** 0.00 0.01 600. Results 36 Within Model 1. p <. df = 3.001 level. N= 359.05).06 0.01 0.02** 18.001). SBD which was entered in the second model showed a significant effect on innovativeness over and above the controls (β = .03 0. job tenure (β = .00* 0.01 0.15* 0. p < . with department as only predictor. innovativeness.4.05. which only included control variables.44*** 0.61 (1) 460.63.22 B 2. With this.42*** 46. Again a hierarchical approach with three subsequent models was used.91** -0.07 0.37*** 93. **p < . Adding SBD total as another independent variable significantly enhanced the predictive power of Model 2 in comparison to Model 1 (∆χ2 = 81. 37 departments. in years.61.001).001).60.01 0.28*** 0. df = 1. SBD showed an individual influence that was significant on the p < .26 (3) d 553.25 B Model 3 SE 0. p < . df = 1.06 0.00.10* 0.01.18* 0. p < . from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education). which uses the group level variable as only predictor (∆χ2 = 8.04 0.07 0.04 0.05).00 0.00 0. the model provided a statistically significant better fit to the data than the first model (∆χ2 = 46.26.001 in How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.23. SE = standard error a b c 0=male.10. 1=female. B = Estimate. p <. With a beta-value of β = .05). *p < .05). innovativeness was significantly affected by the control variables gender (β = -.15. p < .03 0.00* 0.04 (1) d Note. p < .13. In the first model. The model offered a significant better prediction of the dependent variable than the empty model.00 0.05 -0. p < . Table 11 Multilevel Regression Analysis Predicting Innovativeness From SBD and Positive Emotions Model 1 Variable Constant Individual level Gender a b Model 2 SE 0.04 -0. and OCB .63*** 0.08 0. a significant influence from gender on positive emotions could be detected (β = .06 Job tenure Education SBD total c Positive emotions Group level Department Model fit -2log likelihood Deviance change (∆χ (df)) 2 0.05). and education (β = .29 B 3. ***p < . Table 11 provides the results for the multiple regression analysis which examined the influences of SBD and positive emotions on innovativeness.04 0.
1=female.89 (3) d 0.80*** 0.03 0.001).01 0.001).89*** 31.13*** 0. Group-level influences failed once again to reach statistical significance.06 0.03 0.85. Just like in the former hierarchical regression analysis (compare Table 5). 37 departments.89 (1) 353.00 0.05).85 (1) d Note. Results 37 In the final model.001). comparison to an empty model.03 0. p < . innovativeness. When entering positive emotions in the third model. **p < . p < .24*** 0.001 in How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.15). from 1 (preschool or primary education) to 5 (higher academic education).25 B 3.00 0. Instead. whilst the significant effect of SBD decreased (β = .06. In none of the three models. p < . B = Estimate. *p < .49*** SE 0. df = 1.63) had a considerable effect on innovativeness that was significant at the p < .24.07* 0.07.04.01 382. Hence.04 0.05.01 0.001 level.001). N= 359. they repeatedly displayed a highly significant effect on OCB (β = .84*** 2.08 0.03 0. ***p < .06 0.00 0.01.00 0.00 0.05 0.89. p < .16 B 3.10 0.13. In the second model.4.19 B Model 3 SE 0. None of the control variables showed a significant influence on OCB in Model 1. a significant influence of SBD on OCB could be found (β = .05 Job tenure Education SBD total c Positive emotions Group level Department Model fit -2log likelihood Deviance change (df) 414. p < . with department as only predictor. and OCB . SE = standard error a b c 0=male.03 0. the group-level variable displayed a significant influence on innovativeness.00 0. positive emotions (β = . p = .79 4. however. Results for OCB are similar to the results for innovativeness as can be seen in Table 12. df = 1. the significant influence of SBD disappeared (β = .00 0. in years. this hinted at full mediation of the SBD – innovativeness link through positive emotions.01 0. p < . Again.05 0. df = 1. the fit of Model 3 turned out to be significantly better than the fit of Model 2 (∆χ2 = 93.02 0.001).03 0.04*** 29.01 0. Model fit was found to be best for Model 3 (∆χ2 = 29. 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. 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.
Clifton & Harter. Consequently. 1982) and as self-esteem promotes positive mood states (Leary. 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. Evidence of the mediating role of positive emotions in the SBD – innovativeness and SBD – OCB relationships could be found. Conclusion and Discussion 38 5. comprises talking to others about possible strengths and appreciation by definition implies being judged by another person in a positive manner. in contrast. and OCB . Tambor. which reflected the assumptions made by the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. The favorable influence of those flattering interactions on mood cannot be astonishing. innovativeness. Gecas. Positive emotions. In case of innovativeness full mediation could be detected. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Talent identification. results indicated individual influences for the factors identification & development and appreciation. 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. 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. Moreover. but not for the SBD-innovativeness relationship. proved to advance employee innovativeness and organizational citizenship behavior.5.g. for example. In general. employee mood states were notably elated by SBD in this sample. as reflected appraisals have been indicated as an important source of self-esteem (Rosenberg. When taking a closer look at the items with which the construct is measured. Results for OCB. It became apparent that SBD significantly enhanced the amount of positive emotions reported. since correlations amongst those three factors were high. but not for strengths use. were suggestive of partial mediation. evidence for a direct link was only obtained for the SBD-OCB. Within the regression analysis containing the three different SBD subfactors. which was in accordance with the reviewed theoretical work where the strengths approach received highest praises from advocates of positive psychology (e. Terdal. influences from both. Nonetheless. Furthermore. then. 400 employees from seven different organizations filled in the questionnaire that was used to answer the research question. strengths-based approaches and positive emotions. First of all. it appears that SBD includes getting a lot of laud and compliments from others. 2003). These findings underlined the value and the usefulness of the strengths-based approach to personnel development. 1979.
was neither experienced as threatening nor as uncomfortable in this sample. the individual influence of strengths use is likely to be underestimated. workers also experience feelings of happiness. who do what they do best. although evaluative. In this regard it should nonetheless be mentioned that neither organization participating in this research had implemented a clear-cut strengths-based approach. it has been found that praise can negatively affect employee performance (Baumeister. found supportive evidence for the assumptions made on the basis of the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. 2006b). Thus. Hutton. however. and operate as effective and efficient as they can be (Linley & Harrington. especially if it is evaluative in nature (Faber & Mazlish. 1963) and can give rise to feelings of uncomfortableness. are motivated to do so. In the recent study. furthermore. Csikszentmihalyi’s expression “optimal experience” bears resemblance to the term “optimal functioning” (Linley & Harrington. Theorists argue that praise can be experienced as threatening (Farson. Similarly. Employees who experience higher amounts of positive emotions How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. 2006b) which is a state that should be reached in the strengths use phase. It means that workers. no hints for a negative relationship between praise and employee feelings or employee extra-role performance have been found. and OCB . 1995). a mediating effect via self-esteem for the obtained SBD – positive affect relationship might be possible. strengths use might still be the most important factor in enhancing flow experiences. 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. Due to the already discussed multicollinearity issues. An important point to bear in mind talking about lauding of employees is the possibility that praising – under certain conditions . it can be argued that workers. This study. and motivation in a state of flow (Moneta & Csikszentmihalyi.5. 1990). who are able to do what they do best.has negative consequences for children as well as for adults. 1996). For that reason it remains arguable whether negative effects of laud would arise in organizations with an exclusive focus on talents and strengths. Conclusion and Discussion 39 1995). namely that positive emotions facilitate innovativeness and OCB. Cairns. That is. get into a state of flow and therefore report more positive emotions than workers who are not able to utilize their strengths. that feedback inherent to SBD. innovativeness. cognitive efficiency. The evidence for a connection between SBD and positive emotions is also explainable against the background of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory (1990). In addition. feel fulfilled by their tasks. Positive affect accounted for significant variance proportions in innovativeness and OCB over and above the effect of SBD. Although no individual link between the factor strengths use and positive emotions could be found in this study.
As predicted by theory. which then leads to an increase in innovativeness. just as in case of innovativeness. 2001). in turn. Fredrickson. innovativeness. which were mediated by positive emotions. they then might engage in more creative and innovative behaviors at the workplace (cf. that SBD guarantees for a certain degree of worker autonomy only and that this degree of autonomy is not sufficient to stimulate innovative behavior. 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. 2000). full mediation has been detected. By reason of that. “active”. In case of innovativeness. It could be argued. that they therefore develop an increased interest in and enthusiasm for their subject. Since they are responsible for their work outcomes and are not restricted by another person’s rules. Theoretical assumptions about the direct SBD-innovativeness link mainly relayed upon the strengths use phase. 1998. It is also highly likely. 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. Next to tangible resources like money and time for talent identification procedures. they showed a broadened arrow of activities and behaviors. however. It would not be surprising. which militated against the hypothesis of a direct effect from SBD to innovativeness. Results of the multilevel regression analysis revealed that the second indirect connection from SBD to OCB was only partially mediated by positive emotions. “interested” and “proud”) in a first step. those employees should feel strong and active while working and proud after achieving good results. Nonetheless. 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. which. Strengths-based approaches led to positive mood states and those mood states thereupon caused innovativeness and OCB. Results. Conclusion and Discussion 40 engage in more innovative and creative behaviors and act more prosocial at the workplace. Reasoning with Organ (1990) and his social exchange theory. But as the direct effect from SBD to OCB controlled for positive emotions approached significance. hinted strictly speaking at full mediation.5. Moreover. it can be assumed that this link indeed exists. and OCB . 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. Hierarchical regression. however. challenged this believe. this study revealed significant indirect effects from SBD to the two outcome variables innovativeness and OCB. it is possible that task autonomy produces positive emotions (like “strong”. is supposed to contribute to the building of intellectual resources by learning processes and social resources by processes of networking and fostering relations.
Firstly. This. Although supervisors certainly play an important role in implementing the strengths-approach. and the organization in general. supervisors. competences and preferences of the position holder (Leana. Nevertheless. 1997). employees show a stronger tendency to dedicate some of their own resources to the organization which keeps the give-and-take equation in balance. These modifications are aimed at creating jobs that better fit the needs. 2001). Shore. & Liden. it also depends on colleague behavior and on official organizational structures and processes. Since OCB. in turn. one might question whether SBD is an equally applied principle or a preferential treatment given to specific employees only. Appelbaum. innovativeness. 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. Wayne. 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. for example.1 Limitations and Future Research This study has been subject to several limitations. Thus. As a consequence of this magnitude they receive. Against this background. SBD should not be seen as a reward which is only given to parts of the workforce. has been found to be consistently positively related to leadermember exchange (LMX) (Ilies. implies that SBD would function as one of several investments a supervisor makes in the employees he has built rapport with (cf. Conclusion and Discussion 41 situation and the therewith expressed appreciation. Nahrgang. their colleagues. 5. & Morgeson. one important aspect in disfavor of SBD as a preferential supervisor treatment can be seen in the conceptualization of SBD in this study. When finally looking at the overall SBD picture which presents itself as highly beneficial. Otherwise the present study would How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. For this reason. 2009).5. but as an encompassing approach depending on employees. it designedly differed from the abundant range of research with a deficiency background. & Shevchuk. Thereupon. such as performance appraisals. employees display extra-role behavior In order to reciprocate the efforts made by their supervisor. 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. 2007). it was the declared aim of this study to explore the benefits of the strengths-approach. 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. and OCB . a link between levels of SBD applied to an employee and LMX almost suggests itself. However.
with the two separate dimensions identification and development clustering together as one factor. This impaired data quality particularly for variables standing at the end of the questionnaire and should be avoided in future research. Fourthly. results might be explainable by specific answer patterns of individual respondents. this result is not surprising if one considers that both are subsequent phases in the strengths building process and are therefore closely linked. Results would then mainly be attributable to positivity as a personality trait. A more severe limitation regarding the questionnaire was its general lengths. Next to controlling for this. As a single questionnaire was set up for several research projects measuring different variables. It is possible. which means that the emotions measured are not related to one specific object. That means that they not only report higher amounts of positive feelings. Beyond. The explored factor structure did not fully match the theoretically assumed dimensions. the quality of the newly developed questionnaire that was used to assess SBD could be seen as a restricting issue. it must be considered that this study exclusively relied on self-report data. one should bear in mind that theorists justified the use of a mood questionnaire to assess emotional states. interesting results might emanate from future studies that examine SBD and its counterpart alongside and make comparisons of both concepts. who generally see life in a more positive way. another possibility How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. & Kelloway. innovativeness. Nevertheless.5. and OCB . Still. but that they also have a more euphemistic view of their work performance including innovativeness and OCB. Conclusion and Discussion 42 not have been capable of exploring the new research field of SBD and demonstrating its valuable consequences. the PANAS therefore seems to be a mere mood questionnaire. Fox. Thirdly. Spector. answer all questions in a specific. This questionnaire measures context-free emotions (Van Katwyk. because no suggestion how to deal with this matter has been made so far. Thus. Secondly. positively forged pattern. the supposed object-freeness was countered by changing the introductory sentence of the PANAS and thereby relating it to the working context. Nonetheless. 2000). In addition. According to Frijda (1986) and his theoretical differentiation between both concepts. it took respondents nearly 25 minutes to answer the 143 questions. it would be beneficial to examine the handling of dysfunctional deficiencies within the strengths-approach. that people. if those emotions are conceptualized as subjective feelings. 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. the use of the PANAS to assess the amount of experienced emotions might be criticized.
For organizations that mainly rely upon innovations as a success factor.g. SBD might be a solution to enhance employee creativity through elating emotions. innovativeness. Conclusion and Discussion 43 for future research would be to expand the assessment of innovativeness and OCB by either objective measures (e. that continuous feedback and the ongoing possibility to work on ones strengths. The same also applies to organizations that attach importance to mutual support amongst employees and to behavior that goes beyond official task descriptions.5. 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. It shows. But at least in case of OCB. 5. it could be seen as a means to boost performance. As a final point. Two additional research suggestions arose. Both can be considerably enhanced by SBD and his favorable effect on mood states. 2002).. 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.3 Practical Implications The results obtained make a good case for strengths-based personnel development in praxis. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. Since SBD directly or indirectly influences OCB and innovativeness. Mood states have been found to be effectively enhanced by the strengths identification and development phase as well as by the appreciation aspect. as applied at a team-level. is necessary to benefit from the strength approach in an optimal way. HR managers should be aware of the positive potential that lies within the strengths approach. This would be necessary to gain explicit knowledge about the cause and effect relationships between SBD and the dependent variables. The second would be an investigation of SBD as a team-level approach: As the present study focused on the individual level only. Thus. and OCB . 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. it would be interesting to see how SBD. would affect team behavior and performance. The first is the claim for a longitudinal study with repeated investigations before and after the implementation of SBD in a specific organization. Utilizing strengths alone is not sufficient to keep employee spirits high. SBD should not be considered a one-time intervention but an all-time philosophy incorporated in the organizational culture. a reverse effect from OCB to positive emotions would be likely because helping might trigger emotions such as pride and accomplishment (Miles et al. number of patents in case of innovativeness) or by supervisor ratings.
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. With linking emotions to the working context. 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. 8). 2001) that has been hidden under the surface up to now. Martin Seligman (2002). Firstly. the study demonstrated the favorable effects of SBD. Secondly. How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. innovativeness. this work revealed another piece of the proverbial iceberg (Fredrickson. Both aims could be reached.5. it provided additional evidence for the power of positive emotions. To conclude with the founding father of positive psychology. and OCB .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. Still.
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Appendix A 53 Appendix A Table A1 Questionnaire Strengths-Based Development Item Nr. 24. innovativeness. is mijn ontwikkelplan gericht op het uitbouwen van mijn sterke kanten. krijg ik de ruimte om mijn werk uit te voeren op de manier die het beste bij mij past. praat ik met mijn leidinggevende over het verder uitbouwen van mijn sterke kanten. 11. 19. wordt van mij verwacht dat ik mijn zwakke punten verder ontwikkel. 13. 3. 15. krijg ik de kans om te doen waar ik goed in ben. word ik bij het behalen van een succes gestimuleerd om hier op verder te bouwen. worden mijn zwakke kanten gecompenseerd door mijn collega’s. worden de taken zodanig verdeeld dat ieder doet waar hij of zij goed in is. 21. 1. word ik bewust gemaakt van mijn kwaliteiten. 8. Is men geïnteresseerd in wat mij drijft in mijn werk. is men meer gericht op wat ik kan. krijg ik erkenning voor werk dat ik goed doe. 7. 9. and OCB . 4. krijg ik de kans om te leren wat mijn talenten zijn. 2. 23. 17. 20. besteed ik de meeste tijd aan dingen waar ik goed in ben. dan op wat ik niet kan. 10. 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. 12. 5. 16. 25. krijg ik complimenten als ik een goede prestatie heb geleverd. 6. wordt gezocht naar oplossingen voor de onderdelen van mijn werk die niet mijn sterke kant zijn. wordt gekeken hoe mijn takenpakket optimaal aan kan sluiten bij mijn kwaliteiten. 18. 22. word ik gestimuleerd om mijn kwaliteiten verder te ontwikkelen. worden mijn sterke kanten gewaardeerd word ik geholpen om mijn sterke kanten te ontdekken. wordt het opgemerkt als ik een succes in mijn werk behaal wordt gefocust op mijn zwakke kanten als leerpunten voor de toekomst. Answers on a 5-point scale from one (totally disagree) to five (totally agree) How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. 14. heeft men oog voor mijn sterke kanten. wordt de nadruk gelegd op het verbeteren van de dingen waar ik minder goed in ben.
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.13 0. krijg ik positieve feedback krijg ik erkenning voor werk dat ik goed doe.02 -0.33 .42 c Eigenvalue Cronbach’s Alpha 9.12 -0.05 -0.74 Note. word ik gestimuleerd om mijn kwaliteiten verder te ontwikkelen.03 -0.80 0.49 -0.22 0. word ik bewust gemaakt van mijn kwaliteiten.57 0. praat ik met mijn leidinggevende over het verder uitbouwen van mijn sterke kanten. Factor strengths appreciation.29 -0.20 -0.01 0. N=391 a b c Factor talent identification & development. krijg ik de kans om te leren wat mijn talenten zijn.03 0.58 0.75 0.62 0.01 b Factor III 0. Factor strengths use How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.74 0.91 1. Factor I 0. krijg ik de kans om te doen waar ik goed in ben.15 0.04 -0.12 -0.14 -0.47 -0.23 0. worden mijn zwakke kanten gecompenseerd door mijn collega’s.91 -0.63 0.82 0. heeft men oog voor mijn sterke kanten. word ik geholpen om mijn sterke kanten te ontdekken.03 -0.12 0.01 0.23 -0.14 -0. and OCB . krijg ik de ruimte om mijn werk uit te voeren op de manier die het beste bij mij past. besteed ik de meeste tijd aan dingen waar ik goed in ben.04 -0.16 0.04 -0.44 -0.87 0.18 -0. worden de taken zodanig verdeeld dat ieder doet waar hij of zij goed in is.16 0.04 -0.92 -0.20 .00 a Factor II 0.14 0.01 -0. innovativeness.03 0.87 0. krijg ik complimenten als ik een goede prestatie heb geleverd.76 -0.09 0.08 0. worden mijn sterke kanten gewaardeerd.78 -0. wordt het opgemerkt als ik een succes in mijn werk behaal.06 . Is men geïnteresseerd in wat mij drijft in mijn werk.13 -0.91 1.64 -0.
Answers on a 5-point scale from one (very slightly or not at all) to five (extremely). Aandachtig Vijandig Geïnteresseerd Prikkelbaar Alert Schuldig Uitgelaten Beschaamd Enthousiast Nerveus Geïnspireerd Rusteloos Trots Overstuur Vastberaden Van streek Sterk Bang Actief Angstig Note. and OCB . Items of the Positive Affect Scale in italic How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions.55 Table A3 The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) Hieronder ziet u een aantal woorden die verschillende gevoelens en emoties beschrijven. innovativeness. Geef aan in welke mate onderstaande emoties op u van toepassing zijn tijdens uw werk.
N= 369 How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. innovativeness. N= 366 Table B3 One-Way ANOVA for OCB by Organization Sum of Squares Between Groups Within Groups Total df Mean Square F Sig.80 . N= 365 Table B2 One-Way ANOVA for Innovativeness by Organization Sum of Squares Between Groups Within Groups Total df Mean Square F Sig.14 Note.04 6 359 365 1.21 1.61 .00 Note.42 135. and OCB .73 .00 Note.54 73.19 3.92 6 362 368 .09 6 358 364 .62 126.00 74.09 76.33 . 4. 8.44 . 2.35 4.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.38 69.08 .
46 .57 Table B4 One-Way ANOVA for SBD by Organization Sum of Squares Between Groups Within Groups Total df Mean Square F Sig. 9.37 6 373 379 1.48 3.65 . and OCB .00 Note.93 178. N= 380 How strengths-based development enhances levels of positive emotions. innovativeness.44 188.
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