Two Field Studies Examining the Association Between Positive Psychological Capital and Employee Performance

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Department or Administrative Unit


Publication Date



Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between psychological capital (comprised of hope, optimism, efficacy and resilience) and employee performance through multiple studies and methods of data.

Design/methodology/approach – The study included two samples in a large financial firm headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. The employees' level of psychological capital were measured with the psychological capital questionnaire. Via regression, this was related to individual level financial performance data from the firm and manager rated performance.

Findings – As hypothesized, psychological capital was found to be related to employees' level of financial performance, referrals within the firm and manager rated performance. The findings are relevant to advancing previous studies on psychological capital and employee performance in that multiple sources and types of data were used to test hypotheses overcoming past concerns of common method and source variance and adding validity to these results.

Limitations/implications – While the use of two samples replicating results enhanced generalization, the major limitation in the study concerns internal validity. Specifically, this study did not use an experimental design and, thus, relationships may be reverse causal or reciprocal.

Originality/value – Overall, the integration of positive psychology and organizational behavior continues to flourish. The paper demonstrates that psychological capital is associated with multiple measures of employee performance across two field studies. In conclusion, empirical research in positive organizational behaviour is likely to advance to the boundaries of the theory including how psychological capital manifests across multiple contexts, bio‐data predicting psychological capital and multi‐level issues such as team, group, organizational and even cultural psychological capital.


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Leadership and Organizational Development Journal