Positive Workplaces

Fred Luthans and Carolyn M. Youssef

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology

Second edition

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780195187243
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:
Positive Workplaces

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  • Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology



Over the years, both management practitioners and academics have generally assumed that positive workplaces lead to desired outcomes. Unlike psychology, considerable attention has also been devoted to the study of positive topics such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment. However, to place a scientifically based focus on the role that positivity may play in the development and performance of human resources, and largely stimulated by the positive psychology initiative, positive organizational behavior (POB) and psychological capital (PsyCap) have recently been introduced into the management literature. This chapter first provides an overview of both the historical and contemporary positive approaches to the workplace. Then, more specific attention is given to the meaning and domain of POB and PsyCap. Our definition of POB includes positive psychological capacities or resources that can be validly measured, developed, and have performance impact. The constructs that have been determined so far to best meet these criteria are efficacy, hope, optimism, and resiliency. When combined, they have been demonstrated to form the core construct of what we term psychological capital (PsyCap). A measure of PsyCap is being validated and this chapter references the increasing number of studies indicating that PsyCap can be developed and have performance impact. The chapter concludes with important future research directions that can help better understand and build positive workplaces to meet current and looming challenges.

Keywords: human resource development; positive organizational behavior; positive organizational scholarship; psychological capital; workplace positive psychology

Article.  6882 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Organizational Psychology

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