Strengths of Character and Work

Christopher Peterson, John Paul Stephens, Nansook Park, Fiona Lee and Martin E. P. Seligman

in Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780195335446
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Strengths of Character and Work

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  • Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Social Psychology



This chapter describes a preliminary study of the Values in Action (VIA) strengths of character and their relationship to work satisfaction across a variety of occupations. Relying on a large Internet sample (N = 7348) of adults from the United States, we found that across occupations, character strengths of curiosity, zest, hope, gratitude, and spirituality were associated with work satisfaction. We also found interpretable differences across occupations for several strengths of character, although these were small in magnitude. Good character is not the province of workers in any given occupation, despite obvious differences across jobs in educational requirements, status, and salary. Our data provided some support for the notion of complementary fit between strengths of character and work satisfaction. If a worker in a given occupation scored higher on a less typical strength of character within that occupation, then he or she was more likely to be satisfied with work. The chapter concludes with directions for research and implications for practice.

Keywords: character strengths; occupations; person-job fit; work satisfaction

Article.  6820 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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