Psychological Capital – Developing the Human Competitive Edge –

Positive Psychological Capital is defined as the positive and developmental state of an individual as characterized by high self-efficacy, optimism, hope and resiliency.

How Much Psychological Capital do YOU have? Are you developing your staff’s Psychological Capital Effectively?

Psychological capital What … you may ask?

Well now,, you have been sitting in a POTENTIAL gold mine without even really knowing it…

Well, you do know it you just don’t truly value, appreciate and reward or nurture it… enough… yet. it! Many leaders and managers claim “our staff are our most valuable resource!” BUT when you see how they run their organisation you can quickly see talking to “Valuable staff” and walking-the-valuable staff talk are not closely aligned.

So why do so many leaders and companies make these claims and not deliver on their perceptions? And just what is Psychological Capital (PsyCap) and why it is important?

So, WHY… is Psychological Capital VITAL?

The world is shifting… Changing, morphing and becoming ever faster  and more competitive in every way.

We have More uncertainty, More competition, More Challenges, More stress, More illness, More expectations, Higher demands, Less simplicity, less time for just living life! …

DO MORE WITH LESS!! is the corporate refrain in an attempt to motivate and squeeze every last drop of profit- generating-life from each employee who shows up each day.  The “Rat-Race” is alive and well.

If we are going to go beyond survive…to thrive…  and then Thrill… We need something more…

If you are to remain a HEALTHY, HAPPY, INSPIRED, ENERGISED, POSITIVE contributor and proactive active participant in the corporate “thunder-race”…  you need something more to ensure success.

In todays’ competitive times, the only real powerful competitive edge remaining for you to leverage is the HUMAN COMPETITIVE EDGE.  Everything else can be acquired, purchased and built to match your competitor’s material assets.


So What is Psychological Capital?

For centuries psychology and counseling  has been focusing on “ illness”. At the very end of the twentieth century a new approach in psychology has emerged: positive psychology, plus some of us finally “saw the light” as to the power and value of Coaching.

Positive psychology, the study of optimal human functioning, is an endeavor to build mental wellness and thriving  mainly by focusing on 2 core , forgotten, but classical, psychological goals:

  • Help ordinary people to live a more productive and meaningful  and happy lives
  • Enable the full realization of the potential that exists in each human.

Two new branches of positive psychology are being implemented into the industrial-organizational world.

  • Positive organizational scholarship– a research field that emphasizes the positive characteristics of the organization that facilitates its ability to function during periods of crisis.
  • Positive organizational behavior (POB) – focuses on measurable positive- psychological abilities of the employee. The research is trying to discover and develop those abilities in order to improve job performance.

As opposed to positive psychology, organizational positive psychology focuses on situational characteristics that can be developed and improved through intervention in work place and proactive management techniques.

Moreover it focuses only on measurable and improvable characteristics. Through POB theories, several concepts were identified including subjective happiness, optimism, hope, resiliency and emotional intelligence.

Through empirical research it was discovered that different constructs of POB are not conceptually identical. Rather, they differ in their measurement and their combination produces a higher structure.

The implications and influences of this structure are bigger than the simple summary of its parts. The name of the construct is positive psychological capital or Psycap. Its primary components are hope, self-efficacy, optimism and resiliency.

Hope – Is defined as a positive motivational state where two basic elements – successful feeling of agency (or goal oriented determination) and pathways (or planning to achieve those goals) interact.

Self efficacy – Is defined as people’s confidence in their ability to achieve a specific goal in a specific situation.

Optimism – was defined by Seligman by Attribution theory (Fritz Heider, 1958). An Optimistic person is defined as one that makes “Internal” or “dispositional”, fixed and global attributions for positive events and “External” or “situational”, not fixed and specific attributions to negative events. Optimism in Psycap is thought as a realistic construct that regards what an employee can or cannot do, as such, optimism reinforces self efficacy and hope.

Resiliency – Is defined in Positive Psychology as a positive way of coping with danger or distress. In organizational aspect, it is defined as an ability to recuperate from stress, conflict, failure, change or increase in responsibility.

The Relationship Between Positive Psychological Capital And Different Organizational Outcomes

Psycap has positive correlation with performance and satisfaction

Research reveals hat high Psycap employees perform better than low Psycap employees. This difference in performance can be explained by their Psychological constructs which manifest themselves in their cognitions and motivations.

The influence on the employees performance is stronger while referring to Psycap than for each of its individual components, meaning, Psycap impact and explains more than its components combined.

Psycap mediates between supportive climate and employee performance[3] – Psycap

Psycap and positive supportive climate are necessary for human resources in order to achieve stable organizational growth. Supportive climate is defined as the total support that an employee receives from their coworkers, other departments and their supervisors which helps them with their job demands.

High Psycap Employees supports effective organizational change

Organizational change is defined as a lack of fit with the environment which intensifies as a result of a gap between the organizational goals and its present outcomes.

The employees have the challenge and responsibility to adjust and behave according to the new strategy decided and implemented by the management, which is typically mostly with fewer resources.

During change, different aspects of employees’ Psycap is put to the test – they have to learn new ways of behavior and be confident to do so, recover from the crisis, be motivated to cope efficiently and to believe in a better future.

Psycap and positive emotions are examples of how personal factors facilitate organizational change. Positive change is defined as every change that the organization undergoes for its own benefit and has more positive psychological and behavioral consequences than
negative ones.

The role of positive emotions is that they help workers cope with the organizational change by broadening their point of view, encourage open decision making and giving them essential vitality for their coping.

This interaction means that Psycap, through positive emotions, influences the worker’s attitudes and behavior, which in turn, influences the organizational change.

Psycap decreases workplace absenteeism and presenteeism

Psycap has interesting influences on absence from work. Few meta-analyses have shown a connection between personal and organizational climate factors to the level of absenteeism from work.
Recently, however, research has shown that attitude variables like satisfaction and commitment cannot explain the significant variance in absenteeism. Psycap can give a new perspective to the understanding and coping with absenteeism. Research has shown that Psycap has a positive influence on levels of involuntary and voluntary absenteeism.

The basis of the interaction between Psycap and absenteeism lies in the already proven connection between the body and the soul and more specifically, a strong connection between stress and physiological factors. Workers who confront similar obstacles in their
workplace will react differently according to their Psycap and therefore the influence of such obstacle on them will be different. The nature of workers with high Psycap will contribute to lower levels of sickness or to the ability to recover from sickness and get back to work afterwards, which will result in lower levels of involuntary absenteeism.


Self-efficacy is a term used in psychology, roughly corresponding to a person’s belief in their own competence.

It has been defined as the belief that one is capable of performing in a certain manner to attain certain goals.[1] It is believed that our personalized ideas of self-efficacy affect our social interactions in almost every way. Understanding how to foster the development of self-efficacy is a vitally important goal for positive psychology because it can lead to living a more productive and happy life.

Psychological Capital (PsyCap) is a positive state-like capacity that has undergone extensive theory-building and research.
Psychological Capital is defined as “an individual’s positive psychological state of development and is characterized by:

1. having confidence (self efficacy) to take on and put in the necessary effort to succeed at challenging tasks;

2. making a positive attribution (optimism) about succeeding now and in the future;

3. persevering toward goals and, when necessary, redirecting paths to goals (hope) in order to succeed; and

4. when beset by problems and adversity, sustaining and bouncing back and even beyond (resilience) to attain success.”

Published research on PsyCap has found that it is related to multiple performance outcomes in the workplace, lower employee absenteeism, less employee cynicism and intentions to quit, and higher job satisfaction, commitment, and organizational citizenship behaviors. Research has also found PsyCap can be enhanced by a supportive work climate.

Masters of Wellness…