In this blog, I want to dig a little deeper into the notion of psychological capital. Higher levels of psychological capital are a good way of keeping burn-out out of the door. While intervening on human factors like leadership and teaching individuals to manage their energy levels - or psychological capital - the context factor should not be forgotten. There is a link between psychological capital, performance, and job design. In this blog, you'll find the theory, here, you'll find the results of a concrete experiment we've done.
The notion of psychological capital is an interesting one. It was introduced by Luthans in 2007. Luthans describes four mental states which determine flow and thus feelings of well-being:
Self-efficacy: Believing in one’s capability to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations (Bandura)
Resilience: The ability to withstand pressure and bounce back from disruptions
Optimism: Expectancy of a positive outcome, attributing success to one-self and failure to contextual factors.
Hope: Way Power and Willpower i.e. seeing light at the end of the tunnel … and the path towards that light.
A review study conducted in 2014 by Newman et al. insists on leadership as an important antecedent for psychological capital. In other words, authentic and transformational leadership results in high levels of individual psychological capital. The study also reveals that high psychological capital leads to empowerment, which in turn has a positive impact on individual, team and organizational results.
As organizations are always looking to improve performance, it seems logical that they want to set up programs which should lead to higher levels of psychological capital. In my dealings with different organizations, I see two major interventions:
Investing in programs concerning well-being. These programs rely heavily on the research done in the field of positive psychology by scholars like Bandura, Luthans, and Csikszentmihalyi and aim to help people to get a grip on their mental state.
Investing in leadership programs