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What is Your Potential for Workplace Happiness and Success?

Here is what makes workers happy and effective

How happy are you at work? What is your outlook for the future? One way to answer these questions is to measure your psychological capital.

Recent research coming out of the positive psychology movement has emphasized the importance of "psychological capital" - a positive psychological state and outlook to the future that has been studied in the workplace. The elements of psychological capital are:

Self-Efficacy is confidence in your ability to perform tasks effectively and achieve goals. We develop a sense of self-efficacy about each area of our lives. At work, you develop self-efficacy about your ability to perform your job, to lead other people, and to achieve goals.

If you feel confident in taking on challenging tasks, such as representing your work group at a meeting, setting and achieving goals, and taking on increasingly more difficult tasks, then you are high on work-related self-efficacy.

Hope is your belief in your ability to achieve goals and to figure out ways to achieve work and career-related goals.

If you see yourself as successful at work now and in the future, then you are high on hope. Similarly, if you believe that you can easily work out problems, difficulties, and roadblocks, then you are hopeful.

Optimism is having a positive outlook on your worklife - you "believe you can achieve." If you believe that things will work out, and you believe that there are good things ahead in your worklife and career, then you possess this key element of psychological capital.

Resiliency is your ability to bounce back after a setback or problem. If you can take stress in stride, and easily recover from a setback or missed opportunity, then you are resilient.

Research has shown that possessing psychological capital is related to greater workplace satisfaction and performance. Persons having high levels of psychological capital have better attendance records and are better able to manage change at work.


Luthans, F., Avolio, B.J., Avey, J.B., & Norman, S.M. (2007). Positive psychological capital: Measurement and relationship with performance and satisfaction. Personnel Psychology, 60, 541-572.

Luthans, F., Youssef, C.M., & Avolio, B.J. (2007). Psychological capital. New York: Oxford University Press.


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