The Relationship of Positive Psychological Capital

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Relationship of Positive Psychological Capital and Work-Related. Outcomes ..... Performance Questionnaire with the following subscales: job dedication (e.g., ''I ...

Asia-Pacific Edu Res DOI 10.1007/s40299-015-0267-9


In Search for H.E.R.O Among Filipino Teachers: The Relationship of Positive Psychological Capital and Work-Related Outcomes Fraide A. Ganotice Jr.1,2 • Susanna S. Yeung3 • Leonora A. Beguina2 Jonalyn B. Villarosa2

 De La Salle University 2015

Abstract Recent positive psychology literature has consistently demonstrated the link between PsyCap (composite score of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism—HERO) and employee productivity. However, most of these studies were conducted in industrial or organizational settings and have mostly examined the independent effect of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism. Not much research has been conducted in the educational setting. In this study, we examined the association of PsyCap with psychological well-being and job performance among Filipino teachers. Through hierarchical regression analysis, data from 180 Filipino teachers indicated that PsyCap is linked to adaptive outcomes: psychological well-being and job performance. Limitations and implications of the study were provided. Keywords Positive psychological capital  Psychological well-being at work  Job performance

Introduction PsyCap represents the potential strength of workers’ hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism (HERO)—an acronym for PsyCap’s core constructs of HERO—believed to have the potential to be managed and developed amongst workers to enable them to attain optimal flourishing in workplaces. Conceptually, it is argued that HERO can be & Fraide A. Ganotice Jr. [email protected] 1

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR


Palawan State University, Puerto Princesa City, Philippines


The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR

combined to form a higher-order construct known as PsyCap—an emerging concept drawn from positive psychology (Luthans et al. 2007). PsyCap has been increasingly recognized in the human resources literature (Luthans et al. 2007). Recent positive psychology literature demonstrates consistently the link between PsyCap and employee productivity. However, generally past studies paid more attention to industrial or organizational settings and largely involved Western participants (see Liu et al. 2013; Luthans et al. 2005; Sun et al. 2011 for a few exceptions). While there were a number of studies that initially explored PsyCap in the teaching context (see for example Cheung et al. 2011), we are convinced that exploring PsyCap in Asia is still in its early stage and it still lags far behind in terms of establishing its nomological network (e.g., outcomes). In line with this, researchers and practitioners still have much more work to do in understanding this construct especially involving Asian participants. Currently, the relevance of this research agenda in the teaching profession and in the Asian contexts remains scarce and little is known about its relationship with a wider range of outcomes. The application of PsyCap in a stress-filled profession like teaching (e.g., Chan and Hui 1995; McInerney et al. 2015) is an important line of inquiry as this is an opportunity to contribute to teachers’ flourishing or optimal functioning in the classrooms. This study, therefore, represents the first attempt to explore PsyCap in the context of the teaching profession in the Philippines. It contributes to the literature in various ways. First, it tries to identify demographic characteristics of teachers as they relate to PsyCap and explores how PsyCap impacts a wide array of future work-related outcome trajectories: psychological well-being and job performance. This scientific study is important as the result of this study can inform administrative policies supportive of


F. A. Ganotice et al.

teachers’ discovery of inner strengths that allow them to thrive and prosper—a move in response to the challenge of Seligman (2002) to promote positive psychology in workplaces. Second, instead of studying the independent effect of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism, this study explored their combined or simultaneous effect on teachers’ psychological well-being and job performance. The literature suggests that the effect of combined or higherorder construct known as PsyCap is a stronger predictor of achievement than the independent effect of the four components (Luthans et al. 2007). This investigation is one of the few studies to apply this approach to the study of teacher psychological well-being in Asia. To date, most studies have been conducted to investigate the independent effect of HERO on employee productivity (e.g., Chan 2009; Desrumaux et al. 2015; Pretsch et al. 2012; Wang et al. 2015). Finally, this study was conducted involving a sample of Filipino teachers from the Philippines that may represent few applications of PsyCap in an Asian country.

PsyCap and the Teaching Profession Capital, which has been traditionally used in economics and finance, can be utilized to represent the concept of human capital as well. Psychological capital was coined by Luthans et al. (2007) to suggest the motivational tendency taken from four positive psychological constructs such as hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism. When these four psychological resources are combined, they form synergestic effect to form a higher-order construct better known as PsyCap (Luthans et al. 2012). PsyCap represents a positive strength for combating stress. It emphasizes employees’ both present (‘‘who you are’’) as well as future-oriented psychological functioning (‘‘what you can become in terms of positive development’’; Avolio and Luthans 2006). PsyCap is understood as ‘‘an individual’s positive psychological state of development…’’ (Luthans et al. 2007, p. 3). Central to PsyCap formulation is that employees can be treated as capital investment to be developed and managed because they are critical to sustainable competitive advantage. As Luthans and Youssef (2004, p. 178) assert, ‘‘…negative theories that we hold about human behavior and motivation in …need to give way to positively oriented strengths-based management that focuses on developing human, social, and psychological capital that achieve their potential.’’ Surprisingly, the application of PsyCap framework has neglected the workers in the academe whose psychological health and well-being are challenged by various factors. It appears that studies involving PsyCap framework have been conducted from WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic) societies (e.g.,


Avey et al. 2010; Luthans et al. 2006, 2012; Roche et al. 2014). To our knowledge, there has been no large-scale study in Asia that clarifies its applicability. Thus, this necessitates examination on how PsyCap withstands crosscultural scrutiny. In our view, the application of PsyCap in teachers (e.g., Filipino teachers) is relevant because it may facilitate better understanding of their psychological state leading to the promotion of positivity in the academe. This therefore will generate evidence of the relationship between PsyCap and various work-related outcomes. Teacher stress and burnout have been linked to impairment of teaching quality, job dissatisfaction, physical and emotional ill-health, and teachers’ leaving the profession (Kyriacou 2001). Empirical evidence suggests that teacher stress is associated with heavy workload, staff relationships, and parents’ criticisms (Chan 2006), which are potential reasons for high turnover rate of teachers (McInerney et al. 2015; Morin et al. 2015). In fact, in the report of the Analysis of the World Education Indicators (2001), it was reported that Filipino teachers are among the groups of teachers with high burnout condition caused by work-related stress. This is alarming given the fact that teacher quality is a critical input to student achievement (Winheller et al. 2013). Investment in harnessing teacher competence in psychological domains is therefore warranted. However, currently, there is very limited understanding of the psychological well-being of the teaching force in the Philippines. PsyCap literature involving non-Asian participants in industries indicate that PsyCap is associated with a number of work-related outcomes including job satisfaction (e.g., Luthans et al. 2007), psychological well-being (Culbertson et al. 2010; Cole et al. 2009), and job performance ratings (e.g., Cropanzano and Wright 2001). In spite of these, the literature is silent about the application of PsyCap and its relationship with a wide array of work-related outcomes in the context of teaching. More so, it is necessary to understand the relationship between demographic variables and PsyCap, psychological well-being, and performance because of its implication to school human resource programs and their implementation. Extant literature suggests no significant correlation between gender and PsyCap (Avey et al. 2010). Furthermore, studies indicate significant gender and age differences in psychological well-being and job performance (e.g., Caza et al. 2010; Fuller et al. 2004; Lin et al. 2014). In this study, we wanted to partial out the variance associated with these demographic variables to clarify the unique effect of PsyCap on psychological wellbeing and job performance. It is in this context where we see the importance of this study. Taken together, this project represents the initiative to test the PsyCap model which is a new and emerging paradigm with promising contextual and practical value for

In Search for H.E.R.O Among Filipino Teachers: The Relationship of Positive Psychological…

enhancing the well-being of Filipino teachers. Implementing this research involving Filipino teachers demonstrates the recognition of the need to nurture the psychological well-being of teachers. They need a new human resource development program supportive of developing teachers’ HERO (hope, optimism, self-resiliency, and optimism) in today’s stress-filled academic workplace.

questionnaire. There were 71.1 % females and 28.9 % males. The average age was 36.77 years (SD = 11.17; min age = 21, max age = 67). There were 9.4 % of them who attained a PhD degree, 40.0 % a Master’s degree, and 50.6 % attained a Bachelor’s degree. They have served their institution from 1 to 45 years (Mean = 10.22, SD = 9.2). In terms of status of appointment, 48.9 % of the participants have permanent status, while 51.1 % were on contractual status. All these teachers are teaching in the College level.

The Present Study In the current research, we investigated the application of PsyCap into the academic setting particularly involving Filipino teachers. The following targets guided our analysis: (a)

Examine how the demographic characteristics of Filipino teachers (e.g., age, sex, highest educational attainment, years in service) are related to the following positive psychology variables: positive psychological capital, psychological well-being at work (interpersonal fit at work, thriving at work, feeling of competency, perceived recognition at work, and desire for involvement at work), and job performance (interpersonal facilitation, job dedication, task performance).

Hypothesis 1 Age, highest educational attainment, and length of service will be positively correlated with PsyCap, psychological well-being, and job performance. This is built from the PsyCap formulation that this variable can be developed and nurtured amongst employees (Luthans et al. 2006; Zhao and Hou 2009) which may indicate potentially that PsyCap increases as a function of time. It is possible that the older the teachers are, the better is their PsyCap. The same may be true to educational attainment where it is possible that the longer they stay in the teaching service, the better is their PsyCap, psychological well-being, and job performance. (b)

Identify the relationship between PsyCap and workrelated outcomes: psychological well-being and job performance.

Hypothesis 2 PsyCap can positively predict psychological well-being at work and job performance. This is consistent with the empirical data establishing the link between these variables (e.g., Avey et al. 2010a; Culbertson et al. 2010). Participants A total of 180 university teachers in a state-owned University in the Philippines responded to the self-report

Measures Various measures were adopted and their psychometric properties were checked through CFA. Positive Psychological Capital (Luthans et al. 2007) PsyCap was measured using the 24-item Psychological Capital Questionnaire (PCQ). This scale is composed of four subscales with six items each: hope (e.g., ‘‘At the present time, I am energetically pursuing my work goals’’, a = .84), optimism (e.g., ‘‘I’m optimistic about what will happen to me in the future as it pertains to work,’’ a = .83), self-efficacy (e.g., ‘‘I feel confident in analyzing a long-term problem to find a solution,’’ a = .78), and resilience (‘‘I usually manage difficulties one way or another at work,’’ a = .81). Composite scores of these four components serve as PsyCap value. Responses were scored from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Psychological Well-Being at Work (Dagenais-Desmarais and Savoie 2011) This is composed of five dimensions: interpersonal fit at work (5 items, e.g., ‘‘I value the people I work with’’, a = .92), thriving at work (5 items, e.g., ‘‘I find my job exciting,’’ a = .91), feeling of competency (5 items, e.g., ‘‘I know I am capable of doing my job,’’ a = .91), perceived recognition at work (5 items, e.g., ‘‘I feel that my work is recognized,’’ a = .89) and desire for involvement at work (5 items, e.g., ‘‘I want to take initiative in my work,’’ a = .94). A seven-point Likert-type scale was used ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). Job Performance (Van Scotter and Motowidlo 1996) This variable was measured using a 15-item Contextual Performance Questionnaire with the following subscales: job dedication (e.g., ‘‘I put extra hours to get work done on time,’’ a = .90), task performance (e.g.,‘‘I usually work harder than usual/necessary,’’ a = .90), and interpersonal


F. A. Ganotice et al.

facilitation (e.g., ‘‘I praise my colleagues when they are successful,’’ a = .87). Items were rated on a 6-point Likert scale where 1 (low agreement) and 6 (high agreement).

and kurtosis beyond 2 and 7, respectively, may imply a lack of univariate normality. We also checked multicollinearity and we found no high correlation among independent variables.


Confirmatory Factor Analyses

Means, standard deviations, and correlations of the variables are presented in Table 1. Generally, the relationships of the study variables were within the expected direction. In terms of demographic variables, age and years in service were positively correlated to PsyCap, psychological wellbeing at work (indexed by interpersonal fit at work—IFW, thriving at work—TAW, perceived recognition at work— PRW, desire for involvement at work—DIW; and job performance (indexed by interpersonal facilitation—IF, job dedication—JD, and task performance—TF). PsyCap is positively correlated to psychological well-being and job performance. We checked the normality of our data by examining skewness and kurtosis values for each item. Skewness values of our data ranged from -.56 to -1.53, while kurtosis values ranged from -1.06 to .25. Finney and DiStefano (2006) suggest that absolute values of skewness

To check the model fit, we used Chi-square statistic and other goodness-of-fit indices: goodness-of-fit index (GFI), Tucker–Lewis Index (TLI), comparative fit index (CFI), root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA), Chi square, and Chi square to degrees of freedom ratio. Hu and Bentler (1999) suggested that values above 0.90 for GFI, NFI, IFI, TLI, and CFI are deemed acceptable, while RMSEA should be below 0.08 We performed CFAs to examine the psychometric properties of the various measures (refer to Table 2). We tested the fit of hierarchical model where PsyCap was posited as a higher-order construct underpinned by the firstorder construct consisting of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism. We also tested the four-factor model where hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism were posited as correlated factors. Our data support that both hierarchical model and the four-factor model had good fit. A Chi-square

Table 1 Descriptive statistics, internal reliabilities, and bivariate correlations

1. Age



-.07 -.43*** 0.77*** 0.31*** 0.16* –

2. Sex 3. Educational attainment












0.31*** 0.25**


0.32*** 0.23**














-.26*** -.08












0.27*** 0.20**



4. Years in service

5. PsyCap

0.28*** 0.15* –

6. Interpersonal fit at work

0.41*** 0.54*** 0.49*** 0.48*** 0.50*** 0.57*** 0.60*** 0.62*** –

7. Thriving at work

0.66*** 0.56*** 0.61*** 0.65*** 0.53*** 0.47*** 0.58*** –

8. Feeling of competency

0.78*** 0.61*** 0.76*** 0.39*** 0.40*** 0.44*** –

9. Perceived recognition at work

0.57*** 0.60*** 0.32*** 0.46*** 0.44*** –

10. Desire for involvement at work

0.62*** 0.43*** 0.41*** 0.56***

11. Interpersonal facilitation

0.44*** 0.36*** 0.48***

12. Job dedication

0.62*** 0.73*** –

13. Task performance

0.75*** –













11.074 –











Cronbach’s alpha










* p \ .05, ** p \ .01, *** p \ .001



In Search for H.E.R.O Among Filipino Teachers: The Relationship of Positive Psychological… Table 2 Confirmatory factor analyses of measurement models Model











1. PsyCap four-factor model




p \ .001







2. PsyCap hierarchical model




p \ .001







3. Psychological well-being at work




p \ .001










p \ .001







4. Job performance

Chi square, df degrees of freedom, RMSEA root mean square error of approximation, GFI goodness-of-fit index, NFI normed fit index, IFI incremental fit index, TLI Tucker–Lewis index, CFI comparative fit index

difference test indicated no significant difference between the two models (v2 d = 8.79, p = .12). Thus, we adopted the hierarchical model for theoretical and statistical reasons. In all subsequent analyses, we used the hierarchical model (Luthans et al. 2007). Relationships of PsyCap and Work-Related Outcomes Series of hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to determine the relationship between the PsyCap and workrelated outcomes. PsyCap was used as predictor variable, while work-related outcomes—psychological well-being and job performance—served as the criterion variables. Because there are various demographic variables that may influence the effect PsyCap on outcomes, we controlled for the effect of extraneous variables such as age, gender, and highest education (refer to Table 2). Previous studies suggest that some demographic variables (e.g., age, gender, education) have confounding influence on PsyCap (e.g., Liu et al. 2015; Woolley et al. 2011). These variables were entered at the first step of the regression equation as covariates. We entered PsyCap at the second step where the intention is to clarify if PsyCap would account for an additional amount of variance in predicting array of workrelated outcomes after controlling for the effects of demographics (refer to Table 2). PsyCap was able to explain a significantly high amount of variance across the two outcome variables ranging from 18.9 to 34 % of additional variance. Our results indicated that PsyCap positively predicted the various indicators of both psychological wellbeing (interpersonal fit at work, thriving at work, feeling of competency, perceived recognition at work, and desire for involvement at work), and job performance (interpersonal facilitation, job dedication, task performance) (Table 3).

Discussion This study explored the relationship between PsyCap, psychological well-being at work, and job performance. In general, our results corroborated the earlier findings in

industrial settings on the adaptive effect of PsyCap on workers’ psychological functioning and well-being. One of the interesting results of this study is connected with the demographic variables which are both found to be related and unrelated to PsyCap, psychological well-being, and job performance. Results suggest that age and years in the teaching service were significantly correlated with PsyCap, psychological well-being, and job performance but not sex and highest educational attainment. This may indicate that PsyCap, psychological well-being, and job performance can be nurtured and developed among teachers as a function of time. Previous research involving Western participants has demonstrated that age (and perhaps years in service given that they are correlated) is positively related to well-being (Sveinsdo´ttir et al. 2007) but fewer studies have attempted to examine the relationship between age and PsyCap. The first hypothesis is therefore partially supported. The main and important result of this study relates to the relationship of PsyCap with psychological well-being and job performance of teachers. The results demonstrated that PsyCap predicted large amount of additional variance (19–34 %) in predicting various outcomes controlling for the effect of age, gender, and highest education (refer to Table 2). Consistent with the second hypothesis, PsyCap predicted the following: psychological well-being (interpersonal fit at work, thriving at work, feeling of competency, perceived recognition at work, desire for involvement at work), and job performance (interpersonal facilitation, job dedication, task performance). In other words, because teachers are high in HERO components of PsyCap, this made them relate well with others in the academe (‘‘I value the people I work with’’), thriving in the teaching profession (‘‘I find my job exciting’’), feel competent (‘‘I know I am capable of doing my job’’), perceived the recognition at work (‘‘I feel that my work is recognized’’), and wanting to be more involved (‘‘I want to take initiative in my work’’). Additionally, the link between PsyCap and job performance may suggest that the conglomeration of HERO components in teachers enables them to manifest job dedication (e.g., ‘‘I put extra hours to get work done on time’’), increase task performance


F. A. Ganotice et al. Table 3 Hierarchical regression analyses for facilitating conditions as predictors of school outcomes Psychological well-being IFW


Job performance FOC






Step 1 Age


















Highest education

















Age Gender

-.019 .003

0.100 -.146

0.086 -.072

0.052 0.011

0.186** -.015

0.081 0.088

0.051 0.059

0.043 0.049

Highest education









Positive PsyCap



























R2 Step 2

Standardized regression coefficients (b) are shown IFW interpersonal fit at work, TAW thriving at work, FOC feeling of competency, PRW perceived recognition at work, DIW desire for involvement at work, IF interpersonal facilitation, JD job dedication, TP task performance * p \ .05, ** p \ .01, *** p \ .001

(e.g.,‘‘I usually work harder than usual/necessary’’), and be more appreciative of others (e.g., ‘‘I praise my colleagues when they are successful’’).This consistent pattern of results could be seen as strong evidence establishing the relationship of PsyCap with various measures of human flourishing in the teaching workplace. This result is consistent with the extant literature where PsyCap has been shown to add variance in predicting well-being related outcomes even when demographics are taken into account (Avey et al. 2010b). The findings are also similar to studies involving workers in other industries (e.g., Avey et al. 2011; Youssef and Luthans 2012). Existing literature on teachers’ psychological well-being and job performance has tended to focus on their negative antecedents with less work done on their positive antecedents. These include work demand (e.g., Desrumaux et al. 2015), occupational stress (e.g., Sliskovic et al. 2011), and mental fatigue (e.g., Guglielmi et al. 2012). While some studies dealt with social aspects such as social support (e.g., Burke and Greenglass 1996), this study explored an additional positive variable (i.e., PsyCap) and examined how it is related to teachers’ psychological well-being and job performance. An additional significant contribution is connected with the combined or simultaneous effect of hope, efficacy, resilience, and efficacy. It can be noted that previous studies have mostly focused on the independent effect of individual component of psychological capital on teachers’ psychological well-being and job performance. For example, hope is associated with life satisfaction among Hong Kong Chinese teachers (Chan 2009), efficacy is predictor of teachers’ job satisfaction (Wang et al. 2015), resilience is predictor of


psychological well-being of teachers (Pretsch et al. 2012), and optimism is predictor of psychological health at work (Desrumaux et al. 2015). The combined effect of these variables has not received sufficient research attention. Importantly, the current study advances the ongoing theoretical conversation on psychological well-being and job performance of University faculty by demonstrating the importance of investigating the combined effect of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism (HERO) to teachers’ psychological well-being and job performance. Implications The general finding of this study broadens our understanding that PsyCap can be extended to employees in the academic setting. This study has contributed fundamentally to positive psychology literature by showing that PsyCap can be integrated in academic contexts where it correlates significantly to various adaptive outcomes: psychological well-being (as indexed by interpersonal fit at work, thriving at work, feeling of competency, perceived recognition at work, and desire for involvement at work), and job performance (as indexed by interpersonal facilitation, job dedication, and task performance). While PsyCap studies have delved mostly in industrial or organization settings, this study provided the empirical evidence supportive of the contention that PsyCap is applicable to Asian educational context like the Philippines. It is clear that in the context of teaching, PsyCap determines desirable impact on teachers’ psychological well-being and job performance. This study is innovative as it represents the seminal effort to bring to our

In Search for H.E.R.O Among Filipino Teachers: The Relationship of Positive Psychological…

understanding that aside from Industries and Organizations, PsyCap can be integrated into the academic settings. Strengths, Limitations, and Directions for Future Research This research contributes to the growing literature on positive psychology in the Asian context in a number of ways. We expanded the work done on PsyCap, a relatively new construct within the umbrella of Positive Psychology, by specifically integrating it in a new context—the teaching profession. Our data provided insights of specific teacher demographic characteristics which are linked to PsyCap and two variables within its nomological network: psychological well-being and job performance. An important result of this study is the relationship of PsyCap with psychological well-being and job performance of teachers. However, we want to note some limitations of this study. First, we have a relatively small number of participants drawn from a single university. Second, we administered our self-report questionnaire. We feel that schedule of data gathering should target specific data at a time. Considering that in our paper PsyCap predicted psychological well-being and job performance in later part, it may be more logical to get PsyCap data in Time 1 and the outcome variables in Time 2. Third, this study is cross-sectional in nature. Longitudinal study is necessary to establish the potential effect of time in the development of PsyCap. Future studies may focus on experimental design to build from the theoretical assertion that PsyCap is a malleable construct which can be shaped and further developed amongst employees (see for example the work of Zhang et al. (2014) for understanding of PsyCap experimental designs amongst employees). As we end, we want to emphasize that in this study we focused on the association between the combined resources of the four psychological capitals: hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism (as indexed by PsyCap) and psychological well-being and job performance among Filipino teachers. Our findings demonstrate a significant relationship between PsyCap and psychological well-being and job performance of teachers even after controlling for the effect of age, gender, and highest education. We hope that these initial findings would stimulate other researchers to pay attention to positive antecedents of well-being and job performance of teachers.

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