May 10, 2019

Psychological Capital

Develop Psychological Capital. It motivates you till the last minute. It then allows to face the failure with sufficient calmness and think of another goal in life.

Psychological Capital , like widely recognized concepts  human and social capital, is a construct similar to  economic capital, where resources are invested and leveraged for a future return. Psychological Capital is different from  human (‘what you know’) and social (‘who you know’) capital, and is more directly concerned with ‘who you are’ and more importantly ‘who you are becoming’ (i.e., developing one’s actual self to become the possible self).

Luthans et al. operationally define Psychological Capital as follows:

An individual’s positive psychological state of development that 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 (resiliency) to attain success (Luthans, Youssef, & Avolio).

Luthans et al. used  the following criteria to include concepts and variables in the operations definition of Psychological Capital. (1) the concept must  grounded in theory and research; (2) valid measurement; (3) relatively unique to the field of organizational behavior; (4) state-like (i.e., open to development as opposed to trait-like and thus relatively fixed); and (5) have a positive impact on sustainable performance  Note the variable must be amenable to development.

Developing Psychological Capital - Luthans et al. Micro Intervention.

Input for Developing Hope Variable 

Positive psychologist Rick Snyder (2000) has done  extensive theory building and research on the concept of hope and also on the development processes of hope. He identifies the primary components of hope to be agency, pathways, and goals. Luthans et al used  a three-pronged strategy embedded in a goal-oriented framework, which includes goal design, pathway generation, and overcoming obstacles in the exercise of developing hope.

Goal Design

The micro-intervention sessions (lasting from 1 to 3 hours depending on the number of participants and exercises/video clips used) begin with participants identifying personally valuable goals. Once they have recorded these goals, the facilitator explains the ideal design for such goals includes: (1) concrete end points to measure success; (2) an approach (rather than an avoidance) framework, which allows participants to positively move toward goal accomplishment as opposed to away from desired goals (e.g., work toward quality targets instead of avoiding product rejects); and (3) the importance of identifying sub-goals in order to reap the benefits of even small ‘wins’ (what Snyder calls ‘stepping’ in his hope training). There is refinement of goals after this facilitation.

Pathways for Goal Attainment

After the personal goals are determined, pathways are developed. First, using the stated personally valuable goal, participants are asked to generate multiple pathways to this goal. They are encouraged to brainstorm as many alternative pathways as possible, regardless of the practicality of implementation. Next, small groups are formed in order for participants to hear from others, and provide to others, alternative potential pathways to the group members’ various goals. The final step is to inventory pathways. This process entails considering the resources required to pursue each pathway. After careful deliberation, the unrealistic pathways are discarded and a smaller number of realistic pathways are identified.

Overcoming Obstacles

Snyder (2000) posits there will be obstacles to virtually any goal. These obstacles may result in disengagement from pursuing the goal. Hence an attempt to anticipate and plan for overcoming obstacles is an integral part of the exercise. Participants are instructed and given a few minutes to consider the potential obstacles or ‘what can stop you from accomplishing your goal?’ After time for self reflection, small groups are formed again to hear alternative perspectives on potential obstacles and strategies to overcome them. The facilitator focuses on utilizing this process to identify obstacles in advance and choose an alternate pathway to avoid pathway blockage.

At the completion of this hope dimension of the intervention session, participants have defined a personally valuable goal in such a way as to take ownership, be prepared for obstacles, and be ready to implement multiple pathways as contingency plans. Throughout this exercise,  the facilitator tries to acknowledge and encourage positive, rather than negative, self talk. The facilitator maintains focus on goal setting, pathway generation, and overcoming obstacles as a process that can and should be applied to an array of participants’ goals in the workplace. Transferability back to the job is constantly emphasized. The objective of the exercise is to increase participants’ level of hope in his Psychological Capital developmental process.

In the paper Luthans et al describe the intervention to develop confidence (self-efficacy), positive attribution (optimism) and resiliency. They found evidence that that PCI psycap intervention increases PsyCap in a significant way and they even made an estimate of return on investment of a 2.5 hour PsyCap development program.

Psychological capital development: toward a micro-intervention
Department of Management, Gallup Leadership Institute, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln,
Nebraska, U.S.A.
Journal of Organizational Behavior,  27, 387–393 (2006)

The Mediating Role of Teacher Student Relationship in Psychological Capital and Academic Performance Relation

Self-determination theory (SDT) recognizes the importance of feeling connected to others as a basic psychological need (need for relatedness) and is considered a fundamental ingredient for functioning at optimal levels (Ryan and Deci, 2000, 2017). Hence, a student who perceives an emotional connection with his/her social environment, believes that s/he is cared for and loved, and feels special to his/her key social partners has satisfied his/her need for relatedness. Along this line, previous research has demonstrated the relevant role that interpersonal relationships play in students’ success in terms of engagement, achievement, and well-being (Furrer and Skinner, 2003; Cornelius-White, 2007; Roorda et al., 2011; King, 2015; Datu, 2017). The explanation is that high-quality relationships with significant others provide students with the necessary emotional security to actively explore and effectively deal with their (academic) world (Martin and Dowson, 2009).  In academic situations,  teacher-student relationship is an important relationship that will have an effect of students psychological capital.

The conservation of resources (COR) theory recognizes the importance of accumulating resources in the biological, cognitive, and social domains as a strategy to preserve and foster the health and wellbeing of persons, the so-called resource caravan (Hobfoll, 1989, 2002, 2011; Hobfoll et al., 2018). Thus, a student who accumulates personal resources (e.g., hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism) is more likely to possess the specific skills and attitudes necessary to meet academic requirements and, therefore, achieve academic success. Supporting this theory, previous research has identified academic PsyCap as a predictor of academic performance (Luthans et al., 2012; Datu et al., 2016; Ortega-Maldonado and Salanova, 2017; Carmona-Halty et al., 2018). The explanation is that academic PsyCap facilitates the processes necessary for students’ attention, interpretation, and retention of positive and constructive memories that are conducive to wellbeing and good performance (Luthans and Youssef-Morgan, 2017).

Combining SDT and COR theories,  the mediational model that hypothesizes  that students with high-quality TSR will be in a better position to persevere in their objectives (i.e., have hope), rely on their own abilities (i.e., be efficacious), overcome obstacles (i.e., be resilient), and be optimistic about their future (i.e., feel optimism). In turn, these set of four resources would foster AP. In other words, when students need for relatedness with the teacher is satisfied, they are more likely to accumulate personal resources that  form the Psychological Capital, that can help them to achieve good academic performance. (  )

Positive Psychological Capital: Beyond Human and Social Capital
Business Horizons, Jan-Feb 2004

Front. Psychol., 26 February 2019 |
Good Relationships, Good Performance: The Mediating Role of Psychological Capital – A Three-Wave Study Among Students
Marcos Carmona-Halty, Wilmar B. Schaufeli and Marisa Salanova

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Updated on 9 May 2019, 17 July 2014