The study of character strengths at work has rapidly increased in the last several years. Consultants, executives, human resource professionals, and managers are now regularly weaving character strengths exercises to help their employees become more engaged, productive, and happy. The use of character strengths to improve the skills of leaders, teams, and entire organizations is emerging as a popular and successful avenue as well.
- A new model of role behavior in teams is presented and validated. Seven team roles, originally theorized by the VIA Institute on Character, were found to relate positively to job satisfaction. The roles include: idea creator, information gatherer, decision-maker, implementer, influencer, energizer, and relationship manager (Ruch et al., 2016).
Ruch, W., Gander, F., Platt, T., & Hofmann, J. (2016). Team roles: Their relationships to character strengths and job satisfaction. Journal of Positive Psychology. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2016.1257051
In a study of 1,031 working adults, signature strengths had the highest unique contribution to performance, organizational citizenship behavior, and lower counterproductive work behavior, while “happiness strengths” (zest, hope, etc.) had the highest unique contribution to work meaningfulness, engagement, and job satisfaction (Littman-Ovadia, Lavy, & Boiman-Meshita, 2016a).
Littman-Ovadia, H., Lavy, S., & Boiman-Meshita, M. (2016a). When theory and research collide: Examining correlates of signature strengths use at work. Journal of Happiness Studies. Advance online publication.
In a workplace study of 120 participants, it was supervisor support, not colleague support, of employee strengths use that was predictive of increased strengths use the next day (Lavy, Littman-Ovadia, & Boiman-Meshita, 2016b).
Lavy, S., Littman-Ovadia, H., & Boiman-Meshita, M. (2016b). The wind beneath my wings: The role of social support in enhancing the use of strengths at work. Journal of Career Assessment.
A workplace intervention study found a 3-step approach to strengths work to increase participants’ strengths use and well-being while those reporting highest strengths use had significant increases in work performance and harmonious passion; no significant differences were found for concentration or vitality (Dubreuil et al., 2016). This study provides further validation for the popular Aware-Explore-Apply model of strengths use proposed by Niemiec (2013; 2014; 2018).
Dubreuil, P., Forest, J., Gillet, N., Fernet, C., Thibault-Landry, A., Crevier-Braud, L., & Girouard, S. (2016). Facilitating well-being and performance through the development of strengths at work: Results from an intervention program. Journal of Applied Positive Psychology. DOI 10.1007/s41042-016-0001-8
A controlled trial of a strengths intervention in the workplace that found that the strengths intervention (compared to a waitlist control group) showed short-term increases in positive affect and short- and long-term increases in psychological capital but not life satisfaction, engagement, or burnout (Meyers & van Woerkom, 2016).
Meyers, M. C., & van Woerkom, M. (2016). Effects of a strengths intervention on general and work-related well-being: The mediating role of positive affect. Journal of Happiness Studies. DOI 10.1007/s10902-016-9745-x
Perceived organizational support for strengths use and for strengths use behavior was positively related to self- and manager-ratings of job performance, while perceived organizational support for deficit correction and for deficit correction behavior were unrelated to performance ratings (van Woerkom et al., 2016).
van Woerkom, M., Mostert, K., Els, C., Bakker, A. B., de Beer, L., & Rothmann, S. (2016). Strengths use and deficit correction in organizations: Development and validation of a questionnaire. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/1359432X.2016.1193010
In a study of 832 employees across 96 departments, strengths use support reduced absenteeism among workers with a high workload and high emotional demands (van Woerkom, Bakker, & Nishii, 2016).
van Woerkom, M., Bakker, A. B., & Nishii, L. H. (2016). Accumulative job demands and support for strength use: Fine-tuning the job demands-resources model using conservation of resources theory. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(1), 141–150.
Study found that organizational support for strengths use was positively related to weekly strengths use at work, which in turn was positively related to weekly work engagement and proactive behavior (mediated by self-efficacy) (van Woerkom, Oerlemans, & Bakker, 2015).
van Woerkom, M., Oerlemans, W., & Bakker, A. B. (2015): Strengths use and work engagement: a weekly diary study, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. DOI: 10.1080/1359432X.2015.1089862
Discusses the integration of virtues, character strengths, and competencies in an approach to management (Morales‐Sánchez & Cabello‐Medina, 2015).
Morales‐Sánchez, R., & Cabello‐Medina, C. (2015). Integrating character in management: Virtues, character strengths, and competencies. Business Ethics: A European Review, 24 (2), S156-S174. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/beer.12104
Study of performance monitoring in call centers over a 6-month period finding that performance was related to wisdom character strengths, temperance character strengths, exercise, and having opportunities to develop, while performance was negatively related to character strengths of humanity and justice (Moradi et al., 2014).
Moradi, S., Nima, A. A., Ricciardi, M. R., Archer, T., & Garcia, D. (2014). Exercise, character strengths, well-being, and learning climate in the prediction of performance over a 6-month period at a call center. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, Article 497.