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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.

Research Articles

  • This study involved the development of a novel construct – encompassing the sub-dimensions of strengths awareness, credibility, and coordination – to measure collective strengths use in work teams and its relationship with team and individual performance. Findings from 136 work teams showed a direct positive relationship between collective strengths use and performance, but provided mixed evidence for mediation and moderation effects, highlighting the varying influence of different sub-dimensions of collective strengths on individual and team performance (Meyers, van Woerkom, & Bauwens, 2023). Meyers, M. C., van Woerkom, M., & Bauwens, R. (2023). Stronger together: A multilevel study of collective strengths use and team performance. Journal of Business Research, 159, 113728.
  • This article examines the impact of character strengths use on job performance and deviant behavior in the workplace. An analysis of data from employees and their supervisors indicates that character strengths and their application correlate positively with improved job performance (as rated by both self and supervisors) and negatively with deviant behavior, highlighting the significant role of strengths use in enhancing workplace outcomes (Mubashar & Harzer, 2023). Mubashar, T., & Harzer, C. (2023). Character strengths at work: Predictive role of signature strengths and demanded strengths for work role performance and deviant behavior. Pakistan Journal of Commerce and Social Sciences (PJCSS), 17(1), 21-38.
  • This article illustrates how strengths knowledge and use can facilitate and bolster the positive impact of meaningful work on work engagement and mental health. Collectively, the three studies outlined in the article validate the Spanish Strengths Use and Knowledge Scales and provide compelling evidence that the ability to be aware of and apply signature strengths at work can serve as effective, novel pathways for fostering well-being at work (Peláez Zuberbühler, Coo Calcagni, & Salanova, 2023). Peláez Zuberbühler, J., Coo Calcagni, C., & Salanova, M. (2023). Know and use your personal strengths! A Spanish validation of the strengths knowledge and use scales and their relationship with meaningful work and work-related well-being. Frontiers in Psychology, 14, 1086510.
  • Using a sample of 556 Chinese workers and their managers, this study investigated how strengths-based leadership influences employee work engagement and task performance, with results indicating that strengths-based leadership positively affects employee task performance through increased work engagement, particularly when the quality of Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) is high. However, the moderated-mediation effect predicted by the researchers was not supported, providing insight into future research and practical applications in strengths-based leadership (Wang et al., 2023). Wang, J., van Woerkom, M., Breevaart, K., Bakker, A. B., & Xu, S. (2023). Strengths-based leadership and employee work engagement: A multi-source study. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 142, 103859.
  • This study is the first to investigate the relationship between a perceived strengths-based human resource system and the extent to which employees thrive at work. Data gathered at three time points across various organizations in China indicate that the perceived strength-based HR system assessed relates positively to thriving at work, with general self-esteem serving as a partial mediator in this positive relationship, and emotional exhaustion negatively moderating the relationship between self-esteem and thriving at work (Ding & Liu, 2023) Ding, H., & Liu, J. (2023). Perceived strengths-based human resource system and thriving at work: The roles of general self-esteem and emotional exhaustion. The Journal of Psychology, 157(2), 71-94.
  • This study examined the associations between strengths use in the workplace, attentional performance at work, and various facets of wellbeing during work episodes, including positive affect, meaningfulness, and personal growth. Findings indicate that although episodic strengths use was positively related to higher levels of meaningfulness, personal growth, and positive affect, higher meaningfulness was in turn negatively related to subsequent attentional performance, suggesting that higher experienced meaningfulness may not be conducive to subsequent attentional performance at work (Liu, van der Linden, & Bakker, 2022). Liu, W., van der Linden, D., & Bakker, A. B. (2022). Does Strengths Use Mean Better Focus? Well-being and Attentional Performance at the Episodic Level. Journal of Happiness Studies, 23(6), 2763-2785.  * This study investigated the relationship between employee growth mindset and innovative behavior, as well as the mediating role of strengths use and the moderating role of strengths-based leadership in this relationship. Results suggest that a growth mindset among employees in diverse Chinese organizations is positively related to innovative behavior, that employee strengths use partially mediates this relationship, and that strengths-based leadership boosts both the direct relationship between employee growth mindset and innovative behavior, as well as the indirect relationship between employee growth mindset and innovative behavior via strengths (Liu & Tong, 2022). Liu, Q., & Tong, Y. (2022). Employee growth mindset and innovative behavior: the roles of employee strengths use and strengths-based leadership. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 814154.
  • This study from China showed that employees’ perceived strengths-based Human Resources system leads to increased unethical pro-organizational behavior (e.g., misrepresenting the truth to help the organization look good), and that organizational identification (e.g., happy to be a member of the organization) acts as a mediator in this relationship (Ding & Liu, 2022). This study used the term strengths in a “generic” way as opposed to looking at character strengths in particular, and points toward what Niemiec (2018) has referred to as the “misuse” of character strengths - using strengths for a negative purpose which is a d Ding, H., & Liu, J. (2022). The dark side of strengths-based approach in the workplace: Perceived strengths-based human resource system spurs unethical pro-organizational behavior. Current Psychology.
  • A unique study of hundreds of migrant domestic workers (female Filipinos in Hong Kong) found that employer support consistently predicted the six virtue categories of character strengths through strengths use (Nalipay et al., 2021).
    Nalipay, M. J. N., King, R. B., Garabiles, M. R., Capio, C. M., & Yeung, S. S. S. (2021). Migrant domestic workers' character strengths and the role of work‐related factors: A strengths‐based perspective. International Journal of Psychology. Advance online publication.
  • In the workplace context, character strengths were found to be relevant predictors of job performance, predicting performance above what would be accounted for by general mental ability, big five personality traits, or these areas combined (Harzer, Bezugloba, & Weber, 2021).
    Harzer, C., Bezuglova, N., & Weber, M. (2021). Incremental validity of character strengths as predictors of job performance beyond general mental ability and the big five. Frontiers in Psychology, 12.
  • This workplace study in Holland found that strengths use and thriving are positively connected and that strengths recognition among colleagues is a moderator for strengths use and vitality (Moore, Bakker, & Van Mierlo, 2021).
    Moore, H. L., Bakker, A. B., & Van Mierlo, H. (2021). Using strengths and thriving at work: The role of colleague strengths recognition and organizational context. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology.
  • Among working adults in the Polish population, grandiose narcissism positively predicted strengths use and deficit correction in the workplace, whereas vulnerable narcissism was unrelated to both (Sanecka, 2021).
    Sanecka, E. (2021). Grandiose and vulnerable narcissism and regulatory focus at work in relation to strengths use and deficit correction in the workplace. PLoS ONE, 16(10): e0258609.
  • In the field of leadership in the workplace, there have been a wide range of leadership models that incorporate or use the VIA Classification model as a foundation or substantive part. A recent example can be found in the management field (Crossan et al., 2017; Monzani, Seijts, & Crossan, 2021).
    1. Crossan, M. M., Byrne, A., Seijts, G. H., Reno, M., Monzani, L., & Gandz, J. (2017). Toward a framework of leader character in organizations. Journal of Management Studies, 54, 986–1018.
    2. Monzani, L., Seijts, G. H., & Crossan, M. M. (2021) Character matters: The network structure of leader character and its relation to follower positive outcomes. PLoS ONE 16(9), e0255940.
  • A character strengths-based coaching intervention involving workshops and individual sessions, aligned with the Aware-Explore-Apply model of character strengths (Niemiec, 2014; 2018), revealed a wide range of positive workplace outcomes (Peláez, Coo, & Salanova, 2020).
    Peláez, M.J., Coo, C., & Salanova, M. (2020). Facilitating work engagement and performance through strengths-based micro-coaching: A controlled trial study. Journal of Happiness Studies, 21, 1265–1284. DOI:
  • Randomized study comparing a strengths training group with a control group and found that the strengths training increased work engagement, personal resources, and strengths use; the positive impact on work engagement occurred through changes in self-efficacy and resilience (Bakker & van Wingerden, 2020). Bakker, A. B., & van Wingerden, J. (2020). Do personal resources and strengths use increase work engagement? The effects of a training intervention. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. Advance online publication. DOI:
  • Discussed the theoretical underpinnings of signature strengths and their connection with numerous workplace outcomes, including character strengths research, person-environment fit theory, job demands-resources theory, and other empirical research (Harzer, 2020).
    Harzer, C. (2020). Fostering character strengths to promote thriving and flourishing in organizations. Organisations, Supervision, Coaching, 27, 37-50.
  • Found that job crafting toward strengths was connected with vigor, dedication, and absorption (all aspects of work engagement), job crafting toward interests was connected only with dedication and absorption, while job crafting toward development was not connected with any aspect of engagement (Kuijpers, Kooij, & van Woerkom, 2020).
    Kuijpers, E., Kooij, D. T. A. M., & van Woerkom, M. (2020). Align your job with yourself: The relationship between a job crafting intervention and work engagement, and the role of workload. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 25(1). DOI:
  • In a study of 42 teams, relationships were found between specific team roles and character strengths to align with performance and work satisfaction. Those teams with more team roles represented on their teams had higher performance and teamwork quality and those teams averaging higher levels of teamwork and fairness (or more members scoring high on prudence and fairness) had higher teamwork quality. No negative effects of having too many team members with one particular character strength were found (Gander, Gaitzsch, & Ruch, 2020).
    Gander, F., Gaitzsch, I., & Ruch, W. (2020). The relationships of team role-and character strengths-balance with individual and team-level satisfaction and performance. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI:
  • Examined the person-environment fit with character strengths and found higher levels of congruence between the character strengths of an individual and those in their occupational group and these correlated with higher current and future job satisfaction and life satisfaction (Gander, Hofmann, & Ruch, 2020).
    Gander, F., Hofmann, J, & Ruch, W. (2020). Character strengths: Person-environment fit and relationships with job and life satisfaction. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI:
  • Reviews the outcomes of strengths use in organizations and offers an intervention model for facilitating strengths in the workplace, including steps of education, identification of strengths using a psychometric instrument, linking strengths with the individual’s identity (strength exploration), taking action toward goals, and evaluation of progress made (Miglianico et al., 2020).
    Miglianico, M., Dubreuil, P., Miquelon, P., Bakker, A. B., & Martin-Krumm, C. (2020). Strength use in the workplace: A literature review. Journal of Happiness Studies, 21, 737-764.
  • Explores the importance, rationale, and potential implementation of character strengths in the workplace to promote prosocial behavior. Applies character strengths to the complex qualities/criteria related to prosocial behavior (Freidlin & Littman-Ovadia, 2020).
    Freidlin, P., & Littman-Ovadia, H. (2020). Prosocial behavior at work through the lens of character strengths. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, Article 3046.
  • A study of government-operated human services centers that found as the character strengths of courage and humanity increased, levels of ethical engagement increased (Or, 2020).
    Or, J. (2020). The relationships between character strengths and ethical engagement in public sector human services professionals. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global: Grand Canyon University. Available here
  • Cross-cultural study of employee perceptions of organizational support for strengths use in Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Romania, and South Africa. Organizational support for strengths use and its significant relationships with higher levels of work engagement and life satisfaction and lower levels of burnout did not differ across the 5 countries (Meyers et al., 2019).
    Meyers, M. C., Adams, B. G., Sekaja, L., Buzea, C., Cazan, A. M., Gotea, M., Stefenel, D., & van Woerkom, M. (2019). Perceived organizational support for the use of employees’ strengths and employee well‑being: A cross‑country comparison. Journal of Happiness Studies, 20, 1825-1841. DOI:
  • This study investigated the role of employee age in the workplace and found that perceived organizational support for strengths use was connected with taking up new and challenging tasks (i.e., contextual performance) and work engagement. This was moderated by age, which was significant across ages but strongest for younger employees (Meyers et al., 2019).
    Meyers, M. C., Kooij, D., Kroon, B., de Reuver, R., & van Woerkom, M. (2019). Organizational support for strengths use, work engagement, and contextual performance: The moderating role of age. Applied Research in Quality of Life.
  • Reviews the research on character strength and workplace outcomes, such as certain character strengths connected with job performance that emerge across samples and methods of performance assessment (self and supervisory ratings) – perseverance, teamwork, prudence, self-regulation, and honesty. Explores questions, needs, and concerns for character strengths and personnel selection, such as the need for longitudinal studies in the workplace (Harzer & Bezuglova, 2019).
    Harzer, C., & Bezuglova, N. (2019). Character strengths in personnel selection: Can they be used as predictors of job performance? Positiv-Psychologische Forschung im deutschsprachigen Raum – State of the Art [Positive psychological research in German speaking countries – State of the Art] (Chapter 10). Lengerich, Germany: Pabst.
  • This chapter explores the importance of the 24 character strengths and signature strengths in supporting leaders in online/virtual leadership. With the societal shift toward leadership in cyberspace, character strength development becomes critical for leaders to be impactful (Arenas, 2019).
    Arenas, F. J. (2019). Character strength development of leaders in cyberspace. In A. G. Stricker, C. Calongne, B. Truman, & F. J. Arenas (Eds.), Advances in educational technologies and instructional design (AETID). Recent advances in applying identity and society awareness to virtual learning (pp. 75–96). Information Science Reference/IGI Global.
  • This study examines various occupational subgroups (nurses, physicians, supervisors, office workers, clinical psychologists, social workers/educators, economists, and secondary school teachers) and their highest strengths. It also showed several strengths that were most associated with overall job satisfaction – zest, hope, curiosity, love, and gratitude (Heintz & Ruch, 2019).
    Heintz, S., & Ruch, W. (2019). Character strengths and job satisfaction: Differential relationships across occupational groups and adulthood. Applied Research in Quality of Life.
  • Using daily questionnaires for 30 days with Norwegian naval cadets it was found that daily strengths use was positively related to daily positive affect and work engagement. They emphasize two additional practical points – within this context involving these cadets, strengths use worked best for those high in extraversion and low in neuroticism, and that organizations/managers should support employee strengths use because it makes the employee more energized and dedicated at work (Bakker et al., 2019).
    Bakker, A. B., Hetland, J., Olsen, O. K., & Espevik, R. (2019). Daily strengths use and employee well‐being: The moderating role of personality. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 92(1), 144-168.
  • The identification, development, and use of strengths among employees had a direct effect on self-efficacy and an indirect effect on personal growth initiative, with greater impact on those with low to medium self-efficacy (van Woerkom & Meyers, 2019).
    van Woerkom, M., & Meyers, M. C. (2019). Strengthening personal growth: The effects of a strengths intervention on personal growth initiative. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 92(1), 98-121.
  • Examines the role of perceived organizational support for strengths use in which age was found to be a moderator for work performance. This indicates the importance of younger professionals feeling their strengths are supported at work (Meyers et al. 2019). Meyers, M. C., Kooij, D., Kroon, B., de Reuver, R., & van Woerkom, M. (2019). Organizational support for strengths use, work engagement, and contextual performance: The moderating role of age. Applied Research in Quality of Life.
  • In a study of the character strengths in counselors, counselors scored at significantly higher levels on 13 of the 24 strengths, such as love of learning, perspective, and social intelligence. Prudence, hope, love, perspective, and zest predicted meaningful work while prudence, hope, forgiveness, honesty, and self-regulation predicted burnout (Allan, Owens, & Douglass, 2019).
    Allan, B. A., Owens, R. L., & Douglass, R. P. (2019). Character strengths in counselors: Relations with meaningful work and burnout. Journal of Career Assessment, 27(1), 151-166.
  • A study of 266 employees (teachers) that found that both strengths use and deficit improvement were important predictors for job satisfaction, work engagement, learning, and turnover intention (Els, Mostert, & van Woerkom, 2018). Els, C., Mostert, K., & van Woerkom, M. (2018). Investigating the impact of a combined aproach of perceived organisational support for strengths use and deficit correction on employee outcomes. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(1).
  • Reviews connections between the 24 character strengths and a range of work-related outcomes and found that the highest strengths differed based on the facet of job satisfaction, the age of the participants, and the particular occupation. The highest overall work satisfaction strengths as well as the highest strengths among clinical psychologists, social workers, nurses, physicians, supervisors, office workers, teachers, and economists are shown (Heintz & Ruch, 2018).
    Heintz, S., & Ruch, W. (2018). Character strengths and job satisfaction: Differential relationships across occupational groups and adulthood.
  • In studying a new model of 7 team roles, most roles contributed to job satisfaction and work calling, and only a few relationships were found for ideal roles (Gander et al., 2018).
    Gander, F., Ruch, W., Platt, T., Hofmann, J., & Elmer, T. (2018). Current and ideal team roles: Relationships to job satisfaction and calling. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 4(3), 277-289.
  • Examines the impactful role of character strengths in the workplace as well as offers a critique of character strengths and an emphasis on the crucial role of humility in leadership, following recent research literatures (Bretherton & Niemiec, 2018).
    Bretherton, R., & Niemiec, R. M. (2018). Character strengths as critique: The power of positive psychology to humanise the workplace. In N. J. L. Brown, T. Lomas, & F. J. Eiroa-Orosa (Eds.), Routledge international handbooks. The Routledge international handbook of critical positive psychology (pp. 315-336). New York, NY, US: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
  • In a study of ethical leadership among U.S. Air Force officers and subordinates, leader character strengths were a mechanism for triggering positive outcomes when they reported high self-regulation. This strength put other strengths of ethical leadership into action such as honesty/humility, empathy, and courage (Sosik et al., 2018).
    Sosik, J. J., Chun, J. U., Ete, Z., Arenas, F. J., & Scherer, J. A. (2018). Self-control puts character into action: Examining how leader character strengths and ethical leadership relate to leader outcomes. Journal of Business Ethics. Advance online publication.
  • A positive association was found between the character strengths of wisdom and creative work performance among over 700 employees from 200 organizations in Pakistan (Kalyar & Kalyar, 2018). 
    Kalyar, M. N., & Kalyar, H. (2018). Provocateurs of creative performance: Examining the roles of wisdom character strengths and stress. Personnel Review, 47(2), 334-352.
  • Character strengths and character strengths-related person-job fit played a central role in work-related outcomes. Signature strengths fit and the character strengths of creativity and teamwork were the strongest predictors (Harzer et al., 2017).
    Harzer C., Mubashar T., & Dubreuil P. (2017). Character strengths and strength-related person-job fit as predictors of work-related wellbeing, job performance, and workplace deviance. Wirtschaftspsychologie, 19(3), 23-38.
  • Workplace study found that the most important predictors of work-related outcomes were signature strengths fit (signature strengths that are applied at work) and the strengths of teamwork and creativity. Those character strengths that most highly correlated with total workplace well-being (positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, and achievement) were zest, teamwork, hope, love, gratitude, leadership, and perseverance (Harzer, Mubashar, & Dubreuil).
    Harzer C., Mubashar T., & Dubreuil P. (2017). Character strengths and strength-related person-job fit as predictors of work-related wellbeing, job performance, and workplace deviance. Wirtschaftspsychologie, 19(3), 23-38.  
  • Experimental field study of job crafting finding that an intervention on job crafting led to strengths crafting for older but not younger workers, and strengths crafting was positively connected with a fit between demands and supplies (i.e., person-job fit). The job crafting intervention did not influence job crafting toward employee interests (Kooij et al., 2017).
    Kooij, D. T. A. M., van Woerkom, M., Wilkenloh, J., Dorenbosch, L., & Denissen, J. J. A. (2017). Job crafting towards strengths and interests: The effects of a job crafting intervention on person–job fit and the role of age. Journal of Applied Psychology.
  • Examines the impact of strengths for employee functioning and discusses antecedents for strengths use, such as organizational support, personal initiative, autonomy, and development opportunities (Bakker & van Woerkom, 2017).
    Bakker, A. B., & van Woerkom, M. (2017). Strengths use in organizations: A positive approach of occupational health. _Canadian Psychology._Np.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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,
  • 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.
  • Character strengths use at work is connected with not only job satisfaction but also productivity and organizational citizenship behavior. These connections are explained by high positive emotions and engagement (Lavy & Littman-Ovadia, 2016).
    Lavy, S., & Littman-Ovadia, H. (2016). My better self: Using strengths at work and work productivity, organizational citizenship behavior and satisfaction.  Journal of Career Development, 1-15.
  • In a workplace study involving 686 participants, the character strength of perseverance was the strength most associated with work productivity and least associated with counter-productive work behaviors. This was best explained by the workers’ sense of meaning at work and perceptions of work-as-a-career and as-a-calling (Littman-Ovadia & Lavy, 2016).
    Littman-Ovadia, H., & Lavy, S. (2016). Going the extra mile: Perseverance as a key character strength at work. Journal of Career Assessment, 24(2), 240–252.
  • The identification of strengths and considering strengths in the context of reflecting on one’s best self was found to be beneficial for situations involving employee relationships and teaming (Cable et al., 2015; Lee et al., 2016).
    1. Lee, J.J., Gino, F., Cable, D.M., & Staats, B. (2016). Preparing the self for team entry: how relational affirmation improves team performance. Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper, 16-111.
    2. Cable, D., Lee, J. J., Gino, F., & Staats, B. R. (2015). How best-self activation influences emotions, physiology and employment relationships. Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper, 16-029.
  • In 2 workplace samples (a mixed group of several occupations and a nurses group), character strengths were connected with improved coping with work stress and decrease the negative effects of stress (Harzer & Ruch, 2015).
    Harzer, C., & Ruch, W. (2015). The relationships of character strengths with coping, work-related stress, and job satisfaction. Frontiers in Psychology.
  • In a study of nearly 10,000 New Zealand workers that examined indicators of flourishing, workers who reported a high awareness of their strengths had a 9.5 times more likely to be flourishing than those with low strengths awareness. Moreover, workers who reported high strengths use were 18 times more likely to be flourishing than those with low strengths use (Hone et al., 2015).
    Hone, L. C., Jarden, A., Duncan, S., & Schofield, G. M. (2015). Flourishing in New Zealand workers: Associations with lifestyle behaviors, physical health, psychosocial, and work-related indicators. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 57(9), 973-983.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In a study of 442 employees across 39 departments in 8 organizations, a strengths-based psychological climate was linked with positive affect and work performance (van Woerkom & Meyers, 2014).
    van Woerkom, M., & Meyers, M. C. (2014). My strengths count! Effects of a strengths-based psychological climate on positive affect and job performance. Human Resource Management.
  • Character strengths were related to job performance across two samples of employees (Harzer & Ruch, 2014).
    Harzer, C., & Ruch, W. (2014). The role of character strengths for task performance, job dedication, interpersonal facilitation, and organizational support. Human Performance. 27(3), 183-205.
  • This research team examined a variety of activities relating to authentic self-expression among employees for themselves, their colleague relationships, and teamwork. Positive results such as less turnover and burnout, higher work engagement, satisfaction, and performance, and greater feelings of social worth were found (Cable, Gino, & Staats, 2013; Cable et al., 2015; Lee et al., 2016). 
    Cable, D. M., Gino, F., & Staats, B. R. (2013). Breaking them in or eliciting their best? Reframing socialization around newcomers’ authentic self-expression. Administrative Science Quarterly, 58(1), 1-36.
  • The use of strengths at work was connected with work performance, and this relationship is explained by vitality, concentration, and harmonious passion (Dubreuil, Forest, & Courcy, 2013).
    Dubreuil, P., Forest, J., & Courcy, F. (2013). From strengths use to work performance: The role of harmonious passion, subjective vitality and concentration. Journal of Positive Psychology. DOI:
  • Employees who used four or more of their signature strengths had more positive work experiences and were more likely to consider their work-as-a-calling than those who expressed less than four (Harzer & Ruch, 2012a).
    Harzer, C., & Ruch, W. (2012a). When the job is a calling: The role of applying one's signature strengths at work. Journal of Positive Psychology.
  • Regardless of which character strengths are used, the congruent use of strengths in the situational circumstances at work is important for fostering job satisfaction, pleasure, engagement, and meaning in one’s job (i.e., the alignment of one’s signature strengths with work activities is what matters; Harzer & Ruch, 2012b).
    Harzer, C., & Ruch, W. (2012b). The application of signature character strengths and positive experiences at work. Journal of Happiness Studies.
  • In a qualitative case study of a management development program, a key finding was to help managers develop new “tools” and behaviors and core to these tools was signature strengths use (Berg & Karlsen, 2012).
    Berg, M. E., & Karlsen, J. T. (2012). An evaluation of management training and coaching. Journal of Workplace Learning, 24 (3), 177-199.

Updated December 2023