Psychological Ownership and the Organizational Context

Psychological Ownership and the Organizational Context

Theory, Research Evidence, and Application

New Horizons in Management series

Jon L. Pierce and Iiro Jussila

Psychological ownership as a phenomenon and construct attracts an increasing number of scholars in a variety of fields. This volume presents a comprehensive and up-to-date review of the psychological ownership literature with particular attention paid to the theory, research evidence, and comments on managerial applications.

Chapter 10: Psychological Ownership and its Measurement: Construct Validation Evidence

Jon L. Pierce and Iiro Jussila

Subjects: business and management, organisational behaviour


* In this chapter we intend to discuss the development of the Van Dyne and Pierce (2004) instrument for the measurement of psychological ownership. In addition, we summarize the evidence in support of its construct validity. Finally, we identify and briefly summarize existing alternative approaches to the measurement of what is variously called psychological ownership (for example, ownership attitudes, ownership behavior, ownership sentiments), as introduced by other scholars who are working in the realm of the psychological sense of ownership. THE VAN DYNE AND PIERCE (2004) SCALE In a 2004 publication, Van Dyne and Pierce introduced their instrument for the measurement of psychological ownership, accompanied by the results of their efforts to provide evidence in support of its construct validity. Building on the conceptualization of psychological ownership presented in Pierce, Kostova, and Dirks (2001, 2003), Van Dyne and Pierce (2004) emphasized possession as the basis for their attitudinal measure of psychological ownership. Thus, for their scale items they chose to employ the ‘possessive vocabulary’ (cf. Furby, 1978b, 1991; Litwinski, 1942, 19471) – ‘They are our children,’ ‘This is my computer,’ ‘That idea was mine!’ – that is commonly present in everyday associations with property and other possessions. In addition, their items were written with the flexibility that virtually any target of ownership (for example, invention, work area, team members, job, organization, tools) could be inserted into the instrument. Initially, early participants in our psychological ownership research (that is, Larry Cummings, Kurt Dirks, Tatinia Kostova, Jon Pierce, Linn Van Dyne, Donald...

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