Linking Employee and Organizational Health
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Astrid M. Richardsen
Chapter 4: Enhancing the psychological capital of teams: adapting an individual-level intervention for multi-level delivery and evaluation
Positive psychology interventions focused on the conditions and processes that contribute to the flourishing or optimal functioning of people, groups and institutions (Gable and Haidt, 2005) are increasingly used in organizations as a complement to those controlling risks to psychological health (LaMontagne et al., 2014). Team/group- and organizational-level positive approaches are being developed, and may prove to yield greater benefits than individual-level approaches or to enhance their effects (ibid.). However, given growing emphasis on multi-level conceptualization and measurement of the construct of employee well-being we note that assessing the impact of team interventions at the individual level is problematic (Martin et al., 2014). This chapter outlines an example of a positive organizational behaviour intervention that has been reconceptualized for delivery and evaluation within a multi-level framework. First we describe the concept of psychological capital (a superordinate construct representing the psychological resources of hope, resilience, self-efficacy and optimism that positively impact work performance) and review the evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to develop these resources in employees. Next, we argue that teams could benefit from the development of psychological capital as a ‘shared psychological resource’, and develop a multi-level model showing how individual- and team-level psychological capital interact and how this could be harnessed in a team-level intervention. Finally, we discuss measurement and research design issues related to evaluating this form of intervention and provide recommendations to researchers and practitioners interested in implementing the model we have presented.
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