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STRENGTHS USE AT WORK: THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE USE OF EMPLOYEE’S CHARACTER STRENGTHS, PSYCHOLOGICAL CAPITAL, AND WORK ENGAGEMENT
An independent research thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), Department of Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University.
The recent rise in applications of positive psychology in the workplace has highlighted character strengths as a promising potential in promoting positive work outcomes such as performance and well-being. As workplace-specific applications of character strengths and its mechanisms remain nascent, this study aims to contribute by exploring if and how workplace use of character strengths promote a key workplace outcome – engagement. To do so, I draw on Conservation of Resources Theory and Job Demands – Resources Theory to hypothesise how using character strengths at work generates resources, specifically psychological capital, that facilitates work engagement. I further explore the reciprocal relationship between strengths use and work engagement to understand the cyclical effect of strengths use and its outcomes. Using a three-wave cross-lagged panel design with 187 working adults recruited via an online platform, the relationships between character strengths, psychological capital and work engagement are modelled and tested using structural equation modelling. The results showed that there were a positive association between strengths use and psychological capital as well as a reciprocal relationship between strengths use and work engagement. Yet, the mediating role of psychological capital in the strengths use – work engagement relation was not supported. Overall, the findings support the use of a strength-based approach in the workplace to promote positive work outcomes.