The good character at work: an initial study on the contribution of character strengths in identifying healthy and unhealthy work-related behavior and experience patterns

Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Positive psychological functioning has been related to various positive work-related outcome variables, such as job satisfaction or work engagement. The aim of the present study was to examine the relations between morally positively valued traits (i.e., strengths of character) and work-related behaviors.

Method

A sample of 887 adult women completed the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) and the Work-related Behavior and Experience Patterns Questionnaire (AVEM) in an online survey.

Results

Those assigned to healthy work-related behavior and experience patterns differed in their strengths profiles from those that demonstrated unhealthy patterns (i.e., burnout type) in a predictable way. Especially the strengths of zest, persistence, hope, and curiosity seemed to play a key role in healthy and ambitious work behavior.

Conclusions

The study underlines the relevance of character strengths in work settings and suggests that interventions based on character strengths could substantiate interventions already existing at the workplace in order to enhance positive work outcomes further (e.g., work satisfaction, engagement).

Keywords

Burnout Character strengths Positive psychology Work-related behavior and experience 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Katharina Klohe for proofreading the manuscript. Data collection was supported by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (No. 132512) and the Suzanne and Hans Biäsch Foundation for Applied Psychology.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section on Personality and Assessment, Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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