I have had plenty of “dead end” jobs in the past. Jobs where my commitment was low and I didn’t have any true motivation to be there.

Have you had a similar experience?

This apathy and lack of productivity comes from having little fulfillment, feeling no control, and feeling unimportant, which can often be related to the environment one works in.

There is nothing worse for productivity, personal fulfillment, and job satisfaction than working in an environment of negativity, cynicism, and apathy.

The field of positive psychology recognizes this, and has been examining how working in a positive organizational culture can potentially enhance productivity and human capital.

Studies on Positive Organizational Behavior (POB) have yielded results that fostering traits such as confidence, optimism, hope, and resilience offer very impressive behavioral outcomes.

Four specific traits which have been examined are:

Self-efficacy – People’s confidence in their ability to achieve a specific goal in a specific situation.

Hope – A successful feeling and interaction of agency (or goal-directed motivation) and pathways (or planning to achieve those goals).

Optimism – A tendency to take a favorable view, specifically having fixed and global attributions for positive events and not fixed and specific attributions to negative events.

Resiliency – In organizational aspects, it is defined as an ability to recuperate from stress, conflict, failure, change or increase in responsibility.

These traits translate into what has been called, Positive Psychological Capital (PsyCap). Employees with high PsyCap tend to be more motivated and energetic, are able to handle change and stress within an organization, and are sick less often leading to greater productivity.

It is becoming clearer that employees are the biggest assets of an organization and must be taken care of. All of these traits are areas that can be developed in employees and instilled in corporate cultures.

What can an organization do?

Hire the right people

Hire employees that are intrinsically motivated to be there. A starting place for developing any great culture is to hire the right people to work together.

This is much more than qualifications. Find people who are passionate about the work, have compatible personalities, and believe in the mission and values of the organization.

Encourage employee growth

Provide training session to build hope and self-efficacy in employees.

Enhance employee engagement by coaching employees to set challenging, measurable, and personally valuable goals. Develop subgoals with realistic pathways, and approach strategies to accomplish goals and overcome obstacles.

Similarly, provide opportunities for employees to utilize their strengths.

Encourage bottom-up leadership and development

Examine teamwork and corporate culture through the concept of reciprocal determinism. This is the idea that employees mutually influence each other through performance and behavior.

In this sense employees can feel empowered to become role-models to develop PsyCap in other employees.

Developing a culture of positivity aids in relationship building and broadens the spectrum for problem solving and creativity amongst co-workers.


Employees are continually seeking work that is intrinsically motivating and offers growth and satisfaction. If they feel supported, successful, and enjoy their job, they will be more committed to the organization and become a continually greater asset.

If you want greater productivity, focus on building Psychological Capital in employees.