Magazine 2017
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
Shantanu A. Tamore*,  
Vishwa S. Talsania* and  
Vinay V. Prabhu**  
Positive psychological capital is defined as the positive and developmental state of an individual as  
characterized by high self-efficacy, optimism, hope and resiliency. The present study studied the impact  
of factors like gender, age and work tenure on psychological capital. It was found that there were no  
significant gender differences in psychological capital nor was there any significant correlation between  
psychological capital and age and work experience. These findings are important in the context of  
employee selection and placement in organizations.  
Keywords: Psychological capital, gender, age, work experience  
For decades psychology has been associated as dealing mainly with the treatment of mental illness. At the  
very end of the twentieth century a new approach in psychology gained popularity: positive psychology.  
Positive psychology, the study of optimal human functioning, is an attempt to respond to the systematic bias  
inherent in psychology’s historical emphasis on mental illness rather than on mental wellness. Seligman (2002)  
focused on two, forgotten but classical psychological goals: (1) Help ordinary people to live a more productive  
and meaningful life and (2) a full realization of the potential that exists in the human being. Two new branches  
of positive psychology have emerged in the industrial-organizational world: 1) Positive organizational scholarship  
POS) and 2) Positive organizational behavior (POB).  
The origins of Positive organizational scholarship is credited to Kim Cameron and colleagues. It is a research  
field that emphasizes the positive characteristics of the organization that facilitates its ability to function during  
periods of crisis.  
The origins of Positive organizational behavior is credited to Fred Luthans. It focuses on measurable positive  
psychological states that are open to development and have impact on desired employee attitudes, behaviors,  
and performance. Luthans recommended that POB researchers study psychological states that could be validly  
measured, and that are malleable in terms of interventions in organizations to improve work performance.  
Psychological capital (PsyCap) is a positive mental state in an individual’s growth and development to encourage  
people to have a positive organizational behavior.  
Four positive psychological capacities have been identified as best meeting the above PsyCap inclusion  
criteria of being positive, unique, theory and research-based, measurable, developmental and manageable for  
performance impact in the workplace. These capacities are: self-efficacy/ confidence, hope, optimism and  
resiliency (Luthans, 2002; Luthans et al., 2007).  
Self-efficacy. Self-efficacy, or simply confidence, is largely based on Bandura’s (1986, 1997) social cognitive  
theory, and when applied to the workplace can be defined as ‘an individual’s conviction (or confidence) about  
his or her abilities to mobilize the motivation, cognitive resources, and courses of action necessary to successfully  
execute a specific task within a given context’ (Stajkovic and Luthans, 1998b). Self-efficacy has been found to  
be strongly correlated with work-related performance (Stajkovic and Luthans, 1998a).  
Hope. Snyder (2002) described hope as a multidimensional construct that consists of an individual’s ‘willpower’  
and ‘waypower’. Willpower is an individual’s agency or determination to achieve goals and ‘waypower’ is one’s  
ability to devise alternative pathways and contingency plans in order to achieve a goal in the face of obstacles  
Snyder, Irving & Anderson, 1991). Hope enables individuals to be motivated to attain success with the task at  
hand by looking for the best pathway (Avey et al., 2008). The components of hope thus complement each  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
other (Weick & Quinn, 1999). Hope has made a significant contribution to positive PsyCap and has demonstrated  
importance in the workplace (Duggleby, Cooper & Penz, 2009; Luthans & Jensen, 2002).  
Optimism. Optimism is more closely associated with positive psychology than the other constructs (Luthans  
et al., 2004). It is regarded as being a realistic, flexible and dynamic construct that can be learned and developed  
Peterson, 2000). Optimism is defined by persistence and pervasiveness – two key dimensions of how people  
explain events (Carver & Scheier, 2002). People with an optimistic outlook see setbacks as challenges and  
opportunities that can eventually lead to success (Luthans et al., 2005). These individuals persevere in the face  
of obstacles (Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998). In the work context, an optimistic employee is better able to assess  
external, temporary and situational circumstances (Youssef & Luthans, 2007).  
Resilience. Rutter (1987) defined resilience as people’s ability to manipulate their environment successfully in  
order to protect them from the negative consequences of adverse events. Luthans (2002) extended this definition  
to include people’s ability to ‘bounce back’ from adversity. In this regard, resilient people move on in life after  
having had a stressful tenure or event such as personal adversity, conflict and/or failure. Therefore, resilience  
highlights the strength of the individual and his or her coping resources to successfully resolve and/or manage  
testing situations (Baumgardner & Crothers, 2010).  
Combining the four psychological capacities together, Luthans et al. (2007) defined Psychological capital as:  
an individual’s positive psychological state of development that is characterized by: (1) having confidence  
self-efficacy) to take on and put in the necessary effort to succeed at challenging tasks; (2) making a positive  
attribution (optimism) about succeeding now and in the future; (3) persevering toward goals and, when necessary,  
redirecting paths to goals (hope) in order to succeed; and (4) when beset by problems and adversity, sustaining  
and bouncing back and even beyond (resiliency) to attain success.  
Literature Review  
PsyCap, has been the subject of considerable theory and research over the past several years. PsyCap researchers  
Luthans, Youssef, & Avolio, 2007a) have developed and validated (Luthans, Avolio, Avey, & Norman, 2007)  
measures of PsyCap. Taken to the workplace, preliminary empirical evidence supports the PsyCap latent core  
construct and its relationship to performance (Luthans, Avey, Avolio, & Peterson, 2007) in multiple cultural  
contexts (Luthans, Avolio, Walumbwa, & Li, 2005).  
PsyCap is impactful on work-related performance. Research to date supports that PsyCap is significantly  
related to performance in the workplace, both the individual components (efficacy/confidence, hope, optimism  
and resiliency) and in combination as overall PsyCap (e.g. Luthans et al., 2005, 2006b; Youssef, 2004). This  
relationship has been shown through utility analysis to make a dramatic contribution to the organization  
(Luthans et al., 2006, 2007). Thus, PsyCap becomes a meaningful and justifiable investment and means toward  
veritable organizational performance and possibly sustained competitive advantage.  
PsyCap and positive emotions may play a key role in combating dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors that  
may deter organizational change (Avey, Wernsing, & Luthans, 2008). PsyCap helps to discourage deviant  
behaviors in the workplace and will in fact be a catalyst for positive organizational change (Avey, Wernsing, et  
al., 2008). Avey et al. (2011). In their meta-analysis they found that PsyCap is negatively related to undesirable  
workplace attitudes such as cynicism, turnover intentions, deviance, stress and anxiety. Beal, Stavros and Cole  
2013) found resistance to change had a negative correlation with PsyCap. They found a positive relationship  
between PsyCap and organizational citizenship behavior in the context of organizational change.  
The objective of the present study was to investigate the impact of age, gender and work tenure on psychological  
The specific objectives of the study were:  
(1) To study gender differences in psychological capital.  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
(2) To study the relationship between age and psychological capital.  
(3) To study the impact of work tenure (the number of years of work experience of the employee) on  
psychological capital.  
Sample Selection  
The sample for the study consisted of 56 employees in one of India’s large public sector banks. 78 questionnaires  
were distributed among the employees. 66 employees returned the duly filled questionnaires. The responses  
of 10 participants were rejected as the respondents had either not filled up the questionnaires fully or had not  
filled them correctly. The findings and conclusions in this study are based on the responses of 28 male and 28  
female employees. The average age of the participants in the study was a little over 45 years.  
Measuring Tools  
PsyCap was measured with the PCQ-24 questionnaire developed by Luthans et al. The reliability and validity  
of the PCQ-24 questionnaire have been demonstrated in previous research. The PCQ-24 questionnaire consists  
of four dimensions: self-efficacy, hope, resilience and optimism. The total scale consists of 24 items, and each  
of the four dimensions is measured by six items. Each of the items was scored on a Likert scale in which 1  
indicated strongly disagree and 5 indicated strongly agree. All questions asked the participants how they felt  
right now.” Higher values indicate higher levels of PsyCap.  
Based on past research findings, the following three hypotheses were proposed and tested:  
H1: There is no significant difference in the psychological capital of males and females.  
H2: There is no significant correlation between employees’ age and psychological capital.  
H3: There is no significant correlation between employees’ work tenure and psychological capital.  
The data collected from the study was tabulated and analyzed using popular statistical tools and techniques.  
Table 1, represents the findings of the hypothesis test between the two levels of I.V. The mean psychological  
capital scores of the females were higher than that of the males however this difference was not statistically  
significant. Thus, the results are consistent with the null hypothesis (H1). There was a significant difference  
between males and females on only one of the four components of psychological capital: Hope. The mean  
scores of females were reliably higher than that of the females. No such reliable difference was found between  
males and females on the other three components of psychological capital: self-efficacy, resilience and optimism.  
TABLE 1: Independent samples test for differences in gender Psychological Capital and  
its four components  
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Table 2, presents the bivariate correlations of the variables under investigation. There was a small positive  
correlation (0.176) between employees’ age and psychological capital as well as between employees’ work  
tenure and psychological capital (0.197). However, both these correlations were statistically not significant.  
Neither the age of the employees’ age nor their years of work experience was a reliable predictor of psychological  
capital. Thus, the findings of the study were consistent with hypothesis 2 and hypothesis 3.  
TABLE 2 : Interco-relations between study variables:  
Pearson’s correlation coefficient.  
The current study investigated psychological capital (PsyCap) amongst employees of a public sector Bank.  
The authors were interested in studying the impact of employees’ gender, age and work tenure on psychological  
The first hypothesis examined the impact of employee’s gender on psychological capital. It was found that  
gender had no significant impact on psychological capital among the study respondents. These findings were  
consistent with past researches. In the Indian context, these findings were deftly explained by Barmola (2013),  
… in earlier researches there used to be differences between male and female in various aspects of the life in  
India but since the beginning of the LPG (liberalization,privatization and globalization) age this difference has  
come down and the same is found in the present study in the name of positive psychological capital among  
adolescents.” According to Barmola, the significantly higher scores of females on the ‘hope’ dimension of  
psychological capital is on account of high rate of spirituality, specifically amongst females. This is mainly due  
to parenting, family environment and traditional Indian values and culture.” Snyder, Irving and Anderson (1991)  
found that females are better than males willpower’ and ‘waypower’. Willpower is an individual’s agency or  
determination to achieve goals and ‘waypower’ is one’s ability to devise alternative pathways and contingency  
plans in order to achieve a goal in the face of obstacles. Hope enables individuals to be motivated to attain  
success with the task at hand by looking for the best pathway (Avey et al., 2008).  
The second and third hypothesis examined the impact of employee’s age and work tenure on psychological  
capital. The findings supported the null hypothesis and were consistent with past researches (Hidayat and  
Mangundjaya, 2010)  
Significance of the Study  
Psychological capital is a very important factor in organizational success and well-being. Low psychological  
capital of the employees can be a major obstacle in the face of organizational change. The findings of the study  
are particularly important during the time of recruitment. Recruiters need to keep in mind that psychological  
capital is not affected by gender, age or number of years of work experience. This will help to prevent confirmatory  
bias in the selection process. But the positive side of these findings is that it is possible to manage and increase  
the level of PsyCap of employees in organizations through deliberate interventions and the outcomes are not  
going to be affected by gender, age or work tenure. Luthans, Avey, Avolio, Norman, & Combs (2006) demonstrated  
that organizations can increase the level of PsyCap by using short training sessions of one to three hour micro  
interventions in which they measure PsyCap before and after the interventions.  
Limitations of the Study  
An important limitation is that researchers used the same sample to gather data on both independent and  
dependent variables. This method of obtaining data may result in common source bias and lead to inflated  
relationships (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee & Podskoff, 2003). The prescribed approach to reducing common  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
source bias is to obtain predictor measurements from one observer and measurements of outcomes from  
another (or use separate occasions for measuring). The authors did not use these methods because of resource  
constraints about the ability to issue several surveys and use several observers. However, one should note that  
data from distinct observers or measurement occasions might distort the prediction estimates as much as  
common source variance does (Kammeyer-Muller, Steel & Rubenstein, 2010).  
The study examined the effects of psychological capital in the context of only one organization. Research with  
different sample compositions and bigger sample sizes should be conducted to better understand the factors  
impacting psychological capital.  
This study examined the impact age, work tenure and gender on psychological capital. The study found no  
significant gender differences in psychological capital nor was there any significant correlation between the  
psychological capital and age work tenure. Future research in the area of PsyCap would benefit from longitudinal  
studies in which researchers observe levels of PsyCap over time. Such a study would improve our understanding  
of how age, work tenure, gender and PsyCap interact overtime. A longitudinal study would yield this information.  
This would reveal the point in time that psychological capital has greatest effect.  
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Final Year Student and **Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychology, N.K. College. Email: