Purpose Psychological capital is a set of personal resources comprised by hope, efficacy, optimism, and resilience, which previous research has supported as being valuable for general work performance. However, in today’s organizations, a multidimensional approach is required to understanding work performance, thus, we aimed to determine whether psychological capital improves proficiency, adaptivity, and proactivity, and also whether hope, efficiency, resilience, and optimism have a differential contribution to the same outcomes. Analyzing the temporal meaning of each psychological capital dimension, this paper theorizes the relative weights of psychological capital dimensions on proficiency, adaptivity, and proactivity, proposing also that higher relative weight dimensions are helpful to cope with job demands and perform well. Methodology Two survey studies, the first based on crosssectional data and the second on two waves of data, were conducted with employees from diverse organizations, who provided measures of their psychological capital, work performance, and job demands. Data was modeled with regression analysis together with relative weights analysis.
Psychological Capital and Work Performance
Luthans et al. (2007b) define psychological capital as a positive psychological state comprised by the personal resources of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism. Specifically, hope refers to a cognitive process driven by a sense of success in fulfilling individual goals (Snyder, 1995). Efficacy denotes confidence linked to one’s own conviction about having the abilities to effectively execute a task (Bandura, 1997). Resilience refers to positive adaptation in the context of significant adversity (Bonanno, 2004; Rutter, 1987; Masten & Reed, 2002). Finally, optimism denotes a positive expectation that individuals’ goals can be achieved in future (Scheier & Carver, 1992; Peterson, 2000). Drawing on the theoretical integration underlying these personal resources (Luthans et al., 2007a, b), most of research has adopted a higher order factor comprising hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism (Avey et al., 2011; Luthans et al., 2007a, b). This approach is valuable and appropriate when the aim is to understand broader outcomes entailing wide-ranging information about the phenomenon of interest, such as general work performance. But, when the interest is to have a more detailed understanding of the outcome studied, for instance a multidimensional approach to performance, paying attention to the specific characteristics of the psychological capital dimensions is required. This follows the discussion on the bandwidth-fidelity dilemma (Judge and Kammeyer-Muller, 2012), which stresses the importance of the construct correspondence principle when developing theory, namely, predictors and criteria should correspond in terms of generality-specificity. In other words, theoretically and empirically broader criteria favor broader predictors, while narrower criteria favor specific predictors.