Does team psychological capital predict team outcomes at work?

By: Lea Waters, Gabriel Strauss, Anit Somech, Nick Haslam, Denise Dussert

Waters, L., Strauss, G., Somech, A., Haslam, N., & Dussert, D. (2020). Does team psychological capital predict team outcomes at work? International Journal of Wellbeing, 10(1), 1-25. doi:10.5502/ijw.v10i1.923


This study is situated in the paradigms of positive organizational scholarship (POS) and positive organizational behaviour (POB). It draws upon the theoretical mechanisms of social learning and emotional contagion to suggest that psychological capital may spread through work teams to impact team outcomes such as performance, innovation, and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). The degree to which team psychological capital (TPsyCap) mediated the relationship between leader psychological capital (LPsyCap) and team outcomes was also tested (n = 94 teams; n = 94 leaders; n = 550 employees). Using structural equation modelling, LPsyCap and TPsyCap were both related to team-level organizational citizenship behavior, team performance, and team innovation. However, the relationship between LPsyCap and TPsyCap was not significant. These findings support the positioning of psychological capital as an important resource for optimal team functioning but also suggest that workplaces cannot expect that leaders, through their own psychological capital alone, can create team-level psychological capital. Instead, the current research suggests that other organizational initiatives and experiences are needed to enhance LPsyCap. The results contribute to a better understanding of POS and POB in general and, specifically, to the recently emerging construct of team psychological capital.