Thriving at work: Toward its measurement, construct validation, and theoretical refinement

By: Christine Porath, Gretchen M. Spreitzer, Cristina Gibson, Flannery G. Garnett

Porath, C., Spreitzer, G.M., Gibson, C., & Stevens, F. (2012). Thriving at work: Toward its measurement, construct validation, and theoretical refinement. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33(2), 250-271.


Thriving is defined as the psychological state in which individuals experience both a sense of vitality and learning. We developed and validated a measure of the construct of thriving at work. Additionally, we theoretically refined the construct by linking it to key outcomes, such as job performance, and by examining its contextual embeddedness. In Study 1, we conducted second‐order confirmatory factor analyses in two samples, demonstrating initial support for the two‐dimensional structure of thriving. We provided evidence for the convergent and discriminant validity of thriving in relation to theoretically related constructs, such as positive and negative affects, learning and performance goal orientations, proactive personality, and core self‐evaluations. In Study 2, across two different samples, we further assessed construct validity by establishing a relationship between thriving and career development initiative, burnout, health, and individual job performance, explaining significant variance beyond traditional attitudinal predictors, such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Finally, in Study 3, we focused on understanding the contextual embeddedness of thriving. We found differences in reports of thriving across two points in time, when substantial changes are occurring in peoples’ work lives and across contexts (i.e., work and non‐work). Implications for theory and practice, as well as directions for future research, are discussed.