Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Work is more fun if the character fits the bill

02.10.2012
Anyone who can apply his or her personal character strengths in his or her career experiences more enjoyment, flow and meaning at work.
These people are also more satisfied with their job and perceive it more as a calling. This is the result of two large-scale studies conducted by a team of psychologists from the University of Zurich. The studies provide key insights for the selection of personnel and human resources development.

Character strengths can be defined as traits that are evaluated as morally positive, such as self-control, teamwork or kindness. Character strengths that are particularly distinctive for a person and which he or she likes to use frequently are referred to as signature strengths. Everybody typically has between three and seven of these signature strengths. For the first time, Claudia Harzer and Professor Willibald Ruch from the Section on Personality and Assessment at the University of Zurich now prove in two studies that a job is particularly cherished if it suits one’s own signature strengths: The application of signature strengths in one’s profession actually goes hand in hand with more positive experiences at work, namely enjoyment, flow, sense of purpose or satisfaction and calling.
High level of satisfaction with four or more signature strengths applied
In the first study, Harzer and Ruch interviewed over 1,000 working people about the manifestation of their character strengths, whether they are able to apply these strengths at work and how positively they experience their work. In their second study, besides self-assessments the scientists also analyze how the test subjects’ colleagues rate the applicability of the character strengths.

The degree of positive experiences increases with the number of signature strengths applied. In both studies, people who are able to apply four or more signature strengths at work have the highest values in terms of positive experience. They enjoy work more, are more wrapped up in it, perceive their work as more meaningful and are more satisfied with their job. These people also perceive their work more as a calling than people who are able to apply three signature strengths or fewer in the workplace.

Whether character strengths can be applied at work depends, among other things, on which rules are stipulated in the job description or whether strength-related behavior is helpful to carry out the work. A job description for nursing staff, for example, might contain a lot about hygiene but not so much on friendly conduct. Nonetheless, we can expect patient care to be more successful if the nursing staff is friendly and sympathetic.

Useful for employers and employees
Harzer and Ruch’s findings provide insights that might be useful for the selection of personnel, human resources development and workplace design. “If it is clarified which character strengths are central for the job before a position is filled, a person can be recruited based on these strengths. Employers and employees only stand to benefit from this,” explains Harzer. According to the scientist, further studies should examine whether four signature strengths are found in all professions and hierarchical levels or whether fewer signature strengths suffice to facilitate a positive experience in employees.
Further reading:
Harzer, C., & Ruch, W. (in press). The application of signature character strengths and positive experiences at work. Journal of Happiness Studies. doi:10.1007/s10902-012-9364-0

Harzer, C., & Ruch, W. (2012). When the job is a calling: The role of applying one’s signature strengths at work. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 7, 362-371. doi:10.1080/17439760.2012.702784

Participants sought for new study

The study examines the link between character strengths and work motivation, work satisfaction and both professional and general capability. Anyone who completes the full program receives comprehensive individual feedback on his character strengths and work motivation, work satisfaction and professional and general capability. Participation in the study takes place from home via an online program and is free. The participants should at least be employed fifty percent. It is also possible to participate in the study as a whole team.

Information, contact and registration: c.harzer@psychologie.uzh.ch

Contact:
Dr. Claudia Harzer
Psychological Institute
University of Zurich
Tel.: +41 78 641 70 95
Email: c.harzer@psychologie.uzh.ch

Nathalie Huber | Universität Zürich
Further information:
http://www.uzh.ch

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>