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 Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

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: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>