The factorial validity and reliability of a newly–developed strength–based approach scale in a sample of South African employees
Keenan, Elzette Marzanne.
MetadataShow full item record
With the introduction of positive psychology it was argued that focussing on employee improvement no longer rests with addressing weaknesses but rather by focusing on using the qualities and strengths of employees, otherwise known as following a strengths–based approach (SBA). The appropriate use of employee strengths could improve experiences in the workplace. Although the effect of an SBA on several employee outcomes (such as work engagement, innovativeness, commitment, and productivity) seems important to investigate, there is no available instrument that can measure whether employees perceive their organisations as optimally focusing on, using and applying their strengths and talents in the workplace. In order to address this gap, a new scale was developed to measure employees’ perceptions of an organisational SBA. The authors defined an SBA as employees’ perceptions of the extent to which the formal and informal policies, practices and procedures in their organisation focus on the use of their strengths. The scale is rooted in the framework of three models, namely the Job Demands–Resources (JD–R) Model, the Broaden–and–Build theory of positive emotions and the Happy–Productive Worker Thesis. The objectives of this study were to determine whether 1) the strengths–based approach (as measured with the new SBA scale) is a one–dimensional construct; 2) the measurement of the strength–based approach (as measured by the new SBA scale) is internally consistent; and 3) whether the SBA approach is an independent organisational resource in a sample of employees in a financial institution. A cross–sectional field survey approach was used to gather the data. An availability sample of South African employees (N = 165) working within the financial institution was utilised. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was utilised to test the factorial validity of the new SBA scale and to establish whether the SBA is an independent organisational resource when other resources (supervisor support, autonomy, information and participation) were included in the analyses. The reliability of the newly–developed strengths–based approach scale was determined through Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. The findings indicated a clear one–factor model with strong item loadings (? = 0.97). When other resources were included, a five–factor model was identified, where all the items loaded on the posited factors. SBA showed significant relationships of moderate size with the other resources, supporting the independence of SBA as an independent organisational resource. Recommendations were made for the organisations, as well as for future research.