Scielo RSS <![CDATA[SA Journal of Industrial Psychology]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=2071-076320170001&lang=en vol. 43 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>A generational perspective on work values in a South African sample</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: In order to ensure harmonious relationships in the workplace, work values of different generational cohorts need to be investigated and understood. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the work values of a South African sample from a generational perspective, in order to foster an understanding of the similarities and differences of different generational cohorts in terms of work values. MOTIVATION OF THE STUDY: Understanding the work values of different generational cohorts could assist organisations to manage and retain human capital in an increasingly competitive environment. Furthermore, it could assist organisations to develop an advanced understanding of employee behaviour, which should inform conflict-resolution strategies to deal with reported conflict between different generational cohorts. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The study was conducted within the positivist paradigm and was quantitative in nature. Data were gathered from 301 employees representing three different generational cohorts, namely the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. A cross-sectional study was conducted, and data were collected once off by means of the Values Scale. The psychometric properties of the Values Scale have a reliability coefficient of 0.95, and the scale has been applied successfully in various iterations. MAIN FINDINGS: The findings indicate statistically significant differences and similarities between the various generational cohorts in terms of work values. More specifically, similarities and differences between the various generational cohorts were observed with regard to the values of authority, creativity, risk and social interaction in the work context. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Organisations can use the findings of the study to strengthen employee interaction within the work environment. In addition, the findings can be used to inform retention and management strategies, in order to ensure harmonious relationships in the workplace. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The study contributes to the literature on South African generational cohorts and work values. <![CDATA[<b>Validating strengths use and deficit correction behaviour scales for South African first-year students</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: It is well known that the first year at university can be very challenging and stressful for students. While some students mainly depend on the university to assist them through this time, other students want to proactively manage this stressful period themselves by focusing on their strengths and developing in their areas of weakness. Two new scales measuring proactive strengths use and deficit correction behaviour have recently been developed for employees. However, the psychometric properties of these new scales have not yet been tested on first-year students in the South African context. RESEARCH PURPOSE: To examine the validity, measurement invariance and reliability of the proactive strengths use and deficit correction scales for South African first-year university students. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: In order to cope in the demanding university environment, first-year university students need to develop and apply proactive strategies, including using their strengths and developing in their areas of weaknesses. Several studies have indicated that proactive behaviour, specifically strengths use and deficit correction behaviour, lead to favourable outcomes such as higher engagement, lower burnout and more life satisfaction. Therefore, it is important to validate scales that measure these constructs for first-year students. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: A cross-sectional research approach was used. A sample of South African first-year university students aged between 18 and 23 years (N = 776) was collected. The two scales were tested for their factor structure, measurement invariance, reliability, and convergent and criterion validity. MAIN FINDINGS: A two-factor structure was found for the strengths use and deficit correction behaviour scales. Measurement invariance testing showed that the two scales were interpreted similarly by participants from different campuses and language groups. Cronbach's alpha coefficients (α ≥ 0.70) indicated that both scales were reliable. In addition, the scales demonstrated convergent validity (comparing them with a general strengths use and proactive behaviour scale). Strengths use and deficit correction behaviour both predicted student burnout, student engagement and life satisfaction, with varying strengths of the relationships for strengths use and deficit correction behaviour. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Strengths use and deficit correction behaviour could enable students to manage study demands and enhance well-being. Students will experience favourable outcomes from proactively using strengths and developing their weaknesses, including reduced burnout and enhanced engagement and life satisfaction. Universities and lecturers can be informed, which allows them to develop support structures and provide students with opportunities to apply their strengths and develop thier deficits. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The present study adds to the limited research available on initiating proactive behaviour to use strengths and improve deficits for university students by validating two new scales. This could help in facilitating positive outcomes for first-year university students within the South African context. <![CDATA[<b>Emotional intelligence in South African women leaders in higher education</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: This study contributes to an in-depth understanding of emotional intelligence (EI) in women leaders in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in South Africa from an inside perspective. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to explore EI in South African women leaders working in HEIs to identify women leader's strengths, foci and their possible areas of development. The aim is to get deeper insights in EI in women leaders because EI is associated with effective leadership qualities, creativity and innovation, as well as empathetic communication which is needed in the challenging HEI workplaces. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Emotional intelligence is an important source for women leaders to increase leadership qualities. This study is motivated by a deep interest to explore aspects of EI in women leaders in this specific professional context. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The study uses a qualitative research design and an approach based on Dilthey's modern hermeneutics of 'Verstehen' (understanding). Twenty-three women leaders of the Higher Education Research Service (HERS-SA) network were interviewed through semi-structured interviews. One researcher observed behaviour in one HEI to support the interpretation of the data. Data were analysed through content analysis. MAIN FINDINGS: Findings show that women leaders mainly refer to intrapersonal emotional quotient (EQ), followed by interpersonal EQ, adaptability, stress management and, finally, general mood. The most highly rated components of EQ are self-regard, followed by interpersonal relationships, problem solving, empathy, emotional self-awareness, assertiveness, impulse control and social responsibility. Findings also provide ideas on what EQ components can be further developed. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: New insights are provided on what components of EI should be developed in women leaders to increase overall EI, on cognitive and behavioural levels. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This research provides new and original context-specific insights on EI in HEIs in South Africa, which can be used as a basis for future research on women leaders while providing a knowledge base for contemporary training of EI in HEIs. <![CDATA[<b>'The fact that she just looked at me... '- Narrations on shame in South African workplaces</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: Shame has been internationally researched in various cultural and societal contexts as well as across cultures in the workplace, schools and institutions of higher education. It is an emotional signal that refers to experienced incongruence of identity goals and the judgement of others. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to focus on experiences of shame in the South African (SA) workplace, to provide emic, in-depth insights into the experiences of shame of employees. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Shame in the workplace often occurs and might impact negatively on mental health and well-being, capability, freedom and human rights. This article aims at gaining some in-depth understanding of shame experiences in SA workplaces. Building on this understanding the aim is to develop awareness in Industrial and Organisational Psychologists (IOPs), employees and organisations to cope with shame constructively in addition to add to the apparent void in the body of knowledge on shame in SA workplaces. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: An interpretative hermeneutical research paradigm, based on Dilthey's modern hermeneutics was applied. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews of 11 employees narrating their experiences from various workplaces, including the military, consulting organisations and higher education institutions. Content analysis was used for data analysis and interpretation. MAIN FINDINGS: The major themes around which shameful experiences evolved included loss of face, mistreatment by others, low work quality, exclusion, lifestyle and internalised shame on failure in the workplace. Shame is experienced as a disturbing emotion that impacts negatively on the self within the work context. It is also experienced as reducing mental health and well-being at work. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: SA organisations need to be more aware of shame in the workplace, to address the potential negative effects of shame on employees, particularly if they are not prepared to reframe shame into a constructively and positively used emotion. Safe spaces should be made available to talk about shame. Strategies should be applied to deal with shame constructively. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This article expands an in-depth understanding of shame from emic and culture-specific perspectives within SA workplaces. The findings are beneficial to IOPs and organisations to understand what shame is from the perspective of SA employees across cultural groups. The article thereby adds value to theory and practice, offering IOPs a deeper understanding of shame in the work context. <![CDATA[<b>Antecedents and outcomes of meaningful work among school teachers</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: Quality education is dependent on the well-being, engagement, performance and retention of teachers. Meaningful work might affect these employee and organisational outcomes. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to investigate antecedents and outcomes of meaningful work among school teachers. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Meaningful work underpins people's motivation and affects their well-being and job satisfaction. Furthermore, it is a significant pathway to healthy and authentic organisations. However, a research gap exists regarding the effects of different antecedents and outcomes of meaningful work. RESEARCH APPROACH, DESIGN AND METHOD: A cross-sectional survey was used with a convenience sample of 513 teachers. The Work-Life Questionnaire, Revised Job Diagnostic Survey, Co-worker Relations Scale, Work and Meaning Inventory, Personal Resources Scale, Work Engagement Scale, Turnover Intention Scale and a measure of self-rated performance were administered. MAIN FINDINGS: A calling orientation, job design and co-worker relations were associated with meaningful work. A low calling orientation and poor co-worker relationships predicted burnout. A calling orientation, a well-designed job, good co-worker relationships and meaningful work predicted work engagement. Job design was moderately associated with self-ratings of performance. The absence of a calling orientation predicted teachers' intention to leave the organisation. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Educational managers should consider implementing interventions to affect teachers' calling orientation (through job crafting), perceptions of the nature of their jobs (by allowing autonomy) and co-worker relations (through teambuilding) to promote perceptions of meaningful work. Promoting perceptions of meaningful work might contribute to lower burnout, higher work engagement, better self-ratings of performance and retention of teachers. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study contributes to scientific knowledge regarding the effects of three antecedents, namely a calling orientation, job design and co-worker relationships on meaningful work. It also contributed to knowledge about the effects of meaningful work on employee and organisational outcomes. <![CDATA[<b>Co-constructing Appreciative Inquiry across disciplines: A duo-ethnography</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: Appreciative Inquiry (AI) has become increasingly popular as a tool for change management in the world of business and is spilling over into a range of contexts, linking a diversity of disciplines. However, instances where management has used AI in consultation with education for collaborative purposes could not be traced as yet. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The aim of this study was for two AI practitioners, one in the field of Industrial and Organisational Psychology and one in Education, to partake in a collaborative study proceeding from reflection on the said researchers' experiences with facilitating AI in different contexts. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: With social constructionism as a core principle underlying AI, it is argued that sharing experiences across disciplines could enrich the literature and the application of AI in different contexts. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The research is based on a qualitative, empirical, duo-ethnography using self-reflective narratives of the experiences of facilitating AI in cross-disciplinary contexts. MAIN FINDINGS: Reflecting on experiences in various disciplines lead to the co-construction of new knowledge. Not only were similar experiences supported, validated and extended, thus affirming the strength-based principle of AI, but it also provided the opportunity for disciplinary cross-fertilisation by combining different perspectives regarding the formality of the AI process and the extent of the facilitator's and participants readiness to work with AI methodology. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The formality of the AI process and hence the extent of the facilitator's involvement (signalling his or her readiness to participate actively and take the lead in co-creating a new reality) must be tempered by due allowance for the participant's readiness to work with AI methodology. Furthermore, participants should be accommodated within the psychological space where they find themselves at the moment when the intended intervention is initiated. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: Duo-ethnography provided the researchers with the opportunity to challenge the 'other' to reflect on their own discipline-related AI experiences, in a deeper, more relational and authentic way. The voices and ideas identified and presented counter narratives, also blended in unique ways to augment the definition of AI as a multidisciplinary force to co-create a better society. More specifically, the 'readiness' of the facilitator for an AI encounter was conceptualised and applied to the psychological and behavioural readiness of not only the participants, but also the facilitators of AI workshops. <![CDATA[<b>Person-environment fit, flourishing and intention to leave in universities of technology in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: Retaining staff is vital to ensure that universities accomplish their missions. To optimise the potential of staff members and retain staff, it is necessary to study their flourishing and fit in their jobs and organisations. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between person-environment fit, flourishing at work and intention to leave. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Research is needed to validate a measure of flourishing at work. Outcome variables such as intention to leave have not been studied in relation to flourishing at work. Moreover, it is necessary to study antecedents of flourishing at work, such as person-environment fit. RESEARCH APPROACH, DESIGN AND METHOD: A cross-sectional survey design was used with a convenience sample of 339 academic employees from three universities of technology in South Africa. Three perceived fit scales, the Flourishing-at-Work Scale (FAWS) and the Turnover Intention Scale were administered. MAIN FINDINGS: Findings supported a three-factor model of flourishing at work, consisting of emotional, psychological and social well-being. The highest mean frequencies on flourishing dimensions were obtained for competence and emotional engagement. The lowest mean frequencies were obtained for relatedness and social well-being. Person-environment fit predicted intention to leave, both directly and indirectly, via flourishing. The findings support the internal consistency and validity of the FAWS. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Managers and human resource practitioners should consider the use of a multidimensional measure to assess flourishing at work. Considering certain dimensions of well-being at work (e.g. work engagement and competence of employees) without considering other dimensions (e.g. job satisfaction, affect balance and meaning at work) will not be sufficient to assess and promote the subjective well-being of employees. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study contributes to knowledge regarding the reliability and validity of a measure of flourishing at work. It confirms that person-environment fit has a strong positive effect on flourishing of employees and a strong negative effect on their intentions to leave. <![CDATA[<b>The role of psychological contract on employee commitment and organisational citizenship behaviour: A study of Indonesian young entrepreneurs in management action</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: This study aims to analyse the entrepreneurship-driven reasons and characteristics of employee management of the young generation, by analysing the role of psychological contract on employee commitment and organisational citizenship behaviour in the light of the characteristics of the millennial generation as the owners of small and medium-sized enterprises. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The main objective of this study was to empirically analyse the effect of the psychological contract and organisational support on the organisational commitment and organisational citizenship behaviour of the employees of small-scale enterprises run by young entrepreneurs, especially in the cohort generation. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: This study attempts to analyse the characteristics of the millennial generation as the owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in running the business by examining their managerial characteristics in managing workplace relationship that aims to achieve the stakeholder expectations and improve both commitment and organisational citizenship behaviour of employees. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Data were collected in the SMEs owned by young entrepreneurs in a city in Indonesia involving 150 respondents. The research model was tested using Structural Equation Modelling with analysis of moment structure (AMOS). MAIN FINDINGS: The results showed that the employee citizenship behaviour is influenced by the organisational commitment. The commitment of employees was formed by the ability of business owners to understand the needs and expectations of employees regarding opportunities of self-development, pleasant working environment, the benefit as the workload and the work challenge. PRACTICAL AND MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: This study implies the need for academic institutions and policy makers to get involved in addressing the rising phenomenon of entrepreneurship among the young generation. CONTRIBUTION AND ADDED-VALUE: This study mainly considered the characteristics of young entrepreneurs as the main factor in explaining the success of employee management relationship of SMEs. <![CDATA[<b>Leadership styles: The role of cultural intelligence</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: Within both the South African context and abroad, leaders are increasingly being required to engage with staff members whose cultures differ from their own. As the attractiveness of different leadership styles varies in line with staff member cultural preferences, the challenge leaders face is that their behaviours may no longer be apposite. To this end, it is mostly unknown whether those leaders who are deemed culturally intelligent behave in a specific manner, that is, display the empowering and directive leadership styles. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between leader cultural intelligence and the empowering and directive styles of leadership, as perceived by subordinates MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: To operate successfully, leaders need to adopt and display those leadership styles that best match the cultural expectations of their staff members. Cultural intelligence may assist in this respect. Most of the studies on leader cultural intelligence and leadership styles have concentrated on the transformational leadership style. There is, thus, a requirement to examine how leader cultural intelligence relates to other leadership styles. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The study was quantitative in nature and made use of a cross-sectional survey design. Data were collected from 1140 staff members spread across 19 diverse organisations carrying on business activities in South Africa. Correlation and regression techniques were performed to identify relationships. MAIN FINDINGS: Leader cultural intelligence was found to have a stronger relationship with empowering leadership than it had with directive leadership. With empowering leadership, leader metacognitive and motivational cultural intelligence acted as important antecedents, whilst for directive leadership, leader's motivational, cognitive and metacognitive cultural intelligence played a predictive part that carried a medium effect. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The findings can be used by organisations to guide the selection of leaders and to focus initiatives for their development. CONTRIBUTION AND VALUE-ADD: The study adds to the cultural intelligence and leadership literature by offering empirical evidence of the relationship between leader cultural intelligence and the empowering and directive leadership styles. <![CDATA[<b>The contribution of work characteristics and risk propensity in explaining pro-social rule breaking among teachers in Wakiso District, Uganda</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: This study explored the mechanisms that drive pro-social rule breaking among teachers in Ugandan private secondary schools. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The main aim of this study was to examine the contribution of work characteristics and risk propensity in promoting pro-social rule breaking among teachers in one of the Ugandan districts that has a high number of private schools. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: As there is a scarcity of research on pro-social rule breaking in Uganda, this study sought to explore the concept and shed light on the mechanisms that influence this. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: A quantitative research process formed the basis for this study. Two hundred and forty-two teachers from 15 private secondary schools in Wakiso District formed the targeted sample size. A response rate of 87% was registered. A hierarchical regression analysis was conducted in order to assess the influence of each of the variables on the dependent variable, by using Statistical Package for Social Sciences. MAIN FINDINGS: The regression results showed that work characteristics were a statistically significant predictor of pro-social rule breaking, but risk propensity was not. The results finally showed that there was no moderation effect of risk propensity on the relationship between work characteristics and pro-social rule breaking. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: The schools should expect more pro-social rule-breaking tendencies when the tasks given to the teachers are complex and when the teachers operate with autonomy. The environment in which the private secondary school teachers in Uganda work, motivates them to sometimes break rules in a bid to perform better or minimise the complexity associated with work CONTRIBUTION: This study expands on current theoretical knowledge on pro-social rule breaking and provides insights into the key drivers of the same among private secondary school teachers in the Ugandan context. <![CDATA[<b>The use of mixed-methods research to diagnose the organisational performance of a local government</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: The majority of local governments in South Africa are underperforming; a first step to improve their performance is to accurately diagnose their current functioning. The utilisation of a mixed-methods approach for this diagnosis based on a valid model of organisational performance will form a better and holistic understanding of how a local government is performing. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The aim of this study is to investigate the utility of mixed-methods research as a diagnostic approach for determining the organisational performance of a local government in South Africa. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The use of either quantitative or qualitative data gathering in isolation as part of an organisational diagnosis can lead to biased information and not identifying the root causes of problems. The use of mixed-methods research in which both quantitative and qualitative data gathering methods are utilised has been shown to produce numerous benefits, such as confirmation of gathered data, providing richer detail and initiating new lines of thinking. Such multiple methodologies are recognised as an essential component of any organisational diagnosis and can be an effective means of eliminating biases in singular data gathering methods. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: A concurrent transformative mixed-methods strategy based on the Burke-Litwin model of organisational performance with triangulation of results and findings to determine convergence validity was used. A convenience sample of 116 (N = 203) permanent officials in a rural district municipality in South Africa completed a survey questionnaire and were also individually interviewed. MAIN FINDINGS: Results indicate that mixed-methods research is a valid technique for establishing the integrity of survey data and for providing a better and holistic understanding of the functioning of an organisation. The results also indicate that the Burke-Litwin model is a useful and valid diagnostic framework for identifying the strengths and development areas of an organisation's performance. Finally, the results established the reliability and validity of the survey instrument used for gathering data PRACTICAL AND MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: A mixed-methods research approach is a useful method to diagnose organisations' performance to ensure data integrity and to obtain a comprehensive picture of an organisation's performance. A further practical implication is that managers and practitioners can use the Burke-Litwin model as a basis for diagnosing the performance of an organisation with confidence, as it identifies the most important aspects of an organisation's functioning. CONTRIBUTION AND VALUE ADD: Organisational diagnoses are usually conducted by either quantitative or qualitative means, while the use of mixed-methods research is a relatively underutilised approach. This study aims to contribute to the availability of research approaches for diagnosing the performance of organisations. <![CDATA[<b>Operational Forces soldiers' perceptions of attributes and skills for career success</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: A career within the South African Operational Forces is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. It is a diverse working environment with its own organisational culture and unique challenges. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The aim of the study was to explore the perceptions of Operational Forces soldiers regarding the unique requirements that facilitated their career success MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: A low percentage of candidates successfully complete the Operational Forces training. The financial implications of training candidates make it important to be able to identify candidates who have the potential to be successful, early on in the process. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Data were collected through a self-administered qualitative survey (n = 98). All participants were permanent Operational Forces soldiers with varying ranks and years of experience. The data were thematically analysed in order to identify themes and specific attributes and skills associated with a successful career in the Operational Forces. MAIN FINDINGS: A number of themes emerged from the data, each of which contributed to our understanding of the research question. The themes included self-concept, personality, interests, cognitive and physical factors. PRACTICAL AND MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The research findings may help to inform decisions about approaches, practices and methodologies of the South African Operational Forces recruitment and selection process. Results also provide military organisations with the key characteristics to consider when identifying candidates with the highest potential for successful careers. CONTRIBUTION AND VALUE-ADD: The study extends previous career success research by contributing an additional base of information regarding career success and factors that are perceived to influence it. <![CDATA[<b>Work engagement and psychological capital in the Italian public administration: A new resource-based intervention programme</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632017000100013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en ORIENTATION: Organisations need energetic and dedicated employees to enhance the quality of their services and products continuously. According to the Conservation of Resources Theory, it is possible to increase work engagement of employees by improving their personal resources. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The main aim of this study was to examine the extent to which an improvement in psychological capital, as a personal resource, might enhance work engagement of employees in the public sector. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: This study was developed to investigate how and to what extent interventions aiming at fostering higher work engagement through the enhancement of psychological capital were certainly effective. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: To improve psychological capital, a new resource-based intervention programme (FAMILY intervention) was developed and applied, in which six dimensions - namely framing, attitudes, meaningfulness, identity, leading self and yoked together - were improved. A semi-experimental research design (pre-test and post-test) was used to conduct this study. Participants were 54 employees working in an Italian public health administration. In the pre-test and post-test stages, data were collected by using the psychological capital and work engagement scales. MAIN FINDINGS: Results showed that there is a positive relationship between psychological capital and work engagement in the pre-test and post-test stages, considered separately. In addition, comparing pre-test and post-test results revealed that the intervention programme significantly improved both psychological capital and work engagement. This shows that an improvement in psychological capital is consistent with an increase in work engagement. CONCLUSION: Together, these findings prove that psychological capital can be considered as a set of personal resources which lead to increased work engagement. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study bridged the gap found in the literature between the role of psychological capital in fostering higher work engagement and the extent to which interventions are effective among employees working in public administration.