The dissertation project “Development of hope at the workplace” has investigated how the character strength hope develops in a workplace context, and how hope relates to the desirable outcomes of mental health and performance. A theory about environmental conditions favorable for the development of hope was created by combining the existing theory of hope with self-determination theory. This newly developed general theoretical framework was broadened for the application to the vocational training within enterprises and tested in three empirical studies.
The first study developed the fundamental theoretical framework and tested the basic hypotheses about the relation of hope with the satisfaction of basic psychological needs (relatedness, autonomy, and competence) in the work environment. The cross-sectional questionnaire data integrated the perspectives of trainees, groups of trainees and trainers. Using multilevel modeling, the hypothesized positive relationship between hope and the satisfaction of three basic psychological needs in the work environment was supported.
The second study examined the development of hope and the reciprocal influences between individuals’ hope and the satisfaction of their basic psychological needs during three years. The longitudinal questionnaire data were tested with autoregressive cross-lagged latent models and provided evidence for a positive reciprocal feedback process between the satisfaction of the need for competency and hope. The one year lagged effects between hope and the needs for autonomy and relatedness were not or only marginally statistically significant, but synchronous relations did exist.
The third study tested a theoretical resource model of positive reciprocal relationships among hope, general mental health and performance at the workplace. Based on longitudinal questionnaire data, the hypothesized positive reciprocal influences among hope, mental health,
and performance were examined over 24 months. The longitudinal model as a whole suggested a positive effect of hope on performance and a positive effect of performance on mental health, but no long term direct effect of hope on mental health.
After situating the present dissertation in the existing research the three studies are reported.
To conclude the findings of the three studies are integrated and discussed in regard to the theoretical, empirical, and practical implications.