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The Application of Signature Character Strengths and Positive Experiences at Work


  • Claudia Harzer


  • Willibald Ruch


We hypothesized that the amount of positive experiences at work (job satisfaction, pleasure, engagement, meaning) is a function of the extent to which the situational circumstances at the workplace allow for the application of an individual’s signature character strengths. For the description of the individual a reliable and valid instrument already exists, but not for the environment. Hence, the newly developed Applicability of Character Strengths Rating Scales (ACS-RS) with information on its reliability and validity were also presented. A sample of 1,111 adults filled in the ACS-RS and measures for possession of character strengths and positive experiences at work. The ACS-RS was reliable by means of internal consistency and inter-rater reliability. It proved to be valid in several ways being sensitive to: (a) the differences in the applicability of trait-relevant behavior in formal versus informal situations by showing higher applicability of the character strengths in the latter; (b) the differences between traits regarding their applicability across situations; (c) people’s disposition to choose situations fitting their dispositions by showing positive relationships between the degree of possession and applicability. Moreover, correlations between applicability of strengths and positive experiences increased with the individual centrality of the strengths. The more signature strengths were applied at the workplace, the higher the positive experiences at work. This study showed that character strengths matter in vocational environments irrespective of their content. Strengths-congruent activities at the workplace are important for positive experiences at work like job satisfaction and experiencing pleasure, engagement, and meaning fostered by one’s job. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Harzer & Willibald Ruch, 2013. "The Application of Signature Character Strengths and Positive Experiences at Work," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 965-983, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:14:y:2013:i:3:p:965-983
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-012-9364-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Veronika Huta & Lance Hawley, 2010. "Psychological Strengths and Cognitive Vulnerabilities: Are They Two Ends of the Same Continuum or Do They Have Independent Relationships with Well-being and Ill-being?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 71-93, March.
    2. Christopher Peterson & Nansook Park & Martin Seligman, 2005. "Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction: the full life versus the empty life," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 25-41, March.
    3. Satoshi Shimai & Keiko Otake & Nansook Park & Christopher Peterson & Martin Seligman, 2006. "Convergence of Character Strengths in American and Japanese Young Adults," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 311-322, September.
    4. Carmel Proctor & John Maltby & P. Linley, 2011. "Strengths Use as a Predictor of Well-Being and Health-Related Quality of Life," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 153-169, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sagrario Yárnoz-Yaben & Alaitz Garmendia & Priscila Comino, 2016. "Looking at the Bright Side: Forgiveness and Subjective Well-Being in Divorced Spanish Parents," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 1905-1919, October.
    2. Hadassah Littman-Ovadia & Shiri Lavy & Maayan Boiman-Meshita, 2017. "When Theory and Research Collide: Examining Correlates of Signature Strengths Use at Work," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 527-548, April.
    3. Claudia Harzer & Willibald Ruch, 2016. "Your Strengths are Calling: Preliminary Results of a Web-Based Strengths Intervention to Increase Calling," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(6), pages 2237-2256, December.
    4. Maria Christina Meyers & Marianne Woerkom, 2017. "Effects of a Strengths Intervention on General and Work-Related Well-Being: The Mediating Role of Positive Affect," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 671-689, June.
    5. Richard Douglass & Ryan Duffy, 2015. "Strengths Use and Life Satisfaction: A Moderated Mediation Approach," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 619-632, June.
    6. Marine Miglianico & Philippe Dubreuil & Paule Miquelon & Arnold B. Bakker & Charles Martin-Krumm, 2020. "Strength Use in the Workplace: A Literature Review," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 737-764, February.
    7. Matthew Hagler & Sherry Hamby & John Grych & Victoria Banyard, 2016. "Working for Well-Being: Uncovering the Protective Benefits of Work Through Mixed Methods Analysis," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 1493-1510, August.


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