Strengths at Work – Creating a Strengths-Based Performance Development Process

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Thesis or dissertation

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For some time, economists have assumed that humans mostly act as rational beings, the so-called homo economicus, operating under a reward-punishment system. What research has found, however, is that most people are in fact intrinsically motivated to work, seeking fulfillment of the three fundamental psychological needs autonomy, competence and relatedness. We care about our work, deriving a sense of meaning and fulfillment from it. Many current organizational structures, however, do not cater to these needs. Employee engagement is at an all-time low, with 87% of the workforce not engaged, which considerably dampens performance. Organizations strive for high performance and yet, many do not succeed in creating an environment that helps employees live up to their full potential. In this capstone, I argue that shifting the focus towards strengths, those attributes where we excel and which we find energizing, is vital to enable people to flourish. Research has shown that a strengths-focus can significantly increase employee engagement and well-being, thereby boosting overall individual and organizational performance. Thus, in this capstone I will explore how strengths can be infused into Human Resource practice in order to create a strengths-based organizational culture that allows employees to thrive. More specifically, I will focus on performance management, offering a proposal on how the process can be redesigned towards strengths-based performance development.


strengths, employee engagement, performance, human resources, motivation


Business/Work, Character Strengths and Virtues


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Date Posted: 07 October 2016