Work Related Flow, Psychological Capital, and Creativity
Among Employees of Software Houses
Received: 9 October 2014 /Accepted: 20 July 2015 /Published online: 9 August 2015
#National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2015
Abstract The present study examined the direct as well as
indirect effects of work related flow and psychological capital
on employee creativity among employees of software houses.
The participants (N=532) were drawn form the software hous-
es of Rawalpindi and Islamabad including both men and
women with age range of 25–52 years (M=32.53). They com-
pleted the measures of psychological capital, flow at work,
and employee creativity. Results indicated that psychological
capital, work related flow and employee creativity were sig-
nificantly positively associated with each other. Stepwise
Regression analysis revealed work related flow as a strong
predictor of employee creativity. Findings also revealed that
men exhibited greater psychological capital, work related flow
and creativity as compared to women. It was also noted that
extended job tenure reflected more psychological capital,
work related flow and creativity at workplace as compared
to those with lesser job tenure. The implications of the study
Keywords Psychological capital .Work related flow .
Creativity .Software houses
In the present era, organizations are looking for top performers
who can thrive on chaos, proactively learn and grow through
hardships, and excel no matter how many or how intense the
inevitable setbacks that they may encounter in day to day
routine (Hamel and Välikangas 2003). Average performance
can no longer meet today’s rapidly growing expectations of
organizational objectives (Sutcliffe and Vogus 2003). Today’s
organizational participants need to, not only survive, cope,
and recover but also to thrive and flourish through the inevi-
table difficulties and uncertainties that they face and to do so
faster than their competitors (Ryff and Singer 2003). Positive
organizational behavior (Cameron 2003) have highlighted the
positive strengths (such as psychological capital, work related
flow) of the employees, managers, and leaders for enhancing
the optimum outcomes of work behaviors (e.g., enhanced job
performance, creativity, and innovation). Therefore, the pres-
ent study was designed to explore the existing relational pat-
terns between positive psychological states and the corre-
sponding work behaviors. Moreover, few occupations (e.g.,
architectural design, civil engineering, software development,
etc.) by the very nature of their productive format may require
more innovative and creative job behaviors in order to excel in
the competitive organizational output. Hence, the present
study attempted to focus on the employees of software houses
specifically to determine that how the experience of positive
psychological states may foster the perceived creativity
Earlier studies indicated that lack of creativity on all levels
can seriously undermine an organization’s competitiveness
(House 2004). Studies have clearly demonstrated the impor-
tance of creativity for competitive advantage (Amablie 1996;
Argyris and Schön 1978; Nonaka 1991;Oldham2002). An
enhanced understanding of the personal and psychological
antecedents of creativity can inform efforts to create and nur-
ture creativity in organizations. The present study attempted to
focus on the need to integrate PsyCap and work related flow
literatures (Gardner et al. 2005; Yammarino et al. 2008)and
helps to understand the process through which these contrib-
utes to employees’creative work outcomes. Specifically, there
is empirical evidence of a positive association between
National Institute of Psychology, Quaid-i-Azam University,
Psychol Stud (July–September 2015) 60(3):321–331
emerging positive psychological resources and overall work-
place attitudes and performance (e.g., Luthans et al. 2007b),
their relationship with creative performance has not been di-
rectly tested. Therefore, the present study also addresses to
provide empirical evidence to fill the existing gap in the the-
The present study opted the theoretical model that is linked
with two distinct yet connected approaches. Firstly psycho-
logical resource theory (Hobfoll 2002) emphasizing the neces-
sity of treating individual resources as manifestations of an
underlying core construct or an integrated resource set (in this
case PsyCap) rather than in isolation. For example, key re-
source theories (Thoits 1994) have identified individual-
level resources such as self-efficacy, optimism, resiliency,
and hope as essential foundational resources for managing
and adapting other resources to achieve favorable outcomes.
Such key resources have been empirically supported as inter-
active and synergistic (Cozzarelli 1993;Rinietal.1999).
Secondly, the present study also converge broaden and build
model of Fredrickson (2003) emphasizing that experience of
positive emotions can broaden the employees’scope of atten-
tion (increasing the number of cognitive elements available
for association) and the scope of cognition (increasing the
breadth of those elements that are treated as relevant to the
problem), thus increasing the probability of creative activities
(Frederickson 2001). Hence, it is observed that PsyCap and
work related flow would inspire the employees to work with
more enthusiasm and excitement and to experience other pos-
itive emotions; thereby leading to more creative work output
(Ilies et al. 2005; Prati et al. 2003; Zhou and George 2003).
Psychological Capital (PsyCap) offers a more comprehen-
sive, higher order conceptual framework for understanding
and capitalizing on human assets in today’s organizations
(Avolio and Luthans 2006; Luthans et al. 2004; Luthans and
Yous s ef 2004). It is also believed that synergistically integrat-
ing human, social, and psychological capital is central to ac-
tualizing human potential (i.e., attaining the possible self) in
today’s workplace. The PsyCap construct comprises four di-
mensions: self-efficacy, hope, resilience, and optimism.
PsyCap efficacy is defined as Bone’s conviction about his or
her abilities to mobilize the motivation, cognitive resources,
and courses of action needed to successfully execute a specific
task within a given context^(Stajkovic and Luthans 1998,p.
66). PsyCap Hope is considered as Bapositivemotivational
state that is based on an interactively derived sense of success-
ful (1) agency (goal-directed energy) and (2) pathways (plan-
ning to meet goals)^(Snyder et al. 1991, p. 287). In PsyCap
approach, the definition of resiliency include not only the
ability to bounce back from adversity but also very positive,
challenging events and the will to go beyond the normal, the
equilibrium point (Avolio and Luthans 2006; Luthans 2002;
Youssef and Luthans 2005). PsyCap optimism is defined in
the context of attributional style, that is an explanatory style
that attributes positive events to personal, permanent, and per-
vasive causes and interprets negative events in terms of exter-
nal, temporary, and situation-specific factors (Seligman 1998).
It is to be noted that Peterson and Seligman’s(2004)character
strengths and virtues are trait-like (relatively stable and diffi-
cult to change); whereas, the PsyCap is state-like, and thus
relatively malleable and open to development. Both theory-
building and prior research on hope, resilience, optimism, and
efficacy indicate that such personal strengths are amenable to
development (Luthans et al. 2007a,b). Such a state-like nature
also differentiates PsyCap from positively-oriented organiza-
tional behavior trait-like constructs, such as Big Five person-
ality dimensions or core self-evaluations (Judge et al. 2003).
Coming from one of the recognized founders of the posi-
tive psychology movement is Csikszentmihalyi’s(2003)con-
cept of flow. Like subjective well-being, flow is closely relat-
ed to happiness and optimal experience. A state of flow is
attained when one has both high skills and is undergoing a
significant challenge (Csikszentmihalyi 1996). When in flow,
accomplishing a task becomes rewarding as an end in itself
rather than a means toward other goals (e.g., pay, promotion,
impression management), causing the individual to become
completely absorbed in the activity (Nakamura and
Csikszentmihalyi 2002). Asakawa (2004) defined flow as Bthe
optimal state of mind in which an individual feels cognitively
efficient, deeply involved, and highly motivated and also ex-
periences a high level of enjoyment^(p. 124).
Although creativity is frequently associated with strikingly
original and revolutionary ideas, it also incorporates the ca-
pacity to find novel approaches for day-to-day problem-solv-
ing, as well as to constructively adapt new ideas and mecha-
nisms so that they positively contribute to oneself and others
(Simonton 2007). Traditionally, creativity has been viewed as
a dispositional trait that can only be developed at early age, or
it has even been seen as a genetically determined individual
difference (Cassandro and Simonton 2002;Feist1998).
Creativity has become one of the most important sources of
sustained competitive advantage for organizations. In order to
survive, adapt, and gain competitive advantage, organizations
need to unleash their employees’innate creative potential,
because employees’creative ideas can be used as building
blocks for organizational innovation, change, and competi-
tiveness (Amabile et al. 1996; Woodman et al. 1993; Zhou
and George 2003). Creativity can be generated by employees
not only in jobs that are traditionally viewed as requiring cre-
ativity, but also in any job and at any level of the organization
(Madjar et al. 2002).
Researchers have found that achieving a flow state is pos-
itively correlated with optimal performance in the fields of
artistic and scientific creativity (Perry-Smith and Shalley
2003). Flow also has a strong correlation with the further
development of skills and personal growth (Nakamura and
Csikszentmihalyi 2002). It has been found that positive
322 Psychol Stud (July–September 2015) 60(3):321–331
strengths like self efficacy and hope may further foster flow
experience with a bit of personal growth and great feelings of
competence and efficacy (Ishimura and Kodama 2006).
Moreover, low self-awareness and enjoyment typically occurs
during activities that are challenging but matched in difficulty
to the person’s skill level (Csikszentmihalyi 2003). Further
evidence suggested that intrinsic driven motivation enhance
the efficacious and optimistic attributional style with elevated
subjective sense of high control and concentration, or even
absorption in the task (Asakawa 2010).
Given that the social context of organizations is largely a
creation of the individuals who make up that context and their
interactions positive worker motivation in the form of dispo-
sitional flow and PsyCap may represent a significant resource
in promoting positive outcomes in creativity. Research indi-
cates that the overall core construct of PsyCap better relates to
the outcomes of employee performance, job satisfaction, and
absenteeism (Luthans et al. 2004;2007a,b). The dispositional
experience of flow and PsyCap factors of hope, optimism,
resilience, and self efficacy may, therefore, represent potential
pathways to influence creativity in work settings (Asakawa
2010). Avey et al. (2010) found that employees’psychological
capital mediated the relationship between organizational cli-
mate and performance indicators. Furthermore, psychological
capital emerged as a strong predictor of work attitudes and
behaviors (Avey et al. 2010). Amabile et al. (2005), and others
(e.g., Moneta 2004; Tierney and Farmer 2004; Zhou 2003)
identified agentic psychological resources (e.g., intrinsic mo-
tivation) as instrumental in achieving creative outcomes.
These studies are particularly relevant here as PsyCap and
work related flow that have been investigated in the present
study would be referred to as intrinsic motivational propensi-
ties (Luthans et al. 2007a,b). Specifically, while there is em-
pirical evidence of a positive association between emerging
positive psychological resources and overall workplace atti-
tudes and performance (Luthans et al. 2007a,b), their relation-
ship with creative performance has not been directly tested.
Empirical findings show self-efficacious people believe in
their abilities to mobilize the motivation, cognitive resources,
and courses of action necessary to successfully perform a spe-
cific task within a given context (Stajkovic and Luthans
1998). Those individuals are likely to choose challenging
tasks and endeavors, apply their efforts and motivational re-
sources to accomplish their goals, and persevere in the face of
obstacles and difficulties (Luthans 2002). This combination of
challenging goals, intrinsic energy, and perseverance moti-
vates individuals to propose new and useful ideas for reaching
goals. PsyCap is a generative capability, with Jensen and
Luthans (2006) suggesting that this psychological strength is
essential for creative productivity. Several studies reveal pos-
itive relationships between PsyCap and creativity (Darini et al.
2011; Prabhu et al. 2008; Tierney and Farmer 2004).
Moreover, work related flow is crucial for creativity because
an intrinsically motivated person tends to be curious and
learning oriented, cognitively flexible, willing to take risks,
and persistent when facing obstacles, challenges, and oppor-
tunities (Zhou 2003). The aforementioned findings assisted in
formulating the following assumptions:
H1. Psychological capital would be positively related to
work related flow.
H2. Psychological capital and work related flow would
positively predict employee creativity.
Dimensions of PsyCap and Employee Creativity
Ample empirical evidence has shown strong association be-
tween core components of PsyCap and creative output at
workplace (Cohler 1987;Helson1999; Luthans 2002;
Luthans and Youssef 2004; Shalley and Gilson 2004;
Self-Efficacy Self-efficacious people believe in their abilities
to mobilize the motivation, cognitive resources, and courses of
action necessary to successfully perform a specific task within
a given context (Stajkovic and Luthans 1998). Those individ-
uals are likely to choose challenging tasks and endeavors,
apply their efforts and motivational resources to accomplish
their goals, and persevere in the face of obstacles and difficul-
ties (Bandura 1997; Luthans 2002; Luthans and Youssef
2004). This combination of challenging goals, motivational
energy, and perseverance motivates individuals to propose
new and useful ideas for reaching goals. Self-efficacy is a
generative capability, with Bandura (1997) suggesting that
this psychological strength is essential for creative productiv-
ity. Several studies reveal positive relationships between self-
efficacy and creativity (e.g., Choi 2004; Prabhu et al. 2008;
Tierney and Farmer 2004).
Hope Being resolute in pursuing goals, hopeful employees
tend to be risk-takers and look for alternative pathways when
the old ones are blocked (Snyder 2002). Most hopeful indi-
viduals enjoy goal pursuit, being more intrinsically motivated
and looking for creative ways when implementing their
Bagency energy^(Amablie 1996; Oldham and Cummings
1997; Shalley and Gilson 2004; Snyder 2002). When hopeful
individuals do not attain goals, they use the feedback to im-
prove goal pursuit thoughts and strategies, thus being more
energetic and prone to look for alternative and creative ways
to overcome obstacles (Rego et al. 2010), in short, hope feeds
creativity (Rego et al. 2010).
Resilience Resilient people are able Bto overcome, steer
through, bounce back and reach out to pursue new knowledge
Psychol Stud (July–September 2015) 60(3):321–331 323
and experiences, deeper relationships with others and [find]
meaning in life^(Luthans et al. 2007a,b, p. 123). Research
suggests that resilience relates to creativity (Cohler 1987;
Helson 1999) as resilient employees have zestful and energet-
ic approaches to life, are curious and open to new experiences
(Tugade et al. 2004), and improvise in situations predominant-
ly characterized by change and uncertainty (Youssef and
Luthans 2005). As such, resilient employees are likely to de-
velop new ways of doing things when facing difficulties, fail-
ures, and opportunities. They are more able to recover from
negative emotional experiences and more prone to experience
positive emotions in the midst of stressful events. Moreover,
experiential state of positive emotions is significantly directly
related with creativity (Fredrickson 2003; Philippe et al. 2009;
Tugade et al. 2004).
Optimism Optimists take credit for favorable events in their
lives, strengthening their self-esteem and morale, which in
turn may lead to greater creativity (Goldsmith and Matherly
1988; Lyubomirsky et al. 2006). Optimists distance them-
selves from unfavorable life events, thus diminishing the like-
lihood of experiencing depression, guilt, self blame, and de-
spair. Thus, optimists are less likely to give up and more likely
to have a more positive outlook on stressful situations, to
experience positive emotions, to persevere when facing diffi-
culties, and to look for creative ways to solve problems and
take advantage of opportunities (Fredrickson 2003; Youssef
and Luthans 2005).
In line with our previous reasoning, it could be proposed
that individual dimensions of PsyCap: self-efficacy, hope, op-
timism, and resilience might serve as potential moderators in
the relationship between work related flow and creativity by
fostering positive emotional states that would facilitate both
compliance and partidaption behavior in support of productive
outcomes (Gardner et al. 2005). Hence it is assumed that:
H3. PsyCap dimensions (self efficacy, hope, resilience,
and optimism) moderates the relationship between work
related flow and creativity.
Prior studies have provided evidences across gender in re-
lation to study variables. For instance, previous studies
(Connelly 2001; Ishimura and Kodama 2006)haverevealed
that men expressed high levels of work related self efficacy,
intrinsic motivation and innovative work behavior than
women. Similarly, Kawabata et al. (2007)alsoobservedthat
female software technicians reported more technical obstacles
and lower innovative work behavior as compared to their male
counterparts. Jackson and Eklund (2002) asserted that flow
and its dimensions essentially focus on the present state and
conditions of indulgence and participation are more prevalent
among male athletes than female players. Moreover, Ishimura
and Kodama (2006) asserted that female college students
reported lower levels of flow state as compared to their coun-
terparts. Additional evidence showed that male employees
expressed elevated levels of creativity (e.g., Chu 2002;
Atkins and Stough 2005). Petrides and Furnham (2000)found
that men in overall and self-motivation factors are significant-
ly higher than women. Similarly, gender differences in favor
of men are found in a myriad of studies in self-efficacy (e.g.,
Scholz et al. 2002), managerial skills (Karatepe et al. 2006)
and optimistic attributions (Kawabata et al. 2007). Therefore,
on the basis of present literature, it is proposed that:
H4. Male employees would reflect more psychological
capital, work related flow, and creativity as compared
to female employees.
Research has shown that employees with greater work ex-
perience exhibit higher levels of self efficacy, better decision
making skills, and innovative work behavior (Chu 2002).
Moreover, flow is positively correlated with a higher subse-
quent motivation to perform well and it also corresponds to
the challenging tasks assigned to the employees (Seligman
and Csikszentmihalyi 2000). Similarly, it has been found that
employees with extensive work experience in their present
organization are more capable of reflecting elevated levels of
creative efficacy, organizational commitment, and conflict res-
olution strategies (Lyubomirsky et al. 2006). Moreover, longer
tenure in the organization is associated with positive experi-
ences of leader-member relations, elevated levels of motiva-
tion for cognitive acts, and creativity in job related tasks
(Kreitler and Kreitler 1987). Positive psychological resource
capacities, such as psychological capital, have been shown to
have an impact on desired work-related outcomes, for in-
stance, improved attitudes to work engagement and behav-
iours of organizational commitment in various work contexts
such as authentic leadership, organizational culture, and job
experience (Youssef and Luthans 2008). Hence, on the basis
of given empirical evidence, it is assumed that:
H5. Employees with extended job tenure in the same or-
ganization would reflect high levels of psychological cap-
ital, work related flow, and creativity as compared to
those with lesser job duration.
With reference to local perspective, constant novelty and
innovation are essential features for the existence of high-tech
organizations such as software houses. Hence, the greater re-
quirement of software houses would be employees with crea-
tive solutions as cognitively competent and resourceful per-
sonnel to transform the creative solutions into revenue-
generating and problem-solving technologies. Moreover, cre-
ativity and innovation have long been the brand features of
software houses. Nevertheless, employees of software houses
are experiencing extensive change both in terms of producing
324 Psychol Stud (July–September 2015) 60(3):321–331
software products as well as designing those products.
Software development emphasizes creativity, innovation,
and imaginative ways of finding the software to meet diverse
needs of the users. Therefore, there is a dire need to explore
factors and personal strengths that are required in software
production that would empower and liberate the creative and
innovative mind of employees. Earlier literature does not
highlight the relationship between PsyCap and flow outcomes
in creativity among employees of high-tech organizations.
Therefore, the present research under taken had examined if
positive cognitive states of employees (work related flow and
PsyCap) may represent a new avenue of influence on their
creativity. Furthermore, the present study merges the literature
on work related flow, PsyCap, and creativity, and shows how
PsyCap and work related flow predicts employees’creativity.
The present study also attempted to answer the gap in the
existing literature pointed by Shalley and Gilson (2004)for
more research focusing on the interaction between personal
strengths (PsyCap and work related flow) and work behaviors
(creativity at workplace).
Therefore, the major objective of the study was to explore
the relationship among psychological capital, work related
flow and employee creativity among employees of software
houses. It was also intended to investigate the group differ-
ences across gender and job tenure in relation to constructs of
The sample included 532 employees from software houses
located at Rawalpindi and Islamabad in Pakistan.
Respondents included both men (n=327) and women (n=
205), with age range 25–52 years (M=32.53; SD=4.73).
Educational level of the respondents included Bachelors (n=
233), Masters (n= 175), M.Phil/MS (n=82) as well as PhD
(n=42) while monthly income of the participants varied from
Rs. 22,000/- to 1, 10,000/- per month (M= 66,000/-, SD=
5.67). Overall job experience of the respondents fluctuated
from minimum 2–18 years (M=8.67; SD=4.55) whereas job
tenure in the present organization ranged from 1 to 16 years
(M=6.45; SD= 3.28). Job designations of the respondents in-
cluded computer programmers (n= 126), system analysts /
system integrators (n=82), software engineers (n=104), soft-
ware developers (n=78), web designers (n=80), and senior
software engineers (n=62).
The following measures were used to assess the constructs of
Psychological Capital For the appraisal of psychological cap-
ital, the Psychological Capital Questionnaire (PCQ; Luthans
et al. 2007a,b) was used. It constituted 24 items to be rated
on 6-point scale with response options ranging from strongly
disagree (1) to strongly agree (6). PCQ offers measurement
along four dimensions of the PsyCap by assessing Self-efficacy,
Hope, Resilience, and Optimism (six items in each subscale).
To control the response bias, three items were negatively
phrased. Internal consistency coefficient alpha was found to
be 0.89 for total PCQ, 0.81 for Self-Efficacy, 0.76 for Hope,
0.79 for Resilience, and 0.74 for Optimism on the current
Work Related Flow The Work-Related Flow Scale (WOLF;
Bakker 2008) consisted of 13 items with three subscales:
Absorption (4 items), Work Enjoyment (4 items), and
Intrinsic Work Motivation (5 items). Response options were
based on 7-point rating scale ranging from 1 = never to 7 =
always. For the present sample, acquired alpha coefficients for
total WOLF (0.87) and its subscales of Absorption (0.77),
Work Enjoyment (0.72), and Intrinsic Work Motivation
(0.79) were satisfactory and acceptable.
Creativity Creativity Scale (CS; George and Zhou 2001)was
used for the self report appraisal of employee creativity. CS
consisted of 13 items to be rated on a 5-point scale with re-
sponse options ranging from not at all (1) to a great extent (5).
CS (Zhou and George 2003) was found consistent with pre-
vious studies in that the measure regards creativityas a unitary
construct (Shalley et al. 2004). Thus it would not distinguish
between different creative ideas, ranging from minor improve-
ment to major breakthroughs (Coelho et al. 2011). In the pres-
ent study, CS has achieved an alpha coefficient of 0.83.
Official permissions were acquired from the chief executives
of the software houses. Informed consent was acquired from
each respondent and were briefed about the purpose of the
study. Participants were also ensured of the confidentiality of
information and were ascertained that shared information will
be used for academic purposes only. There was no restriction
of time for the completion of questionnaires in order to max-
imize the completion of questionnaires. Written instructions as
well as verbal narrations were given so as to maximally facil-
itate the respondents’understanding and reduce associated
ambiguities. Respondents were graciously thanked for their
extensive cooperation and provision of valuable data.
Assessment of Common Method Variance
In order to avoid problems associated with common method
variance often found in cross-sectional studies, several steps
Psychol Stud (July–September 2015) 60(3):321–331 325
were taken in the present study as proposed by Podsakoff and
colleagues (e.g., Podsakoff et al. 2003,2012). First, all partic-
ipants were informed that their participation was completely
voluntary and confidential. Second, interconstruct randomiza-
tion was done; that is, questionnaires were presented in ran-
dom order to the respondents so as to control the order effect
of the self report measures. Third, confirmatory factor models
were tested and followed Anderson and Gerbing’s(1988)pro-
cedures to evaluate convergent and discriminant validity of
the self report measures used in the present study (Podsakoff
et al. 2003,2012).
Tab le 1shows that the inter-correlations among the variables
of the study. Results indicated that components of psycholog-
ical capital that is self efficacy, hope, resilience and optimism
have shown significant positive association with each other as
well as with the overall construct of psychological capital.
This also provides evidence of construct validity of psycho-
logical capital. Moreover these dimensions were also signifi-
cantly positively allied with work related flow and creativity.
It has been further found that psychological capital and
work related flow were significantly positively associated
with each other. Similarly, psychological capital and work
related flow were significantly allied with employee creativity.
In other words, it has been found that employees reflecting
higher levels of PsyCap also experience elevated level of work
related flow and exhibit greater intensity of creativity.
Tab le 2displays stepwise regression analyses for predicting
creativity through work related flow and psychological capi-
tal. Results showed that both work related flow and psycho-
logical capital explained significant variance in creativity of
employees. However, work related flow emerged as a strong
predictor of employee creativity as compared to psychological
Tab le 3revealed that direct relationship between work re-
lated flow and creativity is buffered by psychological capital
dimensions (self efficacy, hope, resilience, and optimism)
among employees of software houses. The above
Table depicted significant findings for moderating role of self
efficacy, hope, resilience and optimism in relation to work
related flow in generating creative work behavior. The inter-
action effect is determined by holding age, education, and
social desirability constant.
Tab le 4showed significant gender differences along vari-
ables of the study. Findings indicated that male employees
reflected better perceptions of psychological capital and work
pared to female employees.
Findings presented in Table 5indicated significant group
differences along variations in job tenure in the same organi-
zation among employees of software houses. It has been
found that employees with maximum job duration in the cur-
rent workplace reflected more psychological capital, work re-
lated flow, and corresponding levels of creativity. Conversely,
employees having minimum years of job tenure expressed
lowered levels of psychological capital, work related flow,
and creativity at workplace.
The present study was designed to assess the predictive role of
psychological capital and work related flow among em-
ployees of software houses. It was also intended to determine
the group differences across gender and job designations in
context of major constructs of the study.
Findings indicated that work related flow, psychological
capital and creativity were positively associated with each
other. Earlier empirical evidences (Asakawa 2004,2010;
Kawabata et al. 2007) have also indicated that cognitive and
affective involvement in terms of flow is a significant predic-
tor of original and productive output in the organizational
settings. Similarly it has been found that transient flow states
also positively predicted desired organizational activities, for
instance, devising strategic planning, resolution of problems,
Tabl e 1 Correlation matrix across study variables among employees of software houses (N=532)
Variables Self efficacy Hope Resilience Optimism Psychological
Self efficacy –.27** .31*** .22** .46*** .24** .58***
Hope –.33*** .28*** .41*** .19* .23**
Resilience –.21** .44*** .22** .27**
Optimism –.33*** .17* .20**
Psychological capital –.49*** .47***
Work related flow –.52***
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.00
326 Psychol Stud (July–September 2015) 60(3):321–331
and appraisal (Nakamura and Csikszentmihalyi 2002)and
flow state is positively correlated with finest output in the
context of inventive, systematic, and technical resourcefulness
(Perry-Smith and Shalley 2003). Luthans et al. (2007a,b); p.
551) pointed out that Bemployees who embody high levels of
overall PsyCap may be stronger performers because of the
number and level of positive psychological constructs mani-
fested through their cognitions, motivation, and ultimately
their behavior in a given situation^. Jackson and Eklund
(2002) asserted that flow and its dimensions essentially in-
duces positive emotions and enhances self efficacy, resilience
and optimism. Similarly proneness to flow demands experi-
ential state of involvement and interest thereby enhancing
psychological capital (Asakawa 2010; Bakker 2008); while
hope and optimism pertain with the upcoming prospects of
the individual work behaviors (Luthans et al. 2007a,b);
consequently, these dimensions have shown compatibility
with each other.
Results of the present study also showed that work related
flow and psychological capital were major predictors of em-
ployee creativity. This trend has a vast and extensive support
from the earlier literature (Bakker 2008; Gardner et al. 2005;
Lyubomirsky et al. 2006;Regoetal.2012;Tierneyand
Farmer 2004;Walumbwaetal.2010; Yammarino et al.
2008) demonstrating the imperative role of positive psycho-
logical states and internal drive to initiate and sustain creative
and resourceful work behavior. Prior verifications (Asakawa
2004,2010; Kawabata et al. 2007) have shown that cognitive
and affective involvement in terms of flow is a significant
predictor of original and productive output in the organiza-
tional settings. Similarly it has been found that transient flow
states also positively predicted desired organizational activi-
ties, for instance, devising strategic planning, resolution of
problems, and appraisal (Nakamura and Csikszentmihalyi
2002) and flow state is positively correlated with finest output
in the context of inventive, systematic, and technical resource-
fulness (Perry-Smith and Shalley 2003). The predictive role of
psychological capital is supported by the prior evidence as
Luthans et al. (2007a,b; pp. 551) pointed out that Bemployees
who embody high levels of overall PsyCap may be stronger
performers because of the number and level of positive psy-
chological constructs manifested through their cognitions,
motivation, and ultimately their behavior in a given situation^.
Findings indicated that dimensions of PsyCap (self effica-
cy, hope, resilience, and optimism) moderated the relationship
between work related flow and creativity at workplace. The
findings got support from the earlier studies that highlighted
the buffering role of self efficacy and supervisory support in
enhancing creative performance (Tierney and Farmer 2002).
Moreover, efficacy has often been supported as a significant
contributor to effective functioning under stress, fear, and
challenge, primarily due to one’s perceptions of personal con-
trol (Bandura and Locke 2003). In relation to hope, recent
research support a positive relationship between hope and
workplace performance, for example, employee hope and or-
ganizational profitability (Adams et al. 2002) and between
entrepreneurs’hope levels and expressed satisfaction with
business ownership (Jensen and Luthans 2002). Youssef and
Luthans (2008) also found that the hope level of employees is
positively related to their performance, job satisfaction, work
happiness, and organizational commitment. With reference to
resilience, prior studies on PsyCap has also found a positive
relationship between resiliency and workplace performance
outcomes (Avolio and Luthans 2006; Luthans et al. 2007a,
b; Youssef and Luthans 2008) as resilient employees are more
able to recover from negative emotional experiences and more
prone to experience positive emotions in the midst of stressful
events. Moreover, experiential state of positive emotions is
significantly directly related with creativity (Frederickson
Tabl e 2 Stepwise regression analysis for predictors of creativity among
employees of software houses (N=532)
Va r i ab l e s BS.EβR
Constant 12.80 1.15
Work related flow .53 .02 .83*** .69 .68
Constant .39 1.96
Work related flow .28 .03 .44***
Psychological capital .12 .03 .21*** .75 .72
Tabl e 3 Moderating effect of dimensions of psychological capital on
work related flow and employee creativity (N=532)
Step 1 (constant) .243 5.05**
Social desirability .06
Step 2 (direct effects)
Self efficacy .14
Wor k re la te d flow . 18
Step 3 (interaction effects) .251
Work related flow × Self efficacy .21
Work related flow × Hope .19
Work related flow × Resilience .17
Work related flow × Optimism .16
Psychol Stud (July–September 2015) 60(3):321–331 327
2001; Philippe et al. 2009; Tugade et al. 2004). Similarly, it
has been observed that optimists distance themselves from
unfavorable life events, thus diminishing the likelihood of
experiencing negative emotional states. Thus, optimists are
likely to strive through stressful situations, to experience pos-
itive emotions, to persevere when facing difficulties, and to
look for creative ways to solve problems and take advantage
of opportunities (Fredrickson 2003; Youssef and Luthans
Significant gender differences were observed in the present
sample where male employees reflected more psychological
capital, work related flow and higher levels of creativity as
compared to female employees. Findings reported in the pre-
vious studies (Connelly 2001; Ishimura and Kodama 2006)
has revealed that men expressed high levels of work related
self efficacy, intrinsic motivation and innovative work
behavior than women. Similarly, Kawabata et al. (2007)also
observed that female software technicians reported more tech-
nical obstacles and lower innovative work behavior as
compared to their male counterparts. Jackson and Eklund
(2002) asserted that flow and its dimensions essentially
focus on the present state and conditions of indulgence and
participation are more prevalent among male athletes than
female players. Moreover, Ishimura and Kodama (2006)
asserted that female college students reported lower levels of
flow state as compared to their counterparts.
It has been observed that employees with extended job
tenure in the present organization exhibited greater levels of
psychological capital, work related flow, and self report
perceptions of creativity as compared to those with shorter
work history in the same organization. The earlier literature
offered mixed findings in this context. For instance, Darini
et al. (2011) found that personnel develop better social and
psychological competencies the more they adhere to their
current workplaces. Similarly, Moneta (2004) also reported
that employees with extensive work experience in the same
organization expressed heightened levels of self efficacy, job
satisfaction, intrinsic motivation, and innovative work behav-
ior. However, other studies (Karatepe et al. 2006) found that
job dissatisfaction, stagnancy of ideas and decreased levels of
problem solving are directly associated with extended job ten-
ure in the current workplaces.
The findings of the present study indicated that psychological
capital and work related flow are significant predictors of em-
ployees’creativity. Additional highlight of the present study
are the group differences regarding gender, job tenure and job
designations. It was found that male employees reflected bet-
ter perceptions of psychological capital, work related flow and
creativity as compared to female employees. Similarly, em-
ployees with extended job tenure exhibited higher levels of
positive psychological states, work related flow, and creativi-
ty. It may, however, be noted that these trends are based on
data from sample drawn from a setting in developing country
and therefore generalization is limited.
Tabl e 4 Gender differences on
psychological capital, work
related flow, and creativity
Va r i ab l e s M e n
95% CI Cohen’sd
M SD M SD t LL UL
Psychological capital 106.00 18.55 90.46 20.10 6.21* 10.64 20.50 .71
Work related flow 53.87 15.99 39.71 13.91 6.97* 10.15 18.14 .66
Creativity 42.45 9.78 32.12 9.32 8.13* 7.83 12.83 .85
Tabl e 5 Group differences on
job tenure in relation to study
Va r i ab l e s MSDMSDMSDF Post Hoc
PsyCap 24.80 6.01 30.77 5.47 37.94 5.28 6.35* 3>1,2; 2 >1
Work related flow 43.94 8.20 48.83 8.09 55.05 10.57 7.26* 3>1,2; 2 >1
Creativity 29.18 9.37 33.33 9.29 38.42 9.26 5.11* 3>1,2; 2>1
Group 1 =1–5years;Group2=5.1–10 years; Group 3 = 10.1–16 years; PsyCap = Psychological Capital
328 Psychol Stud (July–September 2015) 60(3):321–331
The experience of work related flow is beneficial and valuable
for the attainment of both individual and organizational goals.
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tioners may identify and designthe jobs in a manner that foster
intrinsic flow and optimum motivation among the employees
so as to accelerate their creative output. Secondly, industrial/
organizational psychologists could design and develop train-
ing modules which may foster the PsyCap and work related
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