Original Research

Psychological ownership: Development of an instrument

Chantal Olckers
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 39, No 2 | a1105 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v39i2.1105 | © 2013 Chantal Olckers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 March 2013 | Published: 23 October 2013

About the author(s)

Chantal Olckers, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Orientation: Psychological ownership emerged recently as a positive psychological resource that could be measured and developed and that could affect the performance of organisations.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop an instrument to measure psychological ownership in a South African context.

Motivation for the study: It was found that previous instruments for the measurement of psychological ownership lacked the ability to grasp the extensive reach of psychological ownership.

Research design, approach and method: A quantitative cross-sectional survey was conducted on a non-probability convenience sample of 713 skilled, highly-skilled and professional employees from various organisations in both the private and public sectors in South Africa.

Main findings: Although a 69-item measurement instrument was developed in order to capture the proposed seven-dimensional psychological ownership construct, it became evident when analysing the data that a four-factor model comprising 35 items was suitable.

Practical/managerial implications: If a sense of psychological ownership toward an organisation could be established amongst its employees by addressing the factors as measured by the South African Psychological Ownership Questionnaire, organisations could become enhanced workplaces and, as a result, sustainable performance could be promoted and staff could be retained.

Contribution/value-add: The instrument for measuring psychological ownership in a South African context could serve as a diagnostic tool that would allow human resource professionals and managers to determine employees’ sense of psychological ownership regarding their organisation and to focus specifically on weak dimensional areas that could be improved.


Psychological ownership; Scale development; Positive organisational behaviour


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