Original Research

Effect of psychological capital and resistance to change on organisational citizenship behaviour

Loyd Beal III, Jacqueline M. Stavros, Matthew L. Cole
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 39, No 2 | a1136 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v39i2.1136 | © 2013 Loyd Beal III, Jacqueline M. Stavros, Matthew L. Cole | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 April 2013 | Published: 16 September 2013

About the author(s)

Loyd Beal III, College of Management, Lawrence Technological University, United States
Jacqueline M. Stavros, College of Management, Lawrence Technological University, United States
Matthew L. Cole, College of Management, Lawrence Technological University, United States


Orientation: Research in positive organisational behaviour shows that positive psychological capital (PsyCap) is a construct that enables self-efficacy, optimism, hope and resilience to succeed in the workplace and that employee resistance to change is a key barrier to organisational change.

Research purpose: This study examined the possible role of resistance to change as a moderator of the predictive relationship between PsyCap and organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB), in which OCB served as an index for measuring positive organisational change.

Motivation for the study: Little empirical research has investigated the application of positive organisational behaviour to government organisations undergoing organisational change. Organisations can use the study results to increase positive outcomes and reduce resistance in government organisations experiencing a holistic change intervention.

Research design, approach and method: The data comprised a cross-sectional survey of 97 employees from a government organisation that provides life-cycle career management support. Employees completed the 24-item psychological capital questionnaire, the 16-item organisational citizenship behaviour scale and the 17-item resistance to change scale. Data analyses used a mixed methods approach to merge quantitative inferential statistics with qualitative thematic analysis.

Main findings: The quantitative analysis yielded high levels of resistance to change that moderated the positive effect of PsyCap on organisational citizenship behaviour. The thematic analysis revealed that affective, behavioural and cognitive forms of resistance to change were prevalent.

Practical/managerial implications: Organisational leaders should seek to reduce resistance and increase the resources that organisations need to effect positive organisational change.

Contribution/value-add: This study adds to the growing body of knowledge about positive organisational behaviour in government organisations.


Positive psychological capital; Resistance to change; Organisational citizenship behaviour; Positive organisational behaviour


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