Original Research

An evaluation of the Positive Emotional Experiences Scale: A preliminary analysis

Rene van Wyk
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 42, No 1 | a1337 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v42i1.1337 | © 2016 Rene van Wyk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 December 2015 | Published: 25 November 2016

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Rene van Wyk, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Orientation: The positive organisational behaviour movement emphasises the advantages of psychological strengths in business. The psychological virtues of positive emotional experiences can potentially promote human strengths to the advantages of business functioning and the management of work conditions. This is supported by Fredrickson’s broaden-and-build theory that emphasises the broadening of reactive thought patterns through experiences of positive emotions.

Research purpose: A preliminary psychometric evaluation of a positive measurement of dimensions of emotional experiences in the workplace, by rephrasing the Kiefer and Barclay Toxic Emotional Experiences Scale.

Motivation for the study: This quantitative Exploratory Factor Analysis investigates the factorial structure and reliability of the Positive Emotional Experiences Scale, a positive rephrased version of the Toxic Emotional Experiences Scale.

Research approach, design and method: This Exploratory Factor Analysis indicates an acceptable three-factor model for the Positive Emotional Experiences Scale. These three factors are: (1) psychological recurrent positive state, (2) social connectedness and (3) physical refreshed energy, with strong Cronbach’s alphas of 0.91, 0.91 and 0.94, respectively.

Main findings: The three-factor model of the Positive Emotional Experiences Scale provides a valid measure in support of Fredrickson’s theory of social, physical and psychological endured personal resources that build positive emotions.

Practical/Managerial implications: Knowledge gained on positive versus negative emotional experiences could be applied by management to promote endured personal resources that strengthen positive emotional experiences.

Contribution/value-add: The contribution of this rephrased Positive Emotional Experiences Scale provides a reliable measure of assessment of the social, physical and endured psychological and personal resources identified in Fredrickson’s broaden-and-build theory. Application of this Positive Emotional Experiences Scale as a diagnostic tool may allow businesses to work towards more positive emotional experiences in the workplace.


positive psychology; psychological capital; positive organizational behaviour; negative emotions; Fredrickson broaden-and-build theory


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