Dissertation Yomna Sameer


Innovation is essential for companies to survive and for countries to develop since it is the key for increased market share and sustained completive edge  (Baer & Frese, 2003; Dodgson, Gann, & Salter, 2005; George & Zhou, 2001; Kleysen & Street, 2001) and is related to advances in knowledge (West & Altink, 1996). Concepts related to innovation are innovative behavior and creativity. Creativity is the production of novel and useful ideas (Amabile, 1998), and innovation is the implementation of novel and useful ideas (Amabile, 1998; West, 2002). This dissertation is composed of five papers that are contributing to the two fields of management and positive psychology. Specifically, this dissertation integrates research on positive psychology with research on innovation as well as educational psychology to answer some research questions on what is it that makes employees, entrepreneurs and adolescents more creative and higher in their positive psychological capital (PsyCap). Luthans and colleagues (2007, p. 3) defined psychological capital or PsyCap as "an individual's positive psychological state of development and is characterized by: (1.) having confidence (self-efficacy) to take on and put in the necessary effort to succeed at challenging tasks; (2.) making a positive attribution (optimism) about succeeding now and in the future; (3.) preserving toward goals, and when necessary, redirecting paths to goals (hope) in order to succeed; and (4.) when beset by problems and adversity, sustaining and bouncing back and even beyond (resiliency) to attain success".

The first study integrated a number of streams of research on the antecedents of innovation and creativity to develop and test a model of innovative behavior. Regression analyses revealed that PsyCap, work characteristics, personal initiative, supportive climate, strategic attention and creative behavior predict innovative behavior which in turn affects satisfaction and engagement. In study 2, the model of innovative behavior and venture performance was tested with responses from 159 companies from different industries. Entrepreneurs' competencies of hope, optimism, self-efficacy, resilience as well as the four constructs combined together were direct predictors of entrepreneurs' creative behavior and trait personal initiative and also had indirect effects on innovative behavior. The relationship between these competencies and innovative behavior was mediated by creative behavior and personal initiative.  The third paper calls for cooperation between the two fields of character education and positive psychology and discusses similarities and possible links in research and what integration and possible research cooperation between the two fields could be done. As for study 4, we examine whether PsyCap predicts adolescents' life satisfaction and creativity in a sample of adolescents (N = 577). We also examine whether life meaning predicts PsyCap. Life meaning was found to predict PsyCap and PsyCap in turn was found to predict life satisfaction and creativity. Additionally, PsyCap mediated the relationship between meaning and life satisfaction and creativity. In study 5, adolescents (N = 577) from three different schools in Egypt completed a survey that assessed their creativity, positive psychological capital, life meaning, and life satisfaction. The two character education programs were found to have an impact on adolescents’ level of hope. A character education program with a religious and spiritual focus was found to have an impact on adolescents’ optimism. The five papers contribute to literature on creativity and innovation at the organizational, entrepreneurial and adolescents' levels. Research that linked innovation to positive psychology has been rare. Moreover, this dissertation covered a great gap in the literature of positive psychology and character education.