Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)



First Advisor

Bryan Fuller


In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the emerging field of positive organizational behavior. The field of Positive Organizational Behavior (POB) has its roots in the concept of "positive psychology" (Bakker & Schaufeli, 2008) but is more narrowly defined as "the study and application of positively oriented human resources strengths and psychological capacities that can be measured, developed, and effectively managed for performance improvement in today's workplace" (Luthans, 2002, p.698). More and more researchers have begun to emphasize what is right with people rather than focusing on what is wrong with people.

Given this opportunity, this dissertation explicitly focuses upon the power of positive psychological states and behaviors, such as psychological safety, job engagement, positive employee health, and proactive behaviors, which may have strong influence on employees' behavior in the organization. A new emerging leadership style, authentic leadership, was employed as an important antecedent to see how leadership can promote these positive states and behaviors.

Based on Ryff's (1995) positive human health concepts, this dissertation developed a positive employee health construct which focuses on organizational context and environments. A four dimensional measure was developed for this construct, including leading a purposeful worklife, quality connection to others, positive self-regard and mastery, and perception of negative events. An initial nomological network was tested for the construct validity.

In addition to developing a valid measure for positive employee health, another objective of this dissertation is to examine incremental predictive validity of authentic leadership and the relationship between authentic leadership and several previously unexamined outcomes (i.e., positive employee health, job engagement, proactivity, job performance, and workplace deviance behavior). Many scholars believe that the influence of authentic leadership has an important role in modern organization and society because it helps to restore basic confidence, hope, optimism, resiliency, and meaningfulness. This dissertation adopted a positive organizational behavior approach to furthering our understanding of the process by which authentic leadership influences several important positive outcomes.

Findings of this dissertation indicated that newly developed positive employee health construct is useful in predicting job satisfaction and life satisfaction. It is significantly related to but also distinguished from other similar construct, such as psychological well-being and vigor. In addition, this dissertation also found that authentic leadership can be used to predict employees' psychological safety, job engagement, positive employee health, knowledge sharing, and workplace deviance behavior. Indirect relationships between authentic leadership and job performance and proactivity through the mediation effect of job engagement were partially supported. Although authentic leadership can be distinguished from transformational leadership, it only showed incremental predict validity over transformational leadership with job engagement as outcome. Results of this study also suggest that need for leadership and perception of organizational politics may work as direct outcomes of authentic leadership rather than moderators as proposed.