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Employees’ psychological capital and innovative behavior in higher education

Barbara Rebecca Mutonyi (Inland School of Business and Social Sciences, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences – Lillehammer Campus, Lillehammer, Norway)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 17 May 2021

Issue publication date: 23 June 2021




The purpose of this study is to examine the role of psychological capital (PsyCap) among employees in the higher education (HE) sector. Specifically, the aim of this paper is threefold. First, this study explores the effect of psychological empowerment (PsyEmp) and the two organizational culture factors of clan and market on PsyCap. Second, the study also examines the relationships between PsyEmp, PsyCap and individual innovative behavior (IIB). Third, this paper examines the mediating role of PsyCap on IIB and PsyEmp.


A conceptual model was developed and tested on 250 university employees in Norway. Partial least squares structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data.


The analysis shows that both PsyCap and PsyEmp have a direct positive relationship with IIB. The results also reveal that PsyEmp, clan culture and market culture are all positively and significantly linked to PsyCap. The relationship between IIB and PsyEmp is also mediated by PsyCap.


This study extends the knowledge of PsyCap in the context of the HE sector. For managers, the study highlights the importance of investing in and managing employees’ PsyCap. In addition, although perceived PsyEmp at work can strengthen the level of IIB among employees, employees’ PsyCap can be much more influential. Furthermore, the study contributes new knowledge regarding the symbiotic nature of various organizational culture types and the benefits of having both a clan culture and a market culture in enhancing organizational capabilities.



This paper forms part of a special section “QMOD-ICQSS Conference”, guest edited by Su Mi Dahlgaard-Park.

The author wish to express gratitude to the study subjects for their participation in this research, and to the two supervisors for their encouragement. A humble thanks to the reviewer(s) for the valuable comments and suggestions for improvements on the structure and content of the paper.


Mutonyi, B.R. (2021), "Employees’ psychological capital and innovative behavior in higher education", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 198-215.



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