Research studies

The role of positive psychological capital in activating sustainable performance standards

A descriptive analysis of the opinions of a sample of directors working in Baghdad Teaching Hospital / Medical City / Ministry of Health


Prepared by the researcher

Asrar Abdulzahra Ali – College of Administration & Economics- University of  Baghdad

Alaulddin B. Jawad  – College of Administration & Economics- University of  Baghdad

Hasan Oudah Abdullah – Basra College for Science and Technology

Democratic Arab Center

Journal of Constitutional Law and Administrative Sciences : Twelfth Issue – August 2021

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
ISSN  2626-7209
Journal of Constitutional Law and Administrative Sciences

:To download the pdf version of the research papers, please visit the following link


The research dealt with the dimensions of positive psychological money as an independent variable with its sub-dimensions (self-efficacy, optimism, hope, flexibility) and sustainable performance as a dependent variable with its sub-dimensions (sustainable economic performance, sustainable environmental performance, sustainable resource performance, sustainable social performance) and a sample of working managers was selected. In Baghdad Teaching Hospital, the research was based on the opinions of the 25 directors. The research problem was identified through the field experience conducted by researchers in the hospital and lies in the weakness of sustainable performance standards. Therefore, it was proposed to remove positive psychological capital to contribute to addressing the weakness of sustainable performance due to the lack of department manager’s sufficient knowledge of the dimensions of positive psychological capital on the one hand and its close relationship with sustainable performance. on the other hand, the research sought to achieve a set of objectives, the most important of which are: describing the dimensions of the research variables and the extent to which the dimensions of positive psychological capital contribute to activating sustainable performance standards, and testing the correlation and impact relationship between the research variables in the hospital. To achieve these goals, the research relied on the descriptive and analytical approach, and the researcher used the questionnaire and field coexistence in the practical side of the research, as well as research and studies related to the research topic in the theoretical side with reliance on (SPSS) to test and analyze hypotheses of relationship and effect between research variables. The research reached a set of conclusions through testing and analyzing the hypotheses adopted by the research. The research also concluded with a set of recommendations that, if taken, could contribute to activating the standards of sustainable performance.

the first axis: Research methodology

First: – The problem of the study

Today we are living in an unstable stage in the business environment, which has witnessed and is witnessing an increasing growth, and a variety of problems faced by individuals due to the technological development and rapid changes that have arisen in various aspects of contemporary life and affected all economic, social and political organizations in the countries of the world at different levels of progress and growth and affected On the structures of values ​​and social relations to the extent that it can be said that we are living today in a new world radically different from its predecessor, which greatly affected the ability of individuals to familiarize themselves with these accelerating events, as they strive to fulfill their desires and aspirations under these circumstances, as they face many frustrations that prevent them. And between what they seek to achieve, and they may feel disconnected from their societies, others, themselves and not belonging. Moreover, organizations at the present time are facing various challenges, including how to improve their environmental performance with the aim of reducing or finally eliminating the negative impacts of industrial activities on the environmental environment in a manner that preserves the permanence and continuity of their activity. Through what’s called sustainable performance.

Which prompted researchers to consider this a problem that requires research and investigation, and for the purpose of framing the aforementioned problem, the following questions must be raised:

A- Does Baghdad Teaching Hospital care about sustainable performance?

B- Is there a positive psychological capital role in Baghdad Teaching Hospital?

C- What is the level of Baghdad Teaching Hospital’s interest in positive psychological capital? What is the level of practicing positive psychological capital at Baghdad Teaching Hospital?

D- What is the level of relationship between positive psychological capital and sustainable performance in Baghdad Teaching Hospital?

Second: – The importance of research

 The research acquires its importance in the availability of two important variables, the first is the importance of positive psychological capital, and the second is the importance of sustainable performance. The importance of research can be determined as follows:

– The importance of research stems from the importance of the variables under consideration, positive psychological capital, sustainable performance, and these variables are in dire need for research, study and analysis in order to seek their data in the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

– That it be the beginning of the road to other studies of research due to the novelty of this topic on the theoretical and practical levels and the Iraqi organizations ’lack of such studies.

Diagnosing the extent of interest in developing and developing human resources in organizations. And then achieve the goals it seeks to achieve by focusing on Baghdad Teaching Hospital, the research community.

    Third: – Research objectives

 The research aims at a set of goals that it seeks to achieve, the main goal is to demonstrate the positive psychological capital in Baghdad Teaching Hospital and its impact on enhancing the sustainable performance of the organization, and the objectives can be classified in line with the factors related to the research purposes, and as shown:

A- Provide a basic understanding of positive psychological capital.

B- Identify the level of senior management practice of the research sample for sustainable performance. And to determine the extent of variation in the departments’ adoption of sustainable performance at the Baghdad Teaching Hospital level.

C- Recognizing the positive psychological effect of capital on sustainable performance.

D- Knowing the sustainable performance of the Baghdad Teaching Hospital and whether it could intersect or be integrated with the achieved practices of the positive psychological capital of the organization itself.

Fourth: – Definitions of terms

A- Positive psychological capital: the state of positive psychological development of the individual, which is characterized by his possession of the following :

1- Confidence (self-efficacy) to undertake and exert the necessary effort to succeed in assigning tasks.

2- Make a positive attribution (optimism) about success in the present and future.

3- Perseverance on goals and, when necessary, reorienting paths towards goals (hope) in order to achieve success.

4- When who suffers from problems and adversity, who is able to rise again (resilience) to achieve success.

B- Sustainable performance: – A purposeful and precisely organized social entity that includes many coordinated systems that contain specific activities, which are related to the external environment of the organization. These organizations, for their expansion and spread, have taken on three levels of management: the comprehensive level, the business level, or the people level (Chen, 2015: 20)

Fifth : The approach used in the research

The researchers adopted the (analytical descriptive approach) which is based on an accurate and detailed description of the phenomenon or problem under study, and is not limited to collecting information to describe the phenomenon, but relies on analysis and revealing the relationships between its dimensions and thus extracting results and standing on the most prominent indicators in a way that allows description and field analysis. (Al-Bayati & Al-Qadhi, 2010: 60)

Sixth: The hypothetical outline of the research

The outline of the research shows the set of relationships and logical effects that may be in a quantitative or descriptive form, and it brings together the main features of the reality that you are interested in. On this basis, the two researchers intend, through presenting this scheme, to be comprehensive of all main and subsidiary research variables in its overall form, and then the possibility of measuring the correlation and influence relationships between them individually or in a total, so that it embodies the research problem and the objectives expected to be achieved, and the research plan consists of Two types of variables are as follows:

Figure (1) the hypothetical outline of the research

Source: Authors

   Seven Research hypotheses

First, there is a positive impact of positive psychological capital on sustainable performance standards.

Second: There is a positive impact of optimism, hope, flexibility and self-efficacy on sustainable performance standards.

The second axis: previous studies

Table (1) previous studies

The name of the researcher and the year Title Summary
1 Aliyev, Ramin &Karakus, Mehmet : 2015 The effects of positive psychological capital and negative feelings  on students’ violence tendency” Violence is a serious threat to human rights. Violence still exists as one of the human social problems in developed and developing countries in the twenty-first century. There are many causes of violence, so it must be dealt with in the context of biological-psycho-social integrity. Its biological causes include genes, hormones, and physical and mental illnesses that cause cognitive changes. It is considered that its psychological causes include violence gains, parental attitudes, frustration, agitation,

It aims to determine the effects of psychological capital and negative emotions of students on their propensity for violence. The survey method was used.

A sample of 745 of 11 high school students.

Students’ psychological capital reduces their propensity for violence by reducing their negative emotions such as anxiety, stress and fatigue. It is beneficial for school administrators and teachers to invest in enhancing the levels of psychological capital for their students if they want to reduce their penchant for violence.

2 Avey, James B Joseph & Luthans, Fred&Smith, Ronda M & Palmer, Noel F :2010 “ ” Impact of Positive Psychological Capital on Employee Well-Being Over Time” The newly recognized infrastructure of positive psychological capital that consists of positive psychological resources (such as hope, optimism, and resilience) is linked to many attitudes, behavior and performance outcomes of employees. However, to date, the effect of this positive foundation building over time and on good results for employee well-being has not been tested Demonstrate the effect of positive psychological capital on employee well-being over time I use the search internet site

Of the 381 contributions that were originally reached online, 280 participants can be used. All study participants were working adults and had an average age of 31.7, the sample was predominantly white (86%), while 5% were Asian, 3% Hispanic,

3% are black, 1% are indigenous, and the remaining 2% do not indicate their ethnic background. The sample was 51% male. For the highest level of education completed, 70% indicated that they have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent; 16% of them have university degrees, 7% of them have a master’s degree or higher, 1% have not finished high school, and the remaining 6% have not reached their level of education. Participants represented a variety of industries, professions and job levels, and had an average of 10.5 years of work experience.

3 Uysal, Fahriye:2012 An integrated model for sustainable performance measurement in supply chain The changing competitiveness of individual organizations that supply chains compete against one another. It requires the supply chain assessment and improvement of supply chain performance which in turn requires the development of a performance measurement system for the sustainable supply chain.Attempting to apply relatively new and multi-criteria methods of decision making from graph and matrix theory

The DEMATEL method assists decision-makers in identifying informal relationships between standards. That is, through their application, the importance of four criteria can be determined and causal relationships can be built between the criteria. This relationship diagram is used in multi-criteria decision-making.

               The second axis – the theoretical side of the research

 Introduction …

 For the purpose of identifying the content of positive psychological capital, this topic will address (the emergence and definition of positive psychological capital, the dimensions of positive psychological capital, the importance of positive psychological capital).

In order to identify the content of sustainable performance, (the concept of sustainable performance, sustainable performance indicators) will be discussed.

First: the positive psychological capital

1- The emergence and definition of positive psychological capital: The first roots of positive psychological capital go back to the study of the psychologist Martin Seligman in 1998, who suggested that we should focus on the good aspects of individuals rather than focusing on aspects of weakness and mental disorders (Al-Abdi and Al-Abadi, 2012: 151) Then, many studies appeared on positive psychology and the positive organizational school, and its reflection on the school environment, in particular positive organizational behavior research (Luthans et al, 2006). , Which emerged as a branch of positive organizational behavior, which satisfies its best characteristics, and psychological capital is a concept that results from a mixture of the characteristics of a person who is subject to development, such as self-efficacy, hope, optimism, and flexibility, which is logical most everyone is composed of these characteristics.

Since positive psychological capital consists of self-efficacy, optimism, hope, and flexibility, and accordingly, these dimensions in their entirety constitute a definition of positive psychological capital, and accordingly, positive psychological capital can be defined as the study and application of the strengths of positive human resources and psychological capabilities that can be measured, developed and managed effectively in order to Improving performance in the workplace (Luthans, 2002: 60), while Cetin views psychological capital as the employee’s psychological state that transcends intellectual capital in obtaining and maintaining competitive advantage (Çetin, 2011: 373). Ahmed refers to the concept of positive psychological capital as the psychological qualities and capabilities that an individual possesses that help him to take and implement the behavior required to achieve success and leadership in the tasks assigned to him (Ahmed, 2017: 143)

2- Dimensions of psychological capital: that positive psychological capital consists of several dimensions, namely (self-efficacy, optimism, hope, flexibility)

  1. Self-efficacy: a person’s conviction (or confidence) in their ability to mobilize motivation, cognitive resources, or courses of action necessary for the successful implementation of a specific task in a given context (Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998: 66)
  2. Optimism: It is the connections that one makes and the method of interpretation that the individual uses in responding to events, and it is directed towards the evaluation of the past or events that occur repeatedly, that is, they are not directed towards the future only. Seligman, 1998)
  3. Hope: a positive motivational state based on an interactive feeling derived from goal orientation and planning paths to achieve goals (Snyder, 1991: 287).
  4. Resilience: the individual’s ability to bounce back from adversity, uncertainty, risk, or failure, and adapt to changing and stressful life demands (Masten, 2002: 74-88)

3- The importance of positive psychological capital: (Najm 2010) indicates that the possible consequences of the importance of positive psychological capital are as follows (Al-Shamaa, 2016: 43)

For the organization: improving work relations, assuming responsibility at work, improving administrative performance, accepting innovative and new initiatives of individuals, improving the organization’s behavior in the field of social responsibility and business ethics, and citizenship of the organization, better relationships with stakeholders, and a source of competitive advantage that cannot be imitated.

For the working individual, satisfaction with work, stability at work, high level of self-commitment at work, initiative in work, high morale, lack of absence, positive optimism for team work.

Second: sustainable performance

1- The concept of sustainable performance: The end of the twentieth century witnessed unprecedented remarkable changes in the company’s strategy and management towards sustainable thinking – the emergence of sustainability as a corporate strategy, and making sustainability an integral part of the company’s business strategy in order to obtain the basic benefits (Sebhatu, 2008: 75) Sustainability is understood as the ability to manage economic, social and environmental performance at the same time (Liebetruth, 2017: 539), and sustainability is an ethical concept associated with combating poverty and protecting the environment at the macro level. Moreover, sustainable development when integrated with the organization is called institutional sustainability. (Ombudsman) and the organization’s operational practices require three sustainable development goals, namely social justice, economic efficiency and environmental performance (Labuschagne, 2005: 380,

Sustainability has been defined as economic development that meets the needs of today’s generation without compromising the opportunity and capacity for future generations. Sustainability is complex and multifaceted, and covers a wide range of topics from habitat preservation, to energy consumption, to stakeholder satisfaction and financial outcomes. The original or literal meaning of this term is equivalent to permanence and implies the concept of durability, stability and eternity (Cheney, 2004: 230-231).

2- Sustainable performance indicators: The most important indicators of sustainable performance can be identified as follows: (Liebetruth, 2017: 3-6)

  1. Sustainable economic performance criteria: innovations created through supplier partnerships, total sales, number of shareholders, promotion of new investments, creation of new job opportunities, total taxes paid, etc.
  2. Sustainable social performance criteria: training time, innovative ideas applied from employees, employee turnover, recordable incidents of harassment and violence towards the employee, employee recordable complaints, customer complaints, part of total sales invested for social enterprises, effectiveness of discipline management, effectiveness of compensation management Effectiveness of employee recruitment, participation in decision-making, institutional efficiency, effectiveness of performance management system sub-criteria that are used to assess sustainable social performance.
  3. Sustainable environmental performance standards: waste minimization, number of ISO standards developed, part of the facilities using renewable energy, efficiency of reverse logistics system, resource efficiency, training on environmental issues, etc.

Th. Sustainable Resource Performance Standards: Total warehouse size, number of stores, number of people employed, energy consumption, water consumption, sub-criteria used to evaluate sustainable resource performance.

Data Analysis

Tests of Normality & Descriptive statistics

The normal distribution test will be conducted based on the Skewness and Kurtosis test, which is characterized by high accuracy and provides a clear picture of the nature of the data whether they are distributed naturally or not, and is suitable for cases where the data collected for a single sample. This test is performed by extracting the value of Z Skewness and Z Kurtosis, by dividing the value of Skewness and Kurtosis by its standard deviation (Khine, 2013). According to this method, the data are normally distributed if the Z value calculated for the Skewness and Kurtosis test falls within 1.96 at a significance level of 0.05 (Hair et al., 2010). The following table shows the results obtained:

Table (1): Tests of Normality of variables & Descriptive statistics

 variables Mean Std. Deviation Skewness Kurtosis
Statistic Std. Error Z Skewness Statistic Std. Error Z Kurtosis
Self-efficacy 3.28 0.936 -0.619 0.464 -1.33 0.034 0.902 0.04
Optimism 3.83 0.752 -0.444 0.464 -0.96 0.018 0.902 0.02
Hope 3.49 0.761 -0.698 0.464 -1.50 1.062 0.902 1.18
Flexibility 3.98 0.641 -0.611 0.464 -1.32 1.326 0.902 1.47
Sustainable economic performance standards 3.46 0.675 0.666 0.464 1.44 -0.132 0.902 -0.15
Sustainable social performance standards 3.66 0.699 -0.317 0.464 -0.68 -0.504 0.902 -0.56
Sustainable environmental performance standards 3.61 0.692 -0.898 0.464 -1.94 1.203 0.902 1.33
Sustainable resources performance standards 3.07 0.982 -0.438 0.464 -0.94 0.063 0.902 0.07
Positive psychological capital 3.3 0.81 -0.61 0.464 -1.31 0.049 0.902 0.05
Sustainable performance standards 3.69 0.575 -0.509 0.464 -1.10 1.001 0.902 1.11

From the results shown in the table shows that the distribution of data was normal, which calls for the use of parametric statistics in the following steps. Table 1 also shows the descriptive statistics using the mean and standard deviation. It is clear that the arithmetic means ranges from average (neutral) to agreement on the two main variables and their dimensions. In addition, the standard deviation was good to indicate that the data do not go far from its mean.

Correlation & Reliability of measuring instruments

Table (2) shows the correlation coefficient between study variables and their dimensions. We also used Cronbach’s Alpha to check the consistency of the measures and their internal consistency. As shown in table (2) the value of Cronbach’s Alpha (values between brackets) was exceeded (0.70), and thus be reliability acceptable administrative and behavioural research (Pallant, 2011). It is ranged between (.888 to .919) and is good. Our findings indicate a positive correlation between the two main variables (p <.01). There was a positive correlation between the dimensions (Optimism, Hope, and Flexibility) and the sustainable performance standards, except self-efficacy dimension did not get a significant correlation. Ultimately, these results provide initial support for the hypotheses of the study to some extent.

Table (2): Correlation and Reliability

Varaibles 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 Self-efficacy (.919)
2 Optimism .115 (.908)
3 Hope .471* .692** (.888)
4 Flexibility .287 .608** .677** (.905)
5 Sustainable economic performance standards .216 .319 .621** .317 (.908)
6 Sustainable social performance standards .024 .519** .614** .553** .582** (.911)
7 Sustainable environmental performance standards .513** .452* .618** .480* .383 .441* (.899)
8 Sustainable resources performance standards .566** .323 .638** .403* .534** .347 .607** (.898)
9 Positive psychological capital .695** .442* .656** .478* .427* .160 .644** .700** (.897)
10 Sustainable performance standards .337 .620** .628** .696** .691** .698** .632** .619** .654** (.894)
*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

Note: values between brackets is Cronbach’s Alpha reliability

Testing hypotheses

The current study model includes two variables (independent and dependent), we will use simple linear regression SPSS V.24. Tables 3 and 4 show the results of the main hypothesis and its four sub-hypotheses.

Table (3): Testing main hypotheses

Model Coefficients t Sig. F Sig. R2
Beta Std. Error
H1 (Constant) 5.674 .000 17.155 .000b .427
Positive psychological capital .654 .112 4.142 .000
a. Dependent Variable: Sustainable performance standards

As shown in Table (3), it is clear to us that the main hypothesis is acceptable (H1: p < 0.01), indicating the positive psychological capital positive effect in sustainable performance standards. The coefficient of selection for this model (R2= .427) appears to have been well and acceptable, indicating that the positive psychological capital will predict many changes in sustainable performance standards.

Table (4): Testing sub-hypotheses

Model Coefficients t Sig. F Sig. R2
Beta Std. Error





(Constant) 2.926 .008 99.487 .000b .743
Self-efficacy -.050- .036 -.854- .403
Optimism .256 .057 3.437 .003
Hope .612 .066 7.043 .000
Flexibility .240 .062 3.483 .002
a. Dependent Variable: Sustainable performance standards

 As shown in Table (4), it is clear to us that the three sub-hypotheses are acceptable (H1b, H1c, H1d: p < 0.01). This indicates that optimism, hope, and flexibility positively influence sustainable performance standards. There was no positive effect of self-efficacy on sustainable performance standards (H1a: p > 0.01). Notice in this model the coefficient of selection was higher from the main hypothesis model (R2= .743).

Discussion and recommendations


The results of this study appear to have many practical implications for developing and managing intrinsic and extrinsic motivators of human resources in the workplace today. Employees who are more reflective, optimistic, efficient and resilient may be more resilient to the difficulties and constraints in the dynamic global environmental contexts facing most organizations today than their counterparts who have less positive psychological capital. Although continued investment in financial, human and social capital is certainly necessary, it may not be sufficient in this environment. This study, in line with many studies (for example: (Luthans et al, 2006) or (Çetin, 2011: 373)), confirms that investing in psychological capital may result in very large returns that exceed other traditional forms of capital investment.

This study has several direct implications for human resource development and performance management. The results provide preliminary empirical support to recent proposals indicating that a higher key factor called psychological capital and its components of hope, optimism, effectiveness, and resilience may be open to organizational leadership and human resource development in the workplace to improve organizational performance.

The process of obtaining positive human capital requires long-term investment, and this is not what is done in organizations. Perhaps the reason is that managers want to achieve results in the short term that improve their image in front of the stakeholders, that this conflicts with the will of positive human capital. Of course, social, economic and environmental standards of sustainability require a long time to show positive results, and this is what makes them difficult to achieve for most managers. With this successful managers they had successful and fruitful stories with patience that achieved the results of the sustainability of performance or performance based on sustainability standards in organizations.

In the end, the results we obtained indicate that investing the human factor positively will certainly achieve positive results, but these results will appear after a period of time due to the long time required for the process of obtaining positive human capital that is flexible, efficient, contemplative and optimistic, in addition to the length of time for the consequences to appear. To manage human capital as a positive investment. This study also indicates the need for public organizations to focus better on human capital due to the difficulty of the matter compared to the private sector, due to the strict and stable laws and procedures related to the recruitment, training and development process, which give less flexibility to managers in their focus on positively managing human capital.


Based on what was discussed from the results that were reached and the conclusions obtained from those results, we propose a number of recommendations that we consider important to enhance sustainable performance as follows:

1- There is a concept that most organizations on the ground do not focus on is “positive human capital management.” The management process requires organizations in the beginning to plan and organize appropriately and appropriately to obtain the outputs of that process as required. Which will make the performance sustainable instead of making it erratic and negatively affect the organizational effectiveness in the end. Therefore successful organizations are the leaders in actually managing people and what is inside them positively as an investment for the future.

2- The hope affects the definition of future goals and paths. Therefore, if employees of that capacity are recruited or current employees are trained on that, the results will be amazing at the individual level and then the desired organizational level.

3- Including the optimism process and how to set it up in practice is important and necessary. This is done either by encouraging informal discussions that call for optimism through planting agents or experts in this aspect, or officially through motivational courses and seminars to raise the morale and energy of employees at work.

4- High efficiency helps in overcoming obstacles and successfully overcoming them through knowledge and positive planning for them, so discussing previous obstacles and how to overcome them or even failures will be the best training to increase the efficiency of employees in a way that develops them to better deal with the difficulties in the future.

5- The process of recruiting flexible employees is extremely difficult. It is a difficult matter on the ground that comes from the difficulty of actually defining that capacity for someone. This applies to how it is created or developed in employees. Therefore, organizations should focus on making career paths or promotions related in one way or another to this very important characteristic. It can also be done by linking the rewards and incentives system with the flexibility that the employee enjoys, which makes employees want to develop themselves and develop them for the benefit of the organization in the end.

6- From the academic point of view, the process of shedding light on the concept of human capital is very necessary. With regard to this study, the process of adding other variables related, for example, to leadership or emotional and cognitive factors perceived by employees to encourage them to continue towards the success of their investment process as human beings. We also recommend the necessity of applying this type of studies in various industrial and service sectors in Iraq to ensure the effectiveness of the model on the ground in a better and stronger way.


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