Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Osman Özturgut


Judith Beauford


Sharon Herbers


Human resource development has customarily focused on social and human capital; however, an innovative new theory within positive organizational behavior focuses on psychological resources. The purpose of this research was to examine the differences across generations on dimensions of psychological resources using the core construct psychological capital. Using a quantitative survey research approach, this study focused on the differences among the three largest generations in the current workforce: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. The independent variable, generations, was defined through a self-identified connection with age and significant events. The dependent variable, psychological capital (PsyCap), was defined as a numeric score representing respondent’s psychological state of development determined through the PCQ-24 instrument. The sample for this study consisted of 347 participants obtained through personal and professional contacts. The results of the ANOVA suggested there is a statistically significant difference among the generations. Specifically, Baby Boomers had higher PsyCap scores than the younger generations. There was also evidence suggesting a difference among generations in three of the four subscales: both Baby Boomers and Generation Y were higher than Generation X in PsyCap efficacy; Baby Boomers were highest, Generation X were in the middle, and Generation Y were the lowest in PsyCap resiliency; and Baby Boomers were higher than both Generation X and Generation Y in PsyCap optimism. The three generations showed equivalent levels of hopefulness. Evidence of differences imply that generational consideration be given in strategies to maximize job satisfaction, commitment, and retention for different generations, specifically training to increase PsyCap among employees within the younger generations. This finding also contributed to the growing field of research on both generations and PsyCap.