The mediating effect of positive psychological capital between autonomous work environment and self-directed behavior: evidence from South Korea

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Developing self-directed employees is often regarded as a key factor for achieving sustainable and continual organizational success in business. Recently, some leading business organizations have introduced and implemented autonomy supporting managerial practices. However, not all business organizations have been able to reap the benefits of those practices. The purpose of this study is to identify and understand the impact of employee positivity on the self-directed employee behavior in a non-western work context. This study investigates the relationships between employee perception of autonomous work environment (AWE), positive psychological capital (PsyCap), and self-directed behavior (SDB) in large Korean automotive parts manufacturing companies. In total, 331 surveys from 43 teams in six organizations were gathered and analyzed using multiple quantitative techniques. Results indicated that the PsyCap significantly mediated the relationship between AWE and SDB for subordinates (Sobel B =.513, SE =.059, p <.001) and for supervisors (Sobel B =.704, SE =.193, p <.001). Results of this study indicate that autonomy supporting managerial practices would not be effective in promoting self-directed employee behavior without nurturing employee positivity. Several strategic HRD interventions such as PsyCap training and performance management system improvement were proposed to enhance self-directed employee behavior.

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Human Resource Development International

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