Measuring Flourishing @ Work Interventions: The Development and Validation of the Flourishing-at-Work Scale

  • Sebastiaan RothmannSr.Email author
  • Llewellyn Ellardus Van Zyl
  • Cindy Rautenbach


This study aimed to validate a scale that could be used to measure the effectiveness of interventions aimed at enhancing flourishing at work. A cross-sectional survey design was used, with a stratified random sample of 779 employees in a company in the fast-moving consumer goods industry. The Flourishing-at-Work Scale and Job Demands-Resources Scale were administered. The results supported a 10-factor model of flourishing at work, including a general flourishing factor. The 10 factors included positive affect, low negative affect, and job satisfaction (three factors that represent dimensions of emotional well-being), autonomy, competence, relatedness, engagement, meaningful work, and learning (which can be regarded as dimensions of psychological well-being), and social well-being. The reliabilities of the overall scale and the 10 subscales were acceptable. The results showed that specific types of flourishing (or the lack thereof) explained variance in covariates (overload, negative work-home interaction, and advancement) over and above the variance already explained by the global quantity of flourishing. The Flourishing-at-Work Scale can be used as a valid and reliable tool to measure the impact of interventions developing a flourishing workforce.


Flourishing Work Psychological well-being Emotional well-being Social well-being 


  1. Ahuja, S. (2016). The talent journey: A study of employee retention strategies in the IT sector. International Journal of Research in IT and Management, 6(3), 69–78.Google Scholar
  2. Ariza-Montes, A., Molina-Sánchez, H., Ramirez-Sobrino, J., & Giorgi, G. (2018). Work engagement and flourishing at work among nuns: The moderating role of human values. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1874.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Asparouhov, T., & Muthén, B. (2009). Exploratory structural equation modeling. Structural Equation Modeling, 16, 397–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2018). Multiple levels in job demands-resources theory: Implications for employee well-being and performance. Handbook of well-being. Salt Lake City, UT: DEF Publishers.Google Scholar
  5. Bakker, A. B., & Sanz-Vergel, A. I. (2013). Weekly work engagement and flourishing: The role of hindrance and challenge job demands. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83(3), 397–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Basson, M. J. (2015). Pathways to flourishing pharmacy students (Doctoral thesis). Retrieved from
  7. Bollen, K. A. (1989). Structural equations with latent variables. New York, NY: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen, F. F. (2007). Sensitivity of goodness of fit indexes to lack of measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modeling, 14, 464–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clarke, M. C., Koch, L. C., & Hill, E. J. (2004). The work-family interface: Differentiating balance and fit. Family Consumer Science Research Journal, 33, 121–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Conger, J. A., & Fulmer, R. M. (2003). Developing your leadership pipeline. Harvard Business Review, 81(12), 76–85.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Cropanzano, R., & Wright, T. A. (2001). When a “happy” worker is really a “productive” worker: A review and further refinement of the happy-productive worker thesis. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 53(3), 182–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Robinson, R. E. (2014). Culture, time, and the development of talent. In M. Csikszentmihalyi (Ed.), The systems model of creativity: The collected works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pp. 27–46). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. De Villiers, M. (2009). The relationship between employee wellness and career anchors (Unpublished master’s dissertation). University of South Africa, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  14. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human modelling. New York, NY: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The ‘what’ and ‘why’ of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behaviour. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health. Canadian Psychology, 49(3), 182–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2011). Levels of analysis: Regnant causes of modeling and well-being: The role of psychological needs. Psychological Inquiry, 22, 17–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Deery, M., & Jago, L. (2015). Revisiting talent management, work-life balance and retention strategies. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 27(3), 453–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., & Gevers, J. M. (2015). Job crafting and extra-role modeling: The role of work engagement and flourishing. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 91, 87–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., Nachreiner, F., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2001). The job demands—Resources model of burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 499–512.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Diedericks, E. (2012). Flourishing of employees in the information technology industry in South Africa (Doctoral thesis). North-West University, South Africa.Google Scholar
  22. Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542–575.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Diener, E., Pavot, W., & Sandvik, E. (1997). Happiness is the frequency, not intensity, of positive versus negative affect. In F. Strack, M. Argyle, & N. Schwartz (Eds.), Subjective well-being (pp. 119–139). Oxford, United Kingdom: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  24. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Diener, E., Tay, L., & Oishi, S. (2013). Rising income and the subjective well-being of Nations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(2), 267–276.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Tov, W., Kim-Prieto, C., Choi, D. W., Oishi, S., et al. (2010). New well-being measures: Short scales to assess flourishing and positive and negative feelings. Social Indicators Research, 97, 143–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Durkheim, E. (1951). Suicide. New York, NY: Free Press.Google Scholar
  28. Fredrickson, B. L. (2006). Unpacking positive emotions: Investigating the seeds of positive emotions. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1, 57–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Geurts, S. A. E., Taris, T. W., Kompier, M. A. J., Dikkers, J. S. E., Van Hoof, M. L. M., & Kinnunen, U. M. (2005). Work-home interaction from a work psychological perspective. Work & Stress, 19, 319–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hammond, C., & Feinstein, L. (2006). Are those who flourished at school healthier adults? What role for adult education? Wider Benefits of Learning Research Report No. 17.Google Scholar
  31. Hobfoll, S. E. (1998). Stress, culture and community. New York, NY: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Howard, J. L., Gagné, M., Morin, A. J. S., & Forest, J. (2018). Using bifactor exploratory structural equation modeling to test for a continuum structure of motivation. Journal of Management, 44(7), 2638–2664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Huppert, F. A., & So, T. C. (2013). Flourishing across Europe: Application of a new conceptual framework for defining well-being. Social Indicators Research, 110(3), 837–861.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hyman, J., Baldry, C., Scholarios, D., & Bunzel, D. (2003). Work-life imbalance in the new service sector economy. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 41, 215–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kahn, W. A. (1990). Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at work. Academy of Management Journal, 33, 692–724.Google Scholar
  36. Kahn, W. A., & Heaphy, E. D. (2014). Relational context of personal engagement at work. In C. Truss, R. Delbridge, E. Soane, K. Alfes, & A. Shantz (Eds.), Employee engagement in theory and practice (pp. 163–179). London, United Kingdom: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Keyes, C. L. M. (1998). Social well-being. Social Psychology Quarterly, 61, 121–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Keyes, C. L. M. (2002). The mental health continuum: From languishing to flourishing in life. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 43(2), 207–222.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Keyes, C. L. M. (2005). Mental illness and/or mental health? Investigating the axioms of the complete state model of health. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 539–548.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Keyes, C. L. M. (2007). Promoting and protecting mental health as flourishing. American Psychologist, 62, 95–108.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Keyes, C. L. M. (2013). Protecting and promoting positive mental health: Early and often throughout the lifespan. In C. L. M. Keyes (Ed.), Mental well-being: International contributions to the study of positive mental health (pp. 3–28). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Keyes, C. L. M., & Annas, J. (2009). Feeling good and functioning well: Distinctive concepts in ancient philosophy and contemporary science. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 197–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kline, R. B. (2010). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  44. Kozlowski, S. W. J., Chao, G. T., Grand, J. A., Braun, M. T., & Kuljanin, G. (2016). Capturing the multilevel dynamics of emergence: Computational modeling, simulation, and virtual experimentation. Organizational Psychology Review, 6, 3–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Marsh, H., Morin, A., Parker, P., & Kaur, G. (2014). Exploratory structural equation modeling: An integration of the best features of exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 10, 85–110.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. May, D. R., Gilson, R. L., & Harter, L. M. (2004). The psychological conditions of meaningfulness, safety and availability and the engagement of the human spirit at work. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 77, 11–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mendes, F., & Stander, M. W. (2011). Positive organisation: The role of leader behaviour in work engagement and retention. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 37(1), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Morin, A. J. S., Arens, A., & Marsh, H. (2016). A bifactor exploratory structural equation framework for the identification of distinct sources of construct-relevant psychometric multidimensionality. Structural Equation Modeling, 23, 116–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Morin, A. J. S., Marsh, H., & Nagengast, B. (2013). Exploratory structural equation modeling: An introduction. In G. R. Hancock & R. O. Mueller, (Eds.), Structural equation modeling: A second course (2nd ed.). Greenwich, CT: IAP.Google Scholar
  50. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2018). Mplus users’ guide (7th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  51. Noble, T., & McGrath, H. (2015). PROSPER: A new framework for positive education. Psychology of Well-being, 5(2), 1–17.Google Scholar
  52. Piliavin, J., & Siegl, E. (2007). Health benefits of volunteering in the Wisconsin longitudinal study. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 48, 450–464.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Porath, C., Spreitzer, G., Gibson, C., & Garnett, F. G. (2012). Thriving at work: Toward its measurement, construct validation, and theoretical refinement. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33, 250–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Raykov, T. (2009). Interval estimation of revision effect on scale reliability via covariance structure analysis. Structural Equation Modeling, 16, 539–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Reise, S. P., Kim, D. S., Mansolf, M., & Widaman, K. F. (2016). Is the bifactor model a better model or is it just better at modeling implausible responses? Application of iteratively reweighted least squares to the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 51(6), 818–838.Google Scholar
  56. Rojas, M., & Veenhoven, R. (2013). Contentment and affect in the assessment of happiness. Social Indicators Research, 110, 415–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rosenthal, T. L., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2014). Social learning and cognition. Academic Press.Google Scholar
  58. Rothbard, N. P., & Patil, S. V. (2012). Being there: Work engagement and positive organizational scholarship. In K. S. Cameron & G. M. Spreitzer (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of positive organizational scholarship (pp. 56–68). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Rothmann, S. (2013). From happiness to flourishing at work: A southern African perspective. In M. P. Wissing (Ed.), Well-being research in South Africa: Cross-cultural advances in positive psychology (Vol. 4, pp. 123–152). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rothmann, S., & Baumann, C. (2014). Work-life interference, psychological conditions, and engagement in Namibia. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, 17(4), 515–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Rothmann, S., Diedericks, E., & Swart, J. P. (2013). Manager relations, psychological need satisfaction and intention to leave in the agricultural sector. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 39(2), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rothmann, S., Mostert, K., & Strydom, M. (2006). A psychometric evaluation of the job demands-resources scale in South Arica. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 32(4), 76–86.Google Scholar
  63. Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069–1081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. H. (1998). The contours of positive human health. Psychological Inquiry, 9, 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. H. (2006). Best news yet on the six-factor model of well-being. Social Science Research, 35, 1103–1119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Saridakis, G., & Cooper, C. (2016). Research handbook on employee turnover. Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Satterfield, J. M., & Hughes, E. (2007). Emotion skills training for medical students: A systematic review. Medical Education, 41, 935–941.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Schaufeli, W. B. (2014). What is engagement? In C. Truss, R. Delbridge, E. Soane, K. Alfes, & A. Shantz (Eds.), Employee engagement in theory and practice (pp. 15–35). London, United Kingdom: Routledge.Google Scholar
  69. Schaufeli, W. B., & Bakker, A. B. (2004). Job demands, job resources, and their relationship with burnout and engagement: A multi-sample study. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25, 293–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Schwarz, N., & Strack, F. (1991). Evaluating one’s life: A judgment model of subjective well-being. In F. Strack, M. Argyle, & N. Schwartz (Eds.), Subjective well-being (pp. 27–47). Oxford, United Kingdom: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  71. Seeman, M. (1991). Alienation and anomie. In J. P. Robinson, P. R. Shaver, & L. S. Wrightsman (Eds.), Measures of personality and psychological attitudes (pp. 291–374). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York, NY: Free Press.Google Scholar
  73. Shankar, T., & Jyotsna Bhatnagar, J. (2010). A model of work-life balance, employee engagement, emotional consonance/dissonance and turnover intention. Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, 46, 1–20.Google Scholar
  74. Son, J., & Wilson, J. (2012). Volunteer work and hedonic, eudemonic, and social well-being. Sociological Forum, 27(3), 658–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Spreitzer, G. M., Lam, C. F., & Fritz, C. (2010). Engagement and human thriving: Complementary perspectives on energy and connections to work. In A. B. Bakker & M. P. Leiter (Eds.), Work engagement: A handbook of essential theory and research (pp. 132–146). New York, NY: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  76. Spreitzer, G., Porath, L. C., & Gibson, C. B. (2012). Toward human sustainability: How to enable more thriving at work. Organizational Dynamics, 41, 155–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Stander, M. W., & Rothmann, S. (2010). Psychological empowerment, job insecurity and employee engagement. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 36(1), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Steger, M. F. (2009). Meaning in life. In S. J. Lopez (Ed.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology (2nd ed., pp. 679–687). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  79. Steger, M. F., Dik, B. J., & Duffy, R. D. (2012). Measuring meaningful work: The work and meaning inventory (WAMI). Journal of Career Assessment, 20, 322–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Steger, M. F., Kashdan, T. B., Sullivan, B. A., & Lorentz, D. (2008). Understanding the search for meaning in life: Personality, cognitive style, and the dynamic between seeking and experiencing meaning. Journal of Personality, 76, 199–228.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Taris, T. W., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2015). Individual well-being and performance at work: A conceptual and theoretical overview. In M. van Veldhoven & R. Peccei (Eds.), Well-being and performance at work: The role of context (pp. 15–34). London, United Kingdom: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  82. Tatoglu, E., Glaister, A. J., & Demirbag, M. (2016). Talent management motives and practices in an emerging market: A comparison between MNEs and local firms. Journal of World Business, 51(2), 278–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Van Zyl, L. E., & Stander, M. W. (2013). A strengths-based approach towards coaching in a multicultural environment. In J. White, R. Motching & M. Lux (Eds.), Theory and practice of the person-centered approach: Interconnections beyond psychotherapy. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  84. Wang, J., & Wang, X. (2012). Structural equation modeling: Applications using Mplus. Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley.Google Scholar
  85. West, S. G., Taylor, A. B., & Wu, W. (2012). Model fit and model selection in structural equation modeling. In R. H. Hoyle (Ed.), Handbook of structural equation modeling (pp. 209–231). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastiaan RothmannSr.
    • 1
    Email author
  • Llewellyn Ellardus Van Zyl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cindy Rautenbach
    • 1
  1. 1.Optentia Research Focus AreaNorth-West University (VTC)VanderbijlparkSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Industrial EngineeringEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations