Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Xiaoxiao Hu

Committee Member

Konstantin Cigularov

Committee Member

Robin Lewis


Optimism serves as a powerful resource that can help employees accomplish tasks at work and overcome challenges. However, there are still psychological connections that need to be drawn to explain why optimism has these effects. The Job Demands-Resources Model and the general resource perspective have previously investigated resources in the workplace and the relationships they hold with different work outcomes. In this study, work engagement was investigated as a mediator between optimism and task performance, work withdrawal, and turnover intention. Transformational leadership was investigated as a moderator for the relationship between optimism and work engagement. Optimism was expected to have a positive relationship with all three work outcomes through work engagement. Furthermore, transformational leadership was expected to influence the relationship between optimism and outcomes. These hypotheses were tested using data from Chinese business organizations.

Results showed that optimism was significantly correlated with all three work outcomes. However, work engagement was not found to be a significant mediator, and transformational leadership did not significantly moderate the relationship between optimism and work engagement. Although most hypotheses were not supported, these results still represent important findings for optimism. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as suggestions for future research, are discussed.


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