Driving the Science of Organizational Well-being and Performance Globally

Our Mission

Welcome to the Positive Organizational Behavior Institute or what we fondly call the POBI. Our non-profit mission is to identify, develop and leverage untapped, and often underutilized, positive psychological capital resources for improved well-being and performance within organizations.

The POBI is a Washington, DC based think tank of select global scholars who lead the creation of knowledge in how organizations can respond and thrive within volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environments. We live in volatile times, during what many of us consider to be a seismic paradigm shift globally redefining “who we are” and what it fundamentally means to be “human.” The good news is that collectively, the POBI Fellows have been studying Positive Organizational Behavior (POB), and specifically Psychological Capital (PsyCap), for decades now, consistently demonstrating significant impacts on well-being and performance— and most importantly often within VUCA contexts such as the present (i.e. military, special forces, first responders, intelligence communities, government, schools, etc.). The 35+ POBI Fellows are the world’s experts in this space. As a result, POBI Fellows are nominated by invitation only based upon their seminal research and impact on POB and PsyCap within the academic literature.  POBI Fellows represent every continent around the globe, leading to powerful collaborations and scientific research addressing organizations most pressing issues.

At the POBI, we know from our extensive body of evidence-based scientific literature that building POB and PsyCap at individual, group and team (collective), leader, and organizational levels provides very solid footing in our preparation, response, and recovery within VUCA contexts as well as support current and future organizational well-being and performance.

Our mission


Dr. Fred Luthans is an internationally recognized, long-time organizational behavior (OB) professor at the University of Nebraska. He authored the first mainline OB text in 1973 and was elected by his peers as President of the Academy of Management in 1985-86. Initially his best-known research centered around behavioral performance management (OB Mod books with Kreitner, 1975. 1985).  Then at the turn of the century, he founded and wrote the seminal articles (2002a, 2002b) on what he termed Positive Organizational Behavior (POB) and soon after the seminal articles (2004 with Senior POBI Fellow Carolyn Youssef-Morgan and 2004 with POBI Fellows and sons Brett and Kyle Luthans) on Psychological Capital or simply PsyCap (books with Senior POBI Fellows Bruce Avolio and Carolyn Youssef-Morgan (2007, 2015, Oxford University Press).Luthans was stimulated by and drew from the then just emerging positive psychology movement. As a Gallup Senior Research Scientist, in 1999 Fred participated in the first Positive Psychology Summit held at then Gallup Headquarters in his hometown of Lincoln, NE.

The scientific criteria Luthans set for PsyCap were that the positive psychological resource must be based on theory and research, have valid measurement, be state-like and thus be open to development, and Increase well-being and performance. The positive psychological resources which were determined to best meet these inclusion criteria were: Hope, Efficacy (confidence), Resilience, and Optimism (or the HERO within). Luthans and his colleagues (especially those listed as POBI Fellows) then proceeded to do the basic research, theory building and publications in the top peer-review academic journals. They initially focused on the individual level aimed at desirable workplace attitudes, behaviors, and, especially, performance. However, in recent years he has been giving increased attention to mental and physical well-being and to research refinements such as mediation/moderation, with POBI Fellow Peter Harms validation of an implicit alternative measure to the self-report PCQ-12 and 24 and with POBI’s Founder & President Julie Broad, application at team (collective or cPsyCap) and with POBI Fellow Dianne Welsh organizational (or oPsyCap) levels and more domains such as in the military, education, health care, public sector, sports and across cultures globally. This extensive and continually expanding body of theory and research serves as the foundation for PsyCap which is now recognized and cited by all OB, I-O and positive psychology scholars. Fred has recently been notified that he is on the Web of Science Top 1% of Cited Researchers in the world and the #1 cited in Organizational Behavior texts and an H index of 120, approaching 150,000 citations, and i-10 of almost 300.

Our mission


Unlike all other institutes and consulting firms, the POBI is structured and positioned very uniquely. Specifically, leading university-based academics (POBI Fellows) who are cutting edge researchers from around the world partner up with leading POBI Practitioner Scholars who are experts in team and enterprise wide implementations and practice. We have found this approach to solve the “learning doing” or theory/research – effective practice gap. Combining  this with our novel perspective of less is more (e.g., shorter interventions that drive higher effect sizes is our gold standard) and non-stigma mental health applications are optimal for today’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) environment.  


POBI is driven, experienced and capable of answering the increasingly desperate call to address and help solve through our positive PsyCap approach today’s most pressing issues such as:

  • Well-Being and Performance
  • Leadership Development
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Serious Gaming & Simulations for Decision Making in VUCA environments (Meta-Cognitive Development)
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Organizational Transformation & Change
  • Performance Management
  • Human Resource Development
  • Coaching/Mentoring, Career Planning
  • Combating Stress, PTSD, Depression, Addictions, Burnout, and Suicide
  • Incivility, Bullying, Sexual Harassment, Gun Violence
  • Physical and Psychological Safety
  • Work-Family Conflict, Parenting
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Concussion, Prevention, Recovery
  • Cognitive Interventions Manipulating Neuroplasticity
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
  • Schools and Universities
  • Sports Performance and Treatment of Injuries


POB and PsyCap Resources

While popular press and organizational training programs are full of “feel good” moments that may boost positive emotions, at the POBI, we are relentlessly focused on well-being and performance. In our ground-breaking research committed to increasing well-being and performance within organizations, we have found four psychological resources drawn from positive psychology meeting the Luthans  inclusion criteria. Published research over the years has consistently demonstrated these four  positive resources synergistically combine to form the core construct of PsyCap or HERO within. Importantly, the research shows this combined PsyCap core construct out-performs each of the individual, or when linked with one or two of the others, positive resources.

PsyCap Hope

PsyCap Hope determines how we set meaningful goals, develop creative pathways towards achieving those goals, garner the energy to take action towards these goals, and successfully plan for and navigate obstacles along our goal pathway.

PsyCap Efficacy

PsyCap Efficacy is about our positive beliefs about ourselves and our ability to achieve our goals; in plain and simple language, this is confidence, and it is the most important and valuable of all the PsyCap resources.

PsyCap Resilience

PsyCap Resilience is about our ability to reframe heat of the moment responses when we encounter obstacles and adversity so that we can recover, or bounce back quickly. It’s also about our ability to not only bounce back, but go on to achieve more.

Psycap Optimism

PsyCap Optimism is about our positive beliefs and expectations about the past, present, and future.

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