My interest has always been in the assessment and development of employed and unemployed people’s potential, specifically within multicultural and cross-cultural contexts. After completing my PhD, my initial research focus was burnout, stress, and coping within multicultural contexts. With the changing intellectual climate in Psychology after 2000 (towards Positive Psychology) my research focus broadened to include work engagement and flourishing of people in work and organisational contexts as well as in non-work contexts. People who flourish are satisfied with their jobs (or lives), experience more positive than negative emotions, are energetic, learning and dedicated, experience satisfaction of their autonomy, competence and relatedness needs, find meaning and purpose in their work, experience harmony and relate positively. I research the flourishing of people in work and non-work contexts, the antecedents and outcomes thereof, and intervention programmes that could contribute to flourishing of individuals and organisations.
I was appointed on the Task Committee of the Minister of Public Service and Administration (South Africa) and led a group of experts who developed an employee health and well-being policy for government employees. I was also requested to participate in a symposium (in Japan) of 20 international stress experts who were requested to comment on the development of a National Stress Prevention Strategy for Australia in 2006. Regarding my research on work-related well-being, I evaluated the reliability, validity, bias and equivalence of various instruments of stress, coping, suicide ideation, burnout and work engagement in various risk populations and occupational groups. I detected problematic issues in measures, evaluated contributing factors to stress, burnout and work engagement and developed profiles for different occupations and groups in South Africa. Together with Prof. Fons van de Vijver and Prof. Deon Meiring I initiated the South African Personality Inventory project which aims to study personality from the implicit personality perspectives of individuals in 11 language groups in South Africa. I did research on work engagement, the factors mediating the relation between antecedents and work engagement, and outcomes thereof for individuals and organisations. This led to my current research focus, namely to develop a model of flourishing in cross-cultural context, and research the assessment and development of flourishing in multicultural contexts. Building on my previous work on work-related well-being in multicultural and cross-cultural contexts, specific research projects include the following: a) Conceptualising and measuring flourishing; b) Investigating the antecedents, mediators, moderators and outcomes of flourishing and languishing. Given the importance of psychological well-being and intrinsic motivation for individuals and institutions, I am investigating the role of psychological need satisfaction (autonomy, competence and relatedness) in flourishing; c) Developing and evaluating coaching and workshop interventions to promote flourishing and prevent languishing of people.