Psychological Ownership Questionnaire


Authors: James B. Avey & Bruce J. Avolio

The Psychological Ownership Questionnaire (POQ) assesses two theoretically derived, unique forms of psychological ownership: Preventative and Promotive .

Preventative psychological ownership is characterized as territoriality. That is, when individuals feel ownership over something they may tend to be territorial about it. This may include the feeling of not wanting to share the object (such as resource use or information) and feeling as though, in general, they should be the one to determine what happens to or with the object.

The second and likely more ideal form of psychological ownership is promotive in nature. Promotive psychological ownership is comprised of four distinct yet related dimensions. They are self-efficacy, accountability, sense of belongingness, and self identity.

Copyright © 2007 by James B. Avey & Bruce J. Avolio

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Features of the POQ

Purpose: Assess Promotive and Preventative psychological ownership.

Length: 16 items

Average completion time: 10 minutes

Target population: Adults

Administration: For individual or group administration

Uses of the POQ

  • Positive psychology research
  • Career/worklife research


Preventive Psychological Ownership
When individuals feel ownership over something they may tend to be territorial about it. This may include the feeling of not wanting to share the object (such as resource use or information) and feeling as though, in general, they should be the one to determine what happens to or with the object.

Promotive Psychological Ownership

Self-efficacy: constitutes one’s belief in their personal ability to accomplish a given task. This has also been referred to as confidence.

Accountability: the tendency for an individual to feel a sense of responsibility to hold individuals and organizations accountable for the object of ownership. For example, if an individual felt psychological ownership in an organization, they may be more likely to challenge the leadership of the organization to justify their decisions regarding the management of the organization as they feel they have a “right to know” what is happening with their object of ownership.

Sense of Belongingness: also referred to as a “sense of place”. This dimension assesses the extent to which an individual feels “at home” in their place of work. Those who tend to feel a sense of ownership at work that is more positive will report they have a place where they belong in the organizational context.

Self Identify: the most desirable dimension of promotive psychological ownership. At the highest level of psychological ownership an individual will personally identify with the object (such as an organization) of ownership. At this level, the object is seen by individuals as an extension of who they are. Therefore, great care and attention is given to this object of ownership.

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