Development and Validation of the Work Capital Scale

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Background: Scholars in vocational psychology have called for greater attention to different forms of capital to better understand the vocational development of marginalized groups, such as immigrants, refugees, and people from lower social class backgrounds. However, previous research has had several conceptual and measurement limitations, such as using less inclusive frameworks; the overuse of categorical, dummy coded, and objective measures; and the exclusion of economically and socially marginalized samples. Given these limitations, researchers, career counselors, and policymakers cannot obtain data to improve work interventions for those lacking work capital. Purpose: The proposed scale development study aimed to (a) develop a subjective, continuous, and multidimensional work capital scale and (b) validate the new scale with a representative sample of working adults and job seekers across two studies. Methods: In Study 1, I developed and refined items to develop the Work Capital Scale (WCS), conducted exploratory factor analysis on the scale, and assessed its reliability. In Study 2, I compared factor structures and tested the validity of the new scale. Results: In Study 1, I finalized a 16-item, four-factor work capital scale. The four factors (i.e., Economic Work Capital, Human Work Capital, Social Work Capital, and Cultural Work Capital) significantly and positively correlated with one another and demonstrated good reliability. In Study 2, the correlational model fit best to the data, and the four subscales correlated with subjective social class, objective socioeconomic indicators, and existing measures of capital. Conclusion: The WCS is a valid and reliable scale measuring four forms of subjective work capital, which advances theory and research and provides a tool for practitioners to use in the community.

capital, career capital