Many scholars, consultants and practitioners have recently focused their attention on ‘ownership’ as a
psychological, rather than just a business phenomenon. Psychological ownership is defined as a state
in which individuals feel as though the target of ownership or a piece of it is ‘theirs’ (that is ‘It is mine!’).
It suggests that, the presence of psychological ownership among employees can have a positive effect
on organisational effectiveness. The main aim of this paper is to introduce and describe a new kind of
ownership, known as ‘psychological ownership’ that could be a valuable managerial construct for
improving talent retention and organisational effectiveness within the South African work environment.
The research methodology followed an extensive literature review in order to compile the construct for
psychological ownership, which was then validated by a panel of nine scholarly subject-matter experts
by applying Lawshe’s quantitative approach to content validity. The study resulted in a multidimensional
construct for psychological ownership with high content validity, consisting of a
promotion-orientated and prevention-orientated dimension. Promotion-orientated psychological
ownership consists of six theory-driven components: Self-efficacy, sense of belonging, self-identity,
accountability, autonomy and responsibility. Territoriality, the seventh dimension, was identified as a
preventative form of psychological ownership. The particular relevance of this paper is the introduction
of a positively oriented psychological ownership construct that can be utilised by managers and human
resource professionals as a potential guideline to facilitating talent retention and productivity in the
current work environment.