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Emotional Intelligence and Quality of Work Life among employees in the educational institutions

 

Dr. Sathya Kumar. J

Professor - Human Resources, Thiagarajar School of Management,

Pamban Swamy Nagar,Thiruparankundram, Madurai - 625 005.

 

and

 

Dr. Vidya Rajaram Iyer

Professor - Thiagarajar School of Management, Pamban Swamy Nagar,

Thiruparankundram, Madurai - 625 005.

 

Abstract                                                        

 

            It has been realized by many that for a balanced successful life, intelligence is a pre requisite. Charles Darwin (1872) speculated that emotions must be the key to the survival of the fittest. Hence for an effective living it is not just intelligence but it may need to be coupled with emotions as well. Thus Emotional Intelligence (EI) plays an important role in the life of all individuals, be it in the work environment or in the personal life. EI accounts for about 80% of a person’s success in life (Goleman, 1995). EI is one of the important behavioral construct contributing to the performance (Goleman, 1995, 1998) and to the work related behavior and job satisfaction (Cooper and Sawaf, 1997).

 

            Quality of work life is a meaningful achievement and enjoyment in every day life. According Robins (1990) QWL is “a process by which an organization responds to employee needs by developing mechanisms to allow them to share fully in making the decisions that design their lives at work”. Goodale, Hall, Burke and Joyner(1975) conducted studies in which they asked the respondents as how would they define the phrase ‘Quality of life’ and many said that “quality of life” means psychological well being, the work environment, realizing or working towards one’s aim in life and the social environment provided by other people. Thus it appears that there exist a conceivable nexus between emotional intelligence and the Quality of work life.

 

Hence this study aimed at finding the correlation between the emotional intelligence and quality of work life, especially among the employees in the educational institutions as it is one sector of employment where it is said quality of work life at times is very challenging. The sample of the study constitutes individuals employed in various academic institutions in and around Madurai.  Questionnaires were administered to assess their level of emotional intelligence and the quality of work life as perceived by them. The data collected was subjected to statistical analysis and the results indicate that there exist a positive correlation between the emotional intelligence and the quality of work life of the individuals. Difference was also found among teaching and non teaching staffs.

 

Introduction:

It has been realized by many that for a balanced and successful life, intelligence is a pre requisite. Charles Darwin (1872) speculated that emotions must be the key to the survival of the fittest. Hence for an effective living it is not just intelligence but it may need to be coupled with emotions as well. Thus Emotional Intelligence ( EI ) plays an important role in the life of all individuals, be it in an organization or in his personal life. EI accounts for about 80% of a person’s success in life (Goleman, 1995). EI is one of the important behavioral construct contributing to the performance (Goleman, 1995, 1998) and to the organizational behaviour and job satisfaction (Cooper and Sawaf, 1997).

 

Quality of work life (QWL) is a meaningful achievement and enjoyment in every day work life. According Robins (1990) QWL is “a process by which an organization responds to employee needs by developing mechanisms to allow them to share fully in making the decisions that design their lives at work”. The key elements of QWL include job security, job satisfaction, better reward system, employee benefits, employee involvement and organizational performance (Havlovic, 1991; Scobel, 1975). Good work life forms part of the overall quality of life of an individual. Goodale, Hall, Burke and Joyner(1975) conducted studies in which they asked the respondents as how would they define the phrase ‘Quality of life’ and many said that “quality of life” means psychological well being, the work environment, realizing or working towards one’s aim in life and the social environment provided by other people. It appears that there exist  a conceivable nexus between emotional intelligence and the Quality of work life.

 

 Being emotionally and socially intelligent means to effectively manage the personal, social and environmental change by realistically and diligently coping with the immediate situation, solving problems and making decisions as the need arise. We need to manage emotions so that they work for us and not against us, and we need to be sufficiently optimistic, positive and self-motivated. Scientific research shows that EQ is more important than IQ. In fact, in an organization, IQ contributes only 20% where as EQ of a person may contribute up to 80% to succeed in an organization. IQ gets one the top position but EQ makes one a top person. The ability to perceive the environment and adapt to the various changes and stress is crucial in a dynamic era. How people feel about their work and the fit between their personal life, career and work is dependent on various factors. This study explores the role that a person’s emotional intelligence plays in the perception of the Quality of work life (QOWL) in an organization. This study will be useful to know whether the EQ of an individual affects how the individual perceives the Quality of work life and explain why, in the same work place different people show different scores of EI and QOWL. Quality of work life is a term that had been used to describe the broader job-related experience an individual has. The study is important and also extremely interesting because it would reveal whether or not the individual’s intrinsic characteristic of managing emotions is the deterministic factor in deciding whether the QOWL in an organization is good or not.

 

 The rationale behind this study is that a person’s emotional intelligence plays a vital role in determining the Quality of work life in an organization because the intrinsic factor of EI allows people to perceive their environment differently and adjust to stress, change etc in their own unique way.

 

 The elements that are relevant to an individual's quality of work life include the task, the physical work environment, social environment within the organization, administrative system and relationship between life on and off the job .Thus, QWL is a comprehensive construct that includes an individual's job related well-being and the extent to which work experiences are rewarding, fulfilling and devoid of stress and other negative personal consequences. The evolution of QWL began in late 1960s emphasizing the human dimensions of work by focusing on the quality of the relationship between the employee and the work environment

 

According Robins (1990) QWL is “a process by which an organization responds to employee needs by developing mechanisms to allow them to share fully in making the decisions that design their lives at work”.

 

The key elements of QWL in the literature include job security, job satisfaction, better reward system, employee benefits, employee involvement and organizational performance (Havlovic, 1991; Scobel, 1975).

 

The relation between Quality of work life and Emotional intelligence:

 

Quality of work life is determined by the various factors both extrinsic and intrinsic. The work environment and the employee both have equal contribution in determining whether the Quality of work life is good or poor. The extrinsic factors are provided by the organization and can be tangible in nature and hence can be studied and implemented with a degree of simplicity and generalization. The intrinsic factors that depend on the individual is however very difficult to understand and measure. This makes it tough for the organization to find a match between the job and the employee. Each individual is unique in his physical, mental, cultural, emotional and attitudinal framework. This difference plays a major and intangible role in determining the quality of the Quality of work life  of the person. Being emotionally and socially intelligent means to effectively manage personal, social and environmental change by realistically and flexibly coping with the immediate situation, solving problems and making decisions as the need arise. Considering the importance of emotional intelligence in both a person’s personal life and work life, the relation between quality of work life and EI is very strong and could be the most important intrinsic factor of a person that in turn influences the way other intrinsic factors work.

 

Quality of work life in Academic environment:

 

Working in academic environment is always very challenging. The expectations and the reality never match. Teachers walk into a classroom expecting students to be prepared and begin learning and instead find them looking at the teacher, as if the teacher is an  alien from another planet . Unfortunately, low expectations have become the norm and many teachers find it difficult to realigning their thinking is both time consuming and difficult.

 

Maintaining discipline in the classroom is again a issue which badly affects the temperament of the teaching professionals. It is all about raising voices and confrontations. Motivating work environment is one of the most important criterion to decide the quality of work life. Richard Winter  & James Sarros (2002) in their study identified the positive (motivating) and negative (demotivating) sources of academic work motivation in Australian Universities. The result collected from the 1,041 academic respondents from the  university reported moderate levels of work motivation. Work motivation was found to be relatively strong at professorial levels but weak at lecturer levels. Results  indicated that the work environment in academics is motivating when roles are clear, job tasks are challenging, and supervisors exhibit a supportive leadership style. The work environment was demotivating where there is role overload, low job feedback, low participation, and poor recognition and rewards practices.

 

Needless to mention if teachers feel unhappy at work this will have an impact on the students they teach, as well as on recruitment and retention levels, not to mention the cost of cover for sick leave.

 

Purpose of Study:

 

This present study aims at analyzing the Emotional Intelligence level and the quality of work life of male and female individuals working in the academic environment. The study also aims at finding the relationship between Emotional Intelligence level and the quality of work life. The findings of the study would have great importance in understanding the prevailing quality of work life and the need for improving the same and the ability to cope with the academic pressures by enhancing the emotional competence.

 

Objectives:

 

  • To study the level of EI and QOWL among individuals working in academic environment
  • To investigate the relationship between the EI and QOWL of the individuals working in academic environment.
  • To find out the gender difference in EI and QOWL among the individuals working in academic environment.

 

Methodology:

 

The present study is a descriptive research and the data on EI and QOWL was collected through questionnaires from  94  respondents who were working in the academic environments like school and colleges. The gender composition was 36 men and 58 women. The sample was in the age group of 25 to 50, with work experience ranging from less than 1 year to above 25 years.

 

 Tools used:

 

Emotional Intelligence Scale (EIS) developed by Wong, C.S., & Law, K.S.(2004)  was used to measure EI among the samples. The  Quality of Work Life Scale  (QOWLS) developed by Darren Van Laar, Julian A. Edwards & Simon Easton(2007) used to measure QOWL among the samples.

 

Discussions

 

Table -I  Over all correlation between EQ and Quality of work life

Correlations

 

 

Score_Quality of WorkLife

Score_EQ

Score_Quality of WorkLife

Pearson Correlation

1

.392**

Sig. (2-tailed)

 

.000

N

94

94

Score_EQ

Pearson Correlation

.392**

1

Sig. (2-tailed)

.000

 

N

94

94

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

 

 

Table -II  Mean and std. deviation of over all scores of EQ and Quality of work life

 

Descriptive Statistics

 

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Score_WorkLifeBalance

94

87.27

10.653

Score_EQ

94

83.69

19.541

Valid N (listwise)

94

 

 

 

Table I shows that there exist a positive correlation of 0.39 between EI and QWL considering their overall scores. It indicates that Emotional intelligence and the way people perceive their work environment are closely related The not so high  correlation coefficient of 0.39 between the total score of respondents from both the scales as shown in the table I above and the mean scores as shown in the table II may indicate that coping with academic stress, their inherent challenges and trying to introduce changes in a better way in the teaching institutions actually pose more challenges as a result the QWL tends to be low compared to the score of EI and thus the respondents  perceive the quality of the work life strenuous.

 

 

Table III Scores on emotional intelligence and quality of work life of men and women

 

Gender

n

Mean Score of EI

Standard

Deviation

Mean score of QWL

Standard

Deviation

Pearson Correlation

 

Men

 

36

 

86.73

 

18.04

 

88.67

 

8.26

 

0.6

 

Women

 

58

 

81.81

 

20.34

 

86.40

 

11.89

 

0.3

                                                                                                                 p<0.01

Table III shows the mean scores of  both men and women . The mean score men in EI is 86.73 as against the mean score 81.81 of women,  which is slightly lower than men, The mean score of men in QWL is 88.67 as against the mean score 86.40 of women, which is again marginally lower than men. The Pearson Correlation between EI and QWL for men is .63 as against the Pearson Correlation of 0.32 between EI and QWL for women. This may indicate that women being soft natured tend to be emotionally not so stronger as men and consequently feel the inadequacies in QWL. The totally varied manner in which men and women handle emotions are well documented in several previous studies. But the higher scores of  men and lower scores of men is a challenge to interpret. Given the wide range of factors that vary between the two genders, the exact reasons are hard to pin down. But the fact  remains that there is a difference in scores pointing out  the fact that they are not equal. The  score of EI and QOWL in women were lower and it is quite unexpected since women are generally said to handle emotions better as per the earlier studies. This could also be due  to various  cultural and family related influences on women that make excessive demands on their EI and this  in turn affects their QOWL due to inability to satisfy both family and work expectations simultaneously. Men do not have such compelling issues and that may be the reason for their higher scores.

 

Table IV Scores on emotional intelligence and quality of work life of teaching  and non teaching employees

 

Category

n

Mean Score of EI

Standard

Deviation

Mean score of QWL

Standard

Deviation

Pearson Correlation

 

Teaching

 

69

 

83.91

 

19.54

 

87.91

 

11.12

 

0.5

 

Non-teaching

 

25

 

81.08

 

19.91

 

85.48

 

9.21

 

0.3

 

                                                                                                                     p<0.01

 

Table IV shows that teaching staff have a  mean score of  83.91 in EI and 87.91 in QWL and the non teaching staff have scored a mean of 81.08 in EI and 85.48 in QWL. The mean scores indicate that there is no much of difference both under EI as well as QWL among teaching and non-teaching staff. This may be due to the reason that the work environment is same for the both the group of people though the actual nature of work differ. However it may be observed that there is a higher correlation  between EI and QWL for the teaching staff as compared to the non-teaching staff.  This could be due the reason that the teaching staff come across various related literatures during their academic exercises, which are put to practice.

 

Conclusion

 

The ability to perceive the environment and adapt to the various changes and stress is crucial in a dynamic era where the quality of work life depends on various factors which cannot always complement each other. This study has shown that a person’s emotional intelligence is positively correlated with the quality of work life and greater the quality of work life people perceive their environment better and adjust to stress, change etc in their own unique way.  It was found there exist a positive correlation between EI and QWL. It was also found that women marginally lower in EI and QWL as compared to males. There was no considerable difference noticed between academic and non academic teaching staffs.

 

Reference:

 

1.      Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can matter than IQ. New York: Bantam Books

2.      Goleman, D. (1998). Working with emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam Books

3.      Havlovic, S. J., (1991), “Quality of work life and human resource outcomes”, Industrial Relations, Vol. 30, No. 3, p.469-479.

  1. Richard Winter  & James Sarros (2002) The Academic Work Environment in Australian Universities: A motivating place to work?, Higher Education Research & Development, Volume  21, Issue 3,  pages 241 - 258

5.      Scobel. D. N., (1975), “Doing away with the factory blue”, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 53. p. 132-142.