Organizational Behavior and Leadership

Historical Overview and Current Findings

Organizational behavioral (OB) research is the study and examination of the impact of individual, group, and organizational structure on behavior within organizations for the purpose of improving organizational effectiveness (Robbins, 2005). OB researchers in the social sciences and behavioral fields employ a variety of methodological strategies, including laboratory experiments, field experiments, sample surveys, field surveys, and archival study (Thomas, 2004). As Thomas noted, field studies, including case studies, are popular among researchers studying OB and human resources. The following section contains an overview of seminal OB theories and the evolution of the qualitative and quantitative research paradigms in OB research and theory. This paper explores and interprets theories in the context of the child welfare workforce and workplace.

Organizational Behavior in the Public Sector Workforce

In general, OB science posits that given certain skill sets, roles, and responsibilities with which organizations accomplish work goals and objectives, managers are able to predict their workers’ behavior in modern workplaces characterized by heterogeneity in terms of employee race, age, and ethnicity (Robbins, 2005). Applied to the workplace, OB science aims to provide management with the tools essential for guiding organizational productivity in terms of individuals, groups, and systems. Drucker first popularized the one guiding tool available to management, the Management by Objectives (MBO) concept, within the management community (MBO, 2006). MBO asserts that management should set and align their objectives with their superiors to provide for the manager-worker collaboration, employee recognition, communication, incentive feedback, and organizational commitment necessary to achieve the organization’s mission in an effective and efficient manner.


The field of leadership has discussed emotional health in the workplace. Leadership is the process by which an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve common goals, and the key element to all organizational functions both informal and formal (Leadership, 2007). Leadership has adopted a variety of theories from trait theories, behavioral theories, contingency theories, to transformational theories. All of which continues to evolve in the management community. In modern workplaces, employees could work in an organizational environment that is strong and effective with demonstrative high retention rate, high quality, and high work performance, obtained by promoting organizational progress and embracing leadership. The consequences to the lack of leadership equates to negative work environment, failed strategic planning and goal setting, as well as ineffective interpersonal processes. The present study analysis is consistent with this fact. The conceptual framework of this study indicate significant relationship between poor work environment variables connected to intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, stress handling, workers mood and emotional intelligence in relation to job burnout and insecurity. The study incorporates correlation analysis in examining behaviors and experiences in different groups related to individual emotional health. This correlational research design enables organization management make necessary prediction on the workers motivational level. Thus, management can predict that workers with high emotional levels will experience job insecurity when workers display negative emotions at work such as avoidance, distancing, resentment, dissatisfaction, emotional exhaustion, and hopelessness toward their jobs. Understanding the relationships between emotions and motivations is important to identify potential areas for greater success in supervisor–employee relationships.

As reported in the South Florida Business Journal on May 7, 2002, Governor Jeb Bush created a panel to review the work performance of child welfare workers due to the state’s mishandling of the Rilya Wilson case. The missing child whose case manager may have forged her visitation documents and subsequently failed to account for her whereabouts after discovering that she was missing (Unknown, 2007). The goal of the panel review was to improve work productivity (i.e., streamlined oversight and accountability). According to Rice (2005), this panel’s findings were similar to those of OPPAGA’s in 2001. The media focus on these investigations revealed that the children protection system was inadequately staffed, overworked and under funded. She further claims that public organizations are not responsible in protecting the population it serves because of the issues affecting them, child welfare administrators and experts point at burnout, lack of training, organizational dysfunction, turnover as some main factors (p. 4). The present Study aims to understand the perceptions and experiences of public child welfare worker from their own point of view, and display the relationships among variables, including emotional intelligence, job burnout, and job insecurity. The study will also incorporate management issues such as employee’s emotions and motivations as well as the dilemma involving failed retention efforts, and attempts to cultivate positive emotional health in the workplace.

Kouzes and Posner’s model of Leadership helps as an opportunity to define emotional health in the public sector. In their book, Leadership Challenge, Kouzes and Posner (1995) says that the best leaders “challenge the process, inspire to share vision, enable others to act, model the way, and encourage the heart”. Among all the possible organizational elements to encourage change, one specific aspect this research will examine is the leader and follower organizational dynamic. Two accepted assumptions are that followers are capable of a) independent thinking, and b) committed to organizational goals. Therefore, ineffective followers are different from effective followers by motivation, commitment, and personal interests. Thus, the extent to effective leadership warrants the understanding human relations and the influencing of other people thinking (Thomas, 2006). The ultimate goal in theory is to apply different sets of leadership styles and behaviors, primarily focusing on regulating emotions that will accommodate the public sector workforce. Bono, Foldes, Vinson and Muros (2007) investigated the role of a leader on employees emotional experience in an organization. Their analysis of data collected from employees in a health care facility 4 time a day for 14 days reveal that employees who interacted more with their coworker as opposed to their supervisors experienced little positive emotions. Those employees who interacted with high transformational leadership experienced more positive emotions and finally the employees who controlled their emotions experienced little satisfaction in their job.

Seminal OB Theorists

In the early period of organizational studies, during which seminal works (e.g., Boyatzis, 1982; Festinger, 1957; Maslow, 1960; McClelland, 1973; McGregor, 1960) in the field were published, the principal goal of the research was to describe human relations—the ways in which people respond to and interact with one another—for practical application. The foundational theories in this area of study were those related to motivation, attitudes, satisfaction, and leadership. As does human relations theory, OB theory the study offers reasonable explanations or predictions of human behavior despite the fact that humans are complex and diverse, limiting the ability to make simple and direct generalizations. The study of human behavior in a dynamical system falls into the chaos theory, which posits that managers cannot measure, predict, or control the unfolding drama inside or outside the organization in traditional ways. In addition to these workplace phenomena faced by managers, and on behalf of the chaos theory is recognition. Today’s businesses must be able to recognize and respond to a completely unpredictable environment according to their mission and guiding principles.

McGregor (1960) developed Theory X-Y, which posited that “managers may take one of two views of employees 🙁 a) employees are lazy, untrustworthy, and incompetent (Theory X); or (b) employees are trustworthy, have high levels of motivation, and are competent to assume work responsibilities (Theory Y).” With Theory X-Y, McGregor contributed his understanding of management styles and perceived employee motivation and behavior to the field, particularly regarding the impact of normal human needs and desires on the informal organization. He presented the carrot-and-stick analogy to describe how managers are capable of manipulating employees’ individualized needs (physiological, biological, and social) and motivations to force them to work. The carrot-and-stick analogy purports that most individuals in need of basic assistance will conform and accept authority if it satisfies their needs regardless of whether it is legitimate or not. If it satisfies their needs, it is legitimate at that moment. The notion that it must be accepted as legitimate before it is followed is indeed the domain of these individuals who have already satisfied their basis needs. The present study, discuses workers motivation, the study explores means by which management can predict employee’s emotions and motivations. The conceptual framework developed is based on the exploration of the relationship between emotional intelligence, work burnout and job insecurity. This research study postulates that emotional intelligence is the presumed cause job burnout and job insecurity. In addition, demographics including Age, Gender, Ethnicity, Tenure, Education, and Job Title presumably to cause job insecurity. A study conducted by Herzberg (1968) discovered that the carrot and stick analogy does not motivate people to work on their free will. External factors motivate people to work and he equates it with having a robot work as opposed motivating it by an internal drive that it can charge. The motivation should be internally induced; he further explains that a self-motivated person will always function at a high-level performance. Factors that lead to job satisfaction and motivation are different from factors that lead to job dissatisfaction. His recommendation is for leaders or employers to provide employees with work that motivates them.

McGregor’s (1960) theories differed from other theories of his time, including Barnard’s (1938) theory of the function of the executive. Bernard argued that workers’ individual needs are only a part and parcel to the development of formal organizations, which are derived from informal organizations, and vice versa. Bernard’s goal-oriented and progressive reasoning allowed for the implementation of good management techniques, including the scientific and bureaucratic styles of management, and stressed the need to specialize, identify the span of control, and understand and support organizational subcultures. Barnard noted that dissatisfied workers would refuse to cooperate or exert their best effort, resulting in organizational ineffectiveness and inefficiency. While the former is organizational in origin, the latter is personal and has social implications for the larger organizational community. In modern workplaces, workers look for a good place to work with less mechanical, bureaucratic by Barnard’s standards, and more flexible and employee centered.

In a 2008 national study of the U.S. workforce, The National Study of Employers (NSE) analyzed data taken from 1100 employers and 50 employees across the United States collected through interviews. The research indicated that employers support for employees’ elderly family member increased to 39% from 23%, Employee Assistance Program rose to 65% from 56%, provision of Wellness programs rose to 60% from 56%, provision of maternal benefits rose to 53% from 37% and support for employees’ domestic partners rose to 31% from 14%. The study revealed that job quality and the supportiveness are important to employees’ the workplace (Families and Work Institute, 2008).

Barnard concluded that to command authority, executives must balance the different moral values of the individual workers to instill within themselves a new set of moral values superior to those of the individual worker that are readily noticeable. Authority, in this case, is the domain of the individual worker, and will be adhered to so long as he or she feels it is legitimate. In modern workplaces, a continued emphasis on legitimate authority creates a climate of rigidness and inflexibility leaving little room for expressive creativity from managers and workers.

One factor, which many theorists disagree, is that of employee cooperation, which may benefit the organization but not necessarily the individual. McGregor (1960) argued that cooperation was necessary for fulfilling basic needs, whereas Barnard (1938) argued that it was a means to achieve a purpose that was neither personal nor selfish. In the contemporary business climate, one might agree with McGregor’s perspective because of worker recognition and with recognition follows, worker cooperation creates ingenuity, freedom, and creativity. This premise goes back to the Hawthorne studies on productivity and motivation where the social need of the employees were recognized using the experiment of lighting effect in the workplace-to which employee responded

In his influential work, Maslow (1960) presented the theory of the hierarchy of needs to assist organizational leaders in gaining understanding of the drivers of motivation. According to Maslow, the basic human needs are physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs, and the need for self-actualization. When employee’s needs are not met, they may turn their anger on management or direct it toward organizational policy and practices, or may refuse to cooperate.

One factor that has often divided organizational theorists is that of motivation, with many disagreeing regarding which motivations impel employees to become productive members of an organization. McGregor (1960) and Maslow suggested that employees concern themselves with the choices available to them, their needs, their belief orientation, and their expectations regarding the impact that their behavior on the situation.

Festinger (1957), a prominent social psychologist, claimed that inconsistency among beliefs and behaviors leads to uncomfortable psychological tension. According to Festinger, to address motivational problems in an organization in an effective manner, management should first identify the elements that are creating the dissonance. This recommendation accords with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, in that workers’ needs are the driving force behind motivational issues. Second, management should determine how important the dissonant elements are to the workers and how the workers feel about a new idea, as well as allow for the workers, within reason, to exercise control. This recommendations accords with McGregor’s Theory Y, as it involves placing trust in the workers’ ability to identify and articulate work concerns. Lastly, Festinger suggested that those in management offer rewards to offset feelings of discomfort. In a study that compares public service employees’ motivation to private sector employee, Houston (2000) provides a multivariate analysis of data collected through a national sampling frame. The results indicate that private sector workers will value less working hour and higher pay as motivators compared to their counterparts in the public sector who place value on intrinsic reward of work that is significant, providing a sence of accomplishment.

Applying McGregor’s (1960), Maslow’s (1960), Festinger’s (1957) and Houston(2000) theories to current workforce problems in child welfare, one might conclude that key factors related to the worker’s perception of their own emotional intelligence is not sufficiently appreciated or recognized by researchers. Although the study of emotions in the workplace has a long history (Brief & Weiss, 2002), it has a presumed cause to individual workers. In this regard, it makes the workplace remains elusive and speculative. This research will attempt to confirm or rebut the seminal theorists’ argument that the workplace problems of fatigue, burnout, emotional dissonance, and other factors relevant to working conditions could impede efficient work performance.

Methodological Approaches in OB Research

Within the OB community, various historical, philosophical, sociological, and practical paradigms (or worldviews) have contributed to leadership research and theory. Specific situation scripting researchers worldview of a phenomenon in their investigative orientation: (1) Realists approach, research can be controlled with sets of rules and guidelines, “reality is concrete and tangible to the researcher” (Abnor & Bjerke, 2007). (2) Investigative subject is determined by another variable, and “reality is not yet set, but rather it is an evolving organic process” (Abnor & Bjerke, 2007). (3) Emphasis does not lie in identifying cause and effect relationship, but rather as how the environment affects the variables. (4) There are symbols and labels, situation is viewed as symbolic discourse, and the interpretation of those labels lead to “shared social rules” (Abnor & Bjerke, 2007),-shared rules are case specific, not applicable in other situations. (5) The situation is not definable, researchers attempt to explore common themes, “shared realities that is continuous and evolving” (Abnor & Bjerke, 2007).(6) Within this paradigm, the research approach is primarily subjective, knowledge creation is visionary and future focused, common perspective is of “human intentionality” (Abnor & Bjerke, 2007).

The research approach used in this study reflects the second paradigm-where preferred philosophical approach is realists, to which research information is evolving and research variables are affected by every other variable. Applying this approach, organizational behavioralists are able to create a conceptual model as a simplified representation of a real-world phenomenon. By viewing OB as a set of increasingly complex building blocks on the individual, group, and structural level (Robbins, 2005), researchers can address specific individual issues (e.g., job satisfaction, biological characteristics, and burnout), group issues (e.g., communication, leadership, power, and conflict), and structural issues (e.g., technology and politics).

Research Methodologies

OB practitioners employ three types of methodologies in their research: qualitative methods, quantitative methods, and mixed or combined methods. Researchers use quantitative methods, which are guided by positivism/logical positivism, to test hypotheses, using deductive logic to arrive at conclusions and the collection of data in the form of numbers to permit precise measurements. Frequently employed quantitative designs within the OB community include:

  1. Experimental designs (e.g., Atwater & Van Fleet, 1997; Hansen, 2005; Karami, Rowley, & Analoui, 2006; Logendran & Kriausakul, 2006)
  2. Quasi-experimental designs (e.g., Gibson, 2001; Kleingeld, Van Tuijl, & Algera, 2004; Markham, Scott, & McKee, 2002)
  3. Non-experimental designs (e.g., Blazevic & Lievens, 2004; Giardini & Frese, 2007; Mathieu & Taylor, 2006; Peng & Pettersen, 2008; Rice, Frone, & McFarlin, 1992; Scarpello & Vandenberg, 1992).

Descriptive research, correlational research, developmental research, observation studies research, and survey research. All quantitative approaches aim to obtain research results relatively independent of the researcher so that they are free of bias and objective, and therefore appropriate for practical application. One common drawback to the use of the quantitative approach is that an excessive focus on theory may lead to the generation of knowledge too abstract and general for direct application to a specific context.

Researchers using qualitative methods, which are guided by interpretivism/constructivism, seek to understand experiences. In a qualitative study, concepts are not operationally defined before the study commences and data are collected in the form of descriptors. Major qualitative designs, which provide the primary major advantage of allowing for rich description of an organizational behavior, include the case study, ethnographic, phenomenological, grounded theory, and content analysis designs (e.g., Cascio & Aguinis, 2008; Conte & Morgan, 2002; CĂ´tĂŠ & Miners, 2006; Mari, 2007; McAlearney, 2006; Scandura & Williams, 2000). Qualitative approaches generally produce actionable feedback in the form of qualitative comments that describe strengths and the areas for improvement or vulnerabilities. One drawback to the qualitative approach is that the research results may be limited to the population examined by a specific study.

Many OB researchers employ a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches in a single study or series of studies using a mixed-methods approach (Creswell, 2003). Mixed-methods designs are widely used in the OB community (Burnes & Pope, 2007; Jones, 2001; Jukka, 2006; Kimbrough, 2007; Liu, Spector, & Shi, 2007; McCarthy, 2002; Randleman, 2007; Williams, 2007). Although mixed methodologies appear to be preferred within the OB research community due to its focus on work productivity and performance in the workplace, the mixed-methods approach remains a relatively new approach in the social sciences. This approach may be cumbersome, requiring the concurrent testing of two or more conceptual models, and in some of the mixed methods, the details remain to be fully worked out by the researcher. For timesaving in this research work, quantitative approach remains viable to consider for demonstrated relationship in a child welfare setting where each variables are examined in terms of factors such as emotional intelligence, burnout, and job insecurity. In addition, quantitative approach clearly and precisely points out both the independent and dependent variables in the study. Qualitative approach is not applicable in this research because it is not able to investigate relations between two research phenomena and it lacks consistency as well as reliability.

Like other new and developing fields, OB is difficult to define, as it draws from a number of different disciplines, including psychology, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and political science (Robbins, 2005). OB research encompasses all variables that researchers study within the context of organizations, including managing communication, culture, and workforce diversity; improving quality, productivity, customer service, people skills, and ethical behavior; empowering and helping employees balance work/life conflicts; responding to labor shortages and globalization; and stimulating innovation and change. In recent years, developers of training programs, consultants, stakeholders, and subcontracting agencies/outsource, in addition to managers, have sought the guidance of OB researchers in resolving organizational problems.

Emotional Intelligence

One major focus of current OB research is the impact of employees’ emotions in the workplace. Over the last 20 years, researchers have gained much understanding of the role of emotional intelligence (EI), a non-cognitive skill possessed by emotionally competent individuals who are able to channel and control their behavior to withstand highly emotional contexts, in the workplace (Bar–On, 2007). The idea that emotions are a significant part of our intellect has its roots drawn from Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud (Intelligence emotional, 2006). Several researchers (e.g., Gardner, 1983; Sternberg & Kaufman, 1998; Salvovey & Mayer, 1990; McClelland, 1973; Boyatzis, 1982) have attempted to link EI and work performance.

However, in a meta-analytic review of the research on EI from 1995 to 2005, Akerjordet and Severinson (2007) found that no longitudinal or experimental designs had been conducted within the EI research community, and that current EI evaluations are conducted by means of measurements and quantification using descriptive and statistical analysis tools. Overall, Akejordet and Severinson highlighted the peripheral research that has been done around EI, as well as the gaps in research that prove that the EI research has a place in the discourse of OB study. They found that there were deductive-based studies in leadership, employee relations, team building, workforce training and development, and culture/diversity. Generalizing the findings of a young field with little published research may be problematic (Akejordet & Severinson, 2007).

Research questions pertaining to child welfare workers should be developed and focused on their attributes in the workplace is of relevance to the child welfare profession.

It is evident in the literature that the use of a mixed methodology is a new approach in EI research. A quantitative design is most appropriate for the proposed study; according to Creswell (2005),.This is because in a quantitative study, a larger population can be tested for knowledge and attitudes. A large sample can reveal trends in thinking and attitudes that might not be apparent in the smaller samples that are typically used in a mixed methodological approach and the research can be easily accessed for reliability and consistency. A quantitative design assists in validating ideas in a systematic, unbiased manner. There has been some controversy regarding the validity of the Bar–On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQI; Bar–On, 1997), the Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Test (SREIT, Brackett & Mayer, 2003), and the Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT;, Salovey & Mayer, 2002). These tests have been criticized in terms of face validity, in terms of measuring what they are intended to measure, and in terms of their predictive validity, or the degree to which a measure predicts a second future measure. However, Landy (2005) proposed that errors in predictive validity may due to the methodological fallacy—incomplete consideration of alternative explanations.

The authors of seminal works in the organizational behavioral community were primarily interested in understanding, identifying, and developing management “best practices” that would be useful to organizations. The most popular methodology to achieve this purpose has been the case study. However, case study methods have been criticized for lack of research definition. Bass (as cited in Klecke, 1993) wrote that research “produced by these varied methodologies has been plagued by convenience samples, commonality comparisons among leaders, small sample sizes, measurement problems, and theoretical biases” (p. 326). Overall, the approach used by scholars has been mainly prescriptive in purpose, with in-depth case analysis being the primary research tool. A good example is the case study of organizational behavior by Hsu (2008).

Much discussions surrounding leadership, the new direction in organizational studies concerns the revolutionary moments related to EI. Specifically, empirical EI research has taken the form of quantitative and non-experimental studies using data collected though surveys administered to students and managers (Akerjordet & Severinsson, 2007). In 2006, Berman and West (2008) conducted research on 212 U.S. city managers and chief administrative officers focused on the relationship between EI skills and human resources strategies such as recruitment and selection, feedback and modeling, training, and codes of standards. They applied the Pearson correlation coefficient –a measure of the relationship between two variables which are at the interval or ratio level of measurement and are linearly related, to the results, which revealed an overall correlation of alpha =.91 (Berman & West, p. 752). Those human resources strategies that proved to have the most powerful effect on EI were feedback (employee relations and leadership), modeling (team building), and mentoring (workforce training and development). Similarly, Berman and West found that respondents’ length of employment in their jurisdictions, as well as their attitudes, were not associated with their perceptions of EI. Based on the observations and statements of the theoretical factors of OB and EI theory, this research will examine public child welfare professionals’ perceptions of their own EI relative to their perceptions of burnout levels using the quantitative approach synchronized for measuring results from that research. The variables will be evaluated using a theory-testing design. This research study will involve collecting data on two or more pre-existing variables and describing the existing relationships between the variables. Correlational analysis is an ideal guiding framework because it examines the differences between groups in antecedents, behaviors, or experiences such as those related to an individual’s emotional health. Cavallo and Brienza (2000) conducted an empirical research at the Johnson and Johnson Consumer and Personal Care group across the world. They used the quantitative approach to collect and analyzed data from 1400 workers and 358 managers to evaluate the perceived successful leadership competence and more so those of emotional intelligence. They found a significant statistical relationship between superior performing leaders and emotional competence.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence quotient (EI or EQ) is defined as a cross-section of interrelated emotional and social competencies, skills, and facilitators that have an impact on intelligent behavior (Bar–On, 2007). It is the consensus among research leaders that EI seems to lead to a positive attitude, greater adaptability, and improved overall life happiness.

In general, supporters of the EI concept posit that given individual differences, people possess various abilities or capabilities to bring emotional equilibrium, well being, and health to their interactions. Applied to the workplace, EI theory suggests that workers are able to control their own destinies to be happy, secure, or dissatisfied in the workplace, as well as their motivation and behavior. This is the rationale for conducting a study on workers’ perceptions of their own ability to channel and control their behavior to withstand a highly emotional environment such as the workplace.

Theoretical Research in the Field of Emotional Intelligence

EI has been the focus of considerable interest in the education field and the OB community. The past decade has seen the rapid development of interest in emotions and their influence in the workplace. In the literature, there has been much controversy regarding the terminology and operationalization of EI.

Much of the thinking and research on EI has stemmed from the work of David McClelland (1973) and Richard Boyatzis (1982). EI researchers have explored behavior in groups, personal and situational traits, interactive processes and social learning, OB, management, and related issues. As a fairly new field in the study of OB, EI research covers a wide range of areas, including theory development, laboratory studies, field research, and leadership development. EI also has numerous practical applications, such as EI workshops and programs, workplace EI guidelines, life-skills workshops, group training, individual coaching, management training, human relations training, and executive coaching. In recent years, not only program and academic researchers, but also not-for-profit organizations, governmental organizations, small businesses, franchised businesses, and corporate organizations have looked to researchers for guidance in advancing EI theory and practice.

Much of what is known about EI is based largely upon David McClelland’s empirical work in “Testing for Competence Rather Than Intelligence,” in which he investigated employee competence, job skills, retention, and performance (McClelland, 1973). McClelland’s studies paved the way for EI researchers’ later efforts to link employee competencies to job performance (McClelland & Boyatzis, 1982).

Richard Boyatzis (1983) became the key voice on employee competencies and job performance at a time when the organizational research community primarily focused on contributions from psychological disciplines. With his work, Boyatzis made it possible for the OB community to break new ground in EI research.

Today, the EI field is growing so rapidly that researchers are constantly revising their own definitions of the construct (Dulewicz et al., 2003). Competing EI models are elaborated in this section. Additionally, the three principal instruments used to assess EI—the Emotional Competency Inventory (ECI), Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), and Emotional Quotient (EQ-i)—are evaluated against one another, and then an appropriate model is selected for use in evaluating the relationship between EI and job burnout.

To date, there have been three primary models of EI: the performance-based model of EI (Goleman, 1998), the ability model of EI (Mayer et al., 2000), and the competency-based model of EI (Bar–On, 1997). These models developed in different ways for different purposes. During the mid-1990s, the EI concept became popular when Goleman, a science journalist, published the book Emotional Intelligence, in which he claimed that EI is linked to life success. Goleman regarded EI in terms of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. Goleman’s model includes four main EI constructs: (a) self-awareness, which includes such qualities as emotional awareness and self-confidence; (b) self-management, which includes such qualities as self-control, trustworthiness, and innovation; (c) relationship management, which includes such qualities as developing other, influence, and conflict management; and (d) social awareness, which includes such qualities as empathy, organizational awareness, and service orientation. The purpose for this model to explain determinates related to workplace performance.

Goleman’s EI model highlights variables that constitute employee well being, consciousness, and managerial effectiveness. Goleman (1998) asserted that one must develop emotional intelligence skill in order to accomplish an outstanding performance. Others have criticized this model for its “long list of characteristic[s]” (Locke, 2005), for being “so all inclusive” (Locke, 2005) that it does not align with traditional concepts of intelligence–as a cognitive information process model-and for its resemblance with four of the Big Five personality dimensions (Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, Extraversion, and Openness) and other psychological concepts in the motivation and leadership literatures (as cited in Conte, 2005). Limitations of the emotional competence intelligence (ECI) model involve its scientific validity (Conte, 2005).

The first serious discussion and analysis of EI emerged during the 1990s when Salovey and Mayer published a series of articles on EI. Salovey and Mayer (1997), approaching EI from a scientific research perspective, described the concept as a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action. They measured individuals’ abilities against each construct of the EI model. In his article “Emotional Intelligence: Issues in Paradigm Building,” Goleman (2000) cited Mayer and Salovey’s model of the four branches of emotional abilities.

Reflecting on the ability model of EI, indexed as information process of emotions, intelligence variable to explain workplace environment, the measurement for the ability based EI is the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) which contains a series of emotion-based problem-solving items (Ciarrochi, Chan, & Caputi, 2001). This measurement and model is not free of conceptual and methodological problems. The ability-based model has been criticized for its generalization of the EI concept (Locke, 2005) and its lack of scientific standards (Conte, 2005). Another criticism of this measurement relates to its capacity to predict workplace performance (Van Rooy & Viswesvaran, 2004). It is important to note any methodological difficulties directly so that one can deal with the concern accordingly.

Reuven Bar–On developed the first test of EI (Bar–On Emotional Quotient Inventory [EQ-i]) to be released by a psychological test publisher (Bar–On, 1997). In his publication, Bar–On (2000) defined EI as a cross-section of interrelated emotional and social competencies, skills, and facilitators that affect intelligent behavior. Bar-On deduced that emergence of emotional issues was an indication of emotional Intelligence deficiency. He challenged future researchers to integrate the rapidly developing literature on EI. Additionally, he appealed to graduate students, researchers, and practitioners to include EI in their models and research. Exclusive to child welfare profession, this research study would eliminate alternative confounding variables, limiting the variable to job insecurity and burnout to for a precise and testable expression as such using quantifiable means.

Bar–On further asserted that those who met requirements and pressures of the environment had emotional quotient that was above average. Critics of Bar–On’s EQ-i measurement have contended, “The theory behind this measure (EQ-i) is vague, boiling Bar–On’s theoretical approach down to ‘EI is what emotional quotient tests test’” (as cited in Conte, 2005, p. 434). EQ, ECI, or EQ-I models do not assign to intelligence as an information-processing model (Pretrides & Furnham, 2000): the ability model (i.e., MSCEIT) does. This is one primary difference between the two models (MacCann, Matthews, Zeidner, Roberts, 2003). Drawing from the work of Landy (2005), Locke (2005), and Conte (2005), one can summarize recent arguments against the EI construct as follows:

  1. EI’s theoretical foundations are too broadly defined, and definitions of EI are unstable.
  2. EI cannot be recognized as a form of intelligence.
  3. The theoretical foundation of EI has no substantive value.
  4. EI’s ability-based measurement concerns conformity, not ability.
  5. EI has strong correlations with existing personality measurements (Particularly narcissism).

This study will respond to or rebut the objections Landy, Locke, and Conte raised about EI. The goal of the study is to answer the following question: How can management refute or even address these objections? A much more systematic study would examine EI’s interactions with job burnout, which is believed to be linked to work performance. The idea behind this study is that EI can inform thoughts as well as shape employees’ behavior in the workplace. This research is expected to give an account supporting the notion that EI facilitates positive group norms and culture, which, in turn, lead to the cultivation of a broader range of skills in workers, higher levels of performance, and improved organizational learning. To reach such goals, management must expose embedded assumptions in all organizational members. Drawing on Bar–On’s knowledge of EI, a comprehensive model must be developed that addresses both people and organizational culture. Management must employ this model to diagnose fundamental cultural assumptions in the workplace. In this study, the constructs of EQ-i will be empirically examined to address the needs of public child welfare workers in the State of Arizona. Durán, Extremera and Rey (2004), examined the statistical relationship between the variables between Self-reported Emotional Intelligence, Worker Engagement and Burnout. They collected and analysed data by sampling professionals mainly of spanish decent working in intellectually disability institutions.The results indicated a significant Emotional Clarity associated with Intellectual achievement and commitment.

Job Insecurity

Hartley, Jacobson, Klandermans, and van Vuuren (1991) defined job insecurity as a discrepancy between the level of security that employees would like their jobs to provide and the level of security that they perceive to exist. Job insecurity is commonly associated with job burnout, staff changes, and lack of cooperation and communication with supervisors (Organizational diagnosis, 2004). Following Jordan, Ashkanasy, and Hartel’s 2002 article in The Academy of Management Review, research into the link between job insecurity and EI has undergone a revival. In this research, job insecurity is examined as a key factor for the following reasons: (a) there appears to be a relationship between job insecurity and performance. Factors such as productivity, job knowledge and skills, quality of work, planning and organizing, initiative, and teamwork (Law, Wong, Huang, & Li, 2008; Othman, Abdullah, & Ahman, 2009; Poon, 2004) and (b) job insecurity has received limited empirical attention from the organizational research community (Jordan, Ashanasy, & Hartel, 2002; Vakola, Tsausis, & Nikolaou, 2004).

Some researchers have reported negative associations of job insecurity and organizational factors in terms of individual, group, and structural factors (Hellgren & Sverke, 2003). In a similar study, Landsbergis, Grzywacz, and Lamontagne (2011) investigated the effect of changes in work organization on job security in the United States. Their results indicated that job insecurity was prevalent among employees in the lower socio-economic positions. This included women, racial and ethnic minority as well as immigrants.

Jordan, Ashkanasy, and Hartel’s theoretical model posits EI as a moderator variable that predicts emotional and behavioral responses to job insecurity. Jordan (2002) asserted in his study of Emotional intelligence that it controls increased sense of job insecurity, low commitment, poor copping behavior and high work related tension.

In this research study, the aim is to provide empirical data in support of this theoretical model. This researcher will investigate the relationship, if any, between burnout scores and job insecurity scores, as well as the extent of the relationship between job insecurity and age, gender, ethnicity, tenure, degree type, and job type among public child welfare services workers. This approach is similar to a study conducted on the academic and support staff at North West University (Lerato & Oladele, 2011). This included 332 academic staff, 434 support of which 473 were male and 293 female. The results of the study indicated a disparity in job satisfaction between the academic staff and the support workers, with support workers being less satisfied. Factors influencing job satisfaction included tenure, income and work experience.


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