Emotional intelligence & job performance in banking & insurance sector in India.

Author:Davar, S.C.


Until recently, the government and public sector undertakings dominated the service sector in India. During the last two decades, financial sector reforms and other liberalization measures initiated by the Government of India have increased participation by the private sector in the development and delivery of various services. Thus, keen competition among different segments of banking and insurance sector has emerged. Moreover, the competition has resulted in high levels of stress. This may cause a high rate of employee turnover. Today, the service enterprises depend heavily on quality of manpower and hence, we must give due weightage to emotional intelligence while managing human resources. The recruitment, retention and training functions need to be redefined. In fact, emotional intelligence has been said to matter twice as much as IQ i.e. intelligence quotient (Goleman, 1998).

The studies abroad e.g. Lagrange &Roodt (2001), Slaski & Cartwright (2002), Sitarenios (1998); Rapisarda (2002), and Donaldo-Feidler & Bond (2004) and in India e.g. Jain & Sinha (2005) ; Sinha & Jain (2004) suggest that emotional intelligence improves the organizational effectiveness and organizational commitment or job satisfaction. These measures are expected to have a positive effect on the job performance. For example, Jayan (2006) found higher levels of emotional-competence for the "high" managerial performers. Further, Bechara, Tranel &Damasio (2000) found a direct (positive) relationship between emotional intelligence and performance. Recently, O'Boyle Jr. et al., (2010) conducted a meta-analytic study and found that emotional intelligence yields predictive validity above and beyond the five factor model and cognitive ability. The study classified emotional intelligence studies into three streams and found that all three streams of emotional intelligence exhibited substantial relative importance in the presence of FFM and intelligence when predicting job performance. But, there are studies which dispute the existence of a direct relationship between emotional intelligence and job performance. However, these studies imbibe a number of methodological weaknesses. The use of non-standardized measures/scales may generate a low correlation between emotional intelligence and performance. For example, competencies (influence, achievement orientation, empathy, and achievement-orientation) identified as components of emotional intelligence by Rapisarda (2002) cannot be construed to reflect emotional intelligence/competence. Similarly, Jayan (2006) utilized a weaker technique namely, uni-variate ANOVA that fails to abdicate the effects of substantial (measurement) errors. Given the limitations of these studies, the present study re-examines the relationship between emotional intelligence and the job performance. A statistically strong technique, i. e, multiple regression analysis has been used to ascertain the effect, if any, of emotional intelligence on the job performance. Its built-in-procedure neutralizes the measurement error expected in the aforesaid non-standardized domains.

The Sample

The self- report questionnaire was constructed and the data was collected from 250 employees working in public-sector banks, private sector banks, cooperative banks and insurance companies from different districts of Haryana (Yamunanangar, Kurukshetra, Panipat, Sonipat, Panchkula, Kaithal and Ambala), Chandigarh, Mohali (Panjab) and Delhi during 2007 and 2008. The sample is composed of employees from cooperative banks (14.4 %), insurance (19.2 %), private sector banks (16.4%) and public sector banks (50%). None the less, different categories of employees (clerical workers:34.8 percent, supervisory staff: 24.4%, and managerial staff: 40.8%) working in financial undertakings have been represented in the sample.

The Data &Reliability

The emotional intelligence scales focus mostly on the lifestyle and social intelligence of employees i.e. trait theory or general values and beliefs. Many of these have major limitations, Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale(Schutte et al., 1998) consists of 33 items responded to on a 5-point Likert scale. A shortcoming of the SEIS is that it provides incomplete coverage of the trait EI domain because it is exclusively based on the three dimensions postulated in the early Salovey& Mayer (1990) model.

The Multi-factor EI Scale (MEIS) has been developed by Mayer, Salovey and Caruso (1999) popularly called Four Branches Model. Most of the reliabilities of MEIS sub-tests have been found weak for the Indian sample (Pant &Parkash, 2004:134). Another scale, Mayer, Salovey and Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) has been criticized for a set of reasons. The meta-analysis examining the relationship between emotional intelligence and job performance (O'Boyle et al, 2010) used the three-stream approach for classifying EI research; (1) ability-based models that use objective test items; (2) self-report or peer-report measures based on the four-branch model of EI; and (3) "mixed models" of emotional competencies. Streams 2 and 3 have the largest incremental validity beyond cognitive ability and the Five Factor Model (FFM). It means that ability- based models (MEIS and MSCEI etc) do not measure EI accurately. Moreover, Ashkanasy& Daus (2005: 441) argue that researchers in the third stream have developed comprehensive measures such as the ECI and the Bar-On measures that included social skills and abilities, whereas the researchers in the Mayer-Salovey tradition have developed more narrow measures that focus on perceiving emotions, understanding emotions, and regulating emotions.

The present study utilizes self-report inventory proposed by Bhattacharya, Dutta & Mandal (2004) for the assessment of EI (see question-items in Annexure I). It may be added that their inventory is more or less a compilation of question items from available Scales on EI, especially Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i). Bar-On (1997) is one of the most widely used measures of trait EI in the literature (Mayor, Salovey & Crusco, 2004). The EQ-i is a mixed model with 133 items and 15 sub-scales. It recognizes 5 higher-order factors namely, "intrapersonal" skills, "inter-personal" skills, "adaptation", "stress management", and "general mood". The inventory implemented by us includes five categories--negative emotions, positive emotions, inter personal, intra-personal and emotional facilitation.

Doubts have been expressed by Mayor, Salovey & Crusco (2004) about EQ-i model for EI. It may be pointed out that EQ-i Scale assesses non-cognitive ability and not the IQ. It has a primary focus on the outcome of emotions rather than the personality differences as postulated by FFM. This is clear from the finding by Dawda & Hart (2000) that correlation between measures of five personality factors (Neuroticism, Extroversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness) and general EI (derived from the...

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