What Emotional Intelligence Does to Organizational Stress: Exploring the Indian Information Technology Sector

What Emotional Intelligence Does to Organizational Stress: Exploring the Indian Information Technology Sector

Shubhangini Rathore (IBS Gurgaon, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5297-0.ch003
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The acknowledgement to develop emotional competencies of the workforce is a focal point of concern for human resource practitioners today. This chapter attempts to explore the relationship between organizational role stress and emotional intelligence in the Indian IT industry. Data was collected from a total of 250 employees, both managers and non-managers working in the Delhi NCR region. Emotional intelligence was measured by developing a scale consisting of 27 items. Stress was measured using the organizational role stress questionnaire comprising of 50 items. The results show a strong correlation between role stress and emotional intelligence. It was seen that by altering and increasing the levels of EI among the employees; workplace stress could be effectively reduced. There was also seen to be a and significant impact of emotional intelligence on organizational stress. Regression was applied to see the result of the EI variables on different factors of stress. It was seen that there is a significant impact of variables on organizational stress.
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Workplace stress has been studied from various historic and contemporary perspectives. In the history of managing employees, the tradition of keeping emotions at distance from the professional space was always found more appropriate. Logical thinking and rational analysis were always considered effective for handling and solving people and business issues. With an eventual rising importance of the human resources, the contemporary organizational milieu sees a drift in this accepted thought process. The role of emotions and feelings as determinants of one’s ability to work in groups is recognized as a considerable factor in managing human resources. The Service Industry of India is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in national and international markets. The industry is of prime importance due to its enormous support to the national economy with special regard to employment opportunities that it provides along with its role on the GDP of the country. This sector is credited with a contribution of approximately 60 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and an estimated 35 percent of employment. The India Information Technology (IT) Sector is seen in conjunction with the Information Technology enabled Services (ITeS).The sector has a substantial contribution to the national economy as it caters to domestic and foreign markets. The rise of exports makes it account for almost 75% of its total earned revenue. Broadly, the sector is divided into four large segments that comprise of IT services, ITES-BPO and Software; which includes both Research and Development and Engineering. The IT industry being a service industry is characterized by an intense use of emotional intelligence.

Hochschild (1983) contended that such jobs require the employee to interact face to face or voice to voice with other stakeholders such as clients, customers and guests. They are also required to produce emotional states in another person under expressions that are guided by the organizations display rules requirement; making the employee the actor, the client the audience and the shop floor the stage (Goleman, 1998). Researchers have highlighted the concept of ‘emotional labor’; which is a requirement for employees to act in an empathetic, positive and friendly manner at all times when dealing with customers, in order to make them feel wanted and welcomed (Grandey, 2003) .Emotional Intelligence has an important role to play on the emotional labor outcomes because individuals with high Emotional Intelligence have better emotional management strategies such as deep acting; whereas people with lower Emotional Intelligence adopt only surface acting to regulate their emotional expression (Cheung & Tang, 2009). This leads to stressful encounters for the employee, as he is forced to display feelings and emotions that he may or may not genuinely feel.

The IT industry is seen to be characterized by challenging conditions of Organizational Stress (O’Neill, 2011) In the IT industry, the life expectancy of products and programs declines each year, while the demands on employees increase; due to the unique set of environmental pressures such as continuous re-engineering, outsourcing, more demanding customers and general information overload (Karad 2010). Organizations are now recognizing the importance of effective management of Information Technology professionals for effective performance and functioning (Yeh, Lee & Pai, 2011), yet empirical evidence proves that problems associated with employees and their issues, are the major impediments in this context (Hazzan & Hadar, 2008). Amongst the major issues, there are problems like a shrinking student base, low attractiveness of the profession in terms of image and status (Day, 2007) and career commitment and turnover (Korunka, Hoonakker & Carayon, 2008); (Quan & Cha, 2010). The reason for this turnover has historically been attributed to stress (Engler, 1998). Research has emphasized an inverse role between Emotional Intelligence and Organizational Stress. It is believed that aspects of Emotional Intelligence pertaining to Self and the other; will help an employee to understand himself and deal with challenges such as Organizational Stress (Gani, 2012). The acknowledgement to develop Emotional Intelligence of the workforce therefore becomes a focal point for human resource practitioners and trainers in the service industry.

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