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Richard Harmer (email@example.com)
School of Psychology Australian Catholic University, St Patrick’s Campus, Victoria, Fitzroy VICTORIA 3065 Australia
Research into the role of Organisational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB) and Emotional Intelligence (EI) in the workplace is increasingly commonplace. And research is beginning to explore the relationship between these two constructs. However, how an employee’s spiritual experiences affect these two constructs remains unknown. In a small pilot study, the relationship between the dependent variable of OCB (van Dyne, et al., 1994) and an employee’s level of overall EI (Total EI) and Depth of Spirituality Experience (DSE) was explored. Using the Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale (Schutte, et al., 1998) and the Spiritual Assessment Scale (Howden, 1993), the present researcher proposed and tested a hierarchical relationship between these two constructs and OCB. The initial study consisted of sixty Australian workers, 38 females (Mean age 42.2 years, SD = 13.5) and 20 males (Mean age 46.0 years, SD = 11.5). Two participants did not specify their gender. All participants completed an Internet-based questionnaire. Significant and positive correlations were found between all variables. Results were further analysed using hierarchical regression analysis with the model accounting for 28% of the variance in Total OCB using the variable of Total EI at Step 1 (F (1, 47) = 18.14, p < .001), and a further 11% of the variance in Total OCB once the DSE variable was entered (F (1, 46) = 8.44, p < 0.01) at Step 2. Although only a preliminary finding, the model suggests that an employee’s Depth of Spiritual Experience; defined as the extent to which an individual experiences purpose and meaning in life, an innerness or a striving for discovering personal wholeness, a feeling of relatedness or attachment to others, and a capacity to go beyond the limits of common experience; may mediate the effect of that employee’s emotional intelligence when predicting the variability in demonstrated organisational citizenship behaviours at work. Future directions in workplace EI and spirituality research are suggested.
A growing body of research into Organisational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB) suggests that employees demonstrate greater role performance when they experience a strong connection to their organisation, have a sense of ownership over to its continued success, are loyal to their role and work colleagues and, have
found a sense of meaning and purpose in their daily work (Van Dyne, Graham, & Dienesch, 1994). Similar results have been found for intact work teams (Ehrhart & Naumann, 2004). Research exploring OCB and an organisation’s overall performance has also found significant relationship. Organisations whose employees demonstrate OCBs enjoy higher managerial productivity; the efficient ‘on-boarding’ of new hires; improved strategic planning, business processes and the allocation of key organisational resources; and the frequency of communication between and across work groups (Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1997). There is even research into the relationship between OCB and its antecedents; those factors that determine an individual or work team’s propensity to demonstrate OCBs when at work (Ehrhart & Naumann, 2004). In one such study, Van Dyne, Graham and Dienesch (1994) identified six key characteristics underpinning employee’s willingness to display OCBs: positive job attitudes, shared workplace values, the amount of motivating job characteristics, length of tenure, job level and, a low incident of employee cynicism. However, it remains why unclear what the mediating factors of OCB are. Most research to date has focusing on exploring the mediating relationship of employee job satisfaction to OCB (Chiu & Chen, 2005). Formal research is yet to determine a comprehensive account of the ‘characteristics’ shown to mediate an individual employee’s choice to go beyond just that required to perform immediate job role (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000). Studies exploring the specific factors contributing to employee discretionary effort remains of significant interest to organisational behaviour research (Morrison & Phelps, 1999; Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1997). OCB has often been referred to in academic literature as a construct focused on ‘helping’ (Ehrhart & Naumann, 2004). Those employees that demonstrate OCBs are more likely to provide others with assistance in completing work tasks and demonstrate loyalty to work colleagues and the organisation; foster connectedness with other individuals and work teams; and promote the goals of the organization whilst also contributing to its social and psychological environment
(Lievens & Ansell, 2004). Variance in each of these important organisational outcomes has also been predicted using various measures of employee Emotional Intelligence (EI) (Bar-On, 1997). Therefore it was hypothesized that OCBs would enjoy a positive relationship with the demonstration of employee EI in the workplace. Recent research completed by Sitter (2005) supports – although only partially - this hypothesized relationship. In the study, Sitter measured a leader’s trait-based EI using the Wong and Law EI Scale (Law, Wong, & Song, 2004) as well as the leader’s subordinate’s demonstration of OCBs. Sitter found that a leader’s use of EI accounted for 2.9% of the variance in subordinate’s demonstration of OCBs. This result suggests that there is a relationship between OCB and EI; however, the result also suggests that an individual’s choice to demonstrate OCB more likely to be intrinsically motivated (Chiu & Chen, 2005). Although academic research demonstrates the important role of EI in facilitating high employee performance (Dulewicz & Higgs, 2003) and OCBs (Jain & Sinha, 2003; Sitter, 2005), less is known about why an employee demonstrates OCBs. What intrinsically motivates an individual employee to utilise discretionary effort independent of any explicit recognition by the organisation’s formal reward system? The present research aims to explore one possible motivating factor that encourages employees to undertake extra-role behaviours when at work: Spirituality. Spirituality is a universally experienced phenomenon (Miovic, 2004) and is theorised to be a higher order construct than EI (Wilbur, 2006). Further, an employee’s pursuit of his or spiritual experience has also been shown to be intrinsically motivated (Fry, 2003). Further, research suggests that the role of spirituality in organisations is significant (Zohar & Marshall, 2004). Spirituality provides organisations and employees with an entirely different way of knowing and experiencing work (Flier, 1995). A way of experiencing work that does result in measurable market advantage (Aburdene, 2005). The ‘deeper’ an individual employee’s spiritual experience the greater the benefits to them – in managing their career – and the organisations in which they work (Aburdene, 2005). In combination, EI and spirituality provide employees with the inner awareness to better identify and pursue the in-and-extra role aspects of their daily work. Activities that in the aggregate promote the effective functioning of the organisation (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000).
The Present Study
The present pilot study aims to examine the relationship between EI, spirituality and OCB. The specific hypotheses for the present study are as follows: first, there will be a significant and positive relationship between EI and OCB; second, there will be significant positive relationship between spirituality and OCB, and; third, an employee’s depth of spiritual experience will be associated with their demonstration of OCBs beyond that predicted by EI.
The participants for the present pilot study consisted of 60 employees; 20 males (Age: M=46.0 years, SD=11.5), 38 females (Age: M=42.2 years, SD=13.5) and two participants that did not indicate their gender. Participants came from a diverse range of occupational backgrounds, including Administration and Support Services (6.7%), Human Resources (6.7%), Management and Operations (17.8%), Sales and Marketing (3.3%) and Other (65.5); an equally diverse range of industries; a range of employee levels, including CEO (17.7%), Divisional Leader (11.7%), Manager of Others (13.4%) and Employee/Other (57.2%); with 78.3% having a Bachelor degree or higher; and 60% having an annual income in excess of $60,000. Finally, participants came from a range of formal spiritual practices: Organised (41.7%), Eastern (8.3%), New Age (15%) and no formal spiritual practice (20%). Participants were drawn from a large range of contexts within Australia and they took part in the pilot study on a voluntary basis.
The following measures were used in the present pilot study: Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale (SEIS). The SEIS, developed by Schutte and her colleagues (1998), is a trait-based measure of emotional intelligence consisting of 33 positive and negatively keyed items measuring four dimensions: Appraisal Of Emotions In Self, Appraisal Of Emotions In Others, Emotional Regulation In Self and, Using Emotions In Problem Solving. The instrument utilises a five-point Lickert scale, where 1 = ‘never’ and 5 = ‘always’. Sample items in the SEIS include: “I expect that I will do well on most things I try” and “Other people find it easy to confide in me”. Scale items can be summed to provide a Total Emotional Intelligence (Total EI) score, with a reported reliability coefficient (α) for Total EI of 0.90 (Schutte et al., 1998).
Spiritual Experiences Scale (SAS) (SEIS). The SAS, developed by Howden (1993), is a 28-item measure of spirituality consisting of four facets of individual spirituality: Purpose and Meaning in Life, Innerness or Inner Resources, Unifying Connectedness, and Transcendence. Items are responded to using a six-point Lickert scale, where 1= ‘strongly disagree’ and 6 = ‘strongly agree’. A sample item for the SAS is, “My inner strength is related to a belief in a Higher Power or Supreme Being. All 28-items can be summed to provide a Depth of Spiritual Experience (DSE) score, with a reported reliability coefficient (α) of 0.92 (Howden, 1993). Organisational Citizenship Behaviour Scale (OCBS). The OCBS, developed by Van Dyne, Graham and Dienesch (1994), is a 34-item instrument measuring five factors of OCB: Loyalty, Obedience, Social Participation, Advocacy Participation and Functional Participation. Items are responded to using a sevenpoint Lickert scale, where 1 = ‘does not apply to me’ and 7 = ‘applies very well to me’. Items in the scale include, “I share ideas for new projects or improvements widely” and “I volunteer for overtime work as required”. All items can be summed to produce a Total OCB score. According to the scale authors, Total OCB has a reported reliability coefficient (α) of 0.95 (Van Dyne, Graham, & Dienesch, 1994).
Table 1: Descriptive statistics, reliability coefficients (α) and between-scale correlations (r) for each measure.
Theoretical Range M SD α SEIS DSE
OCBS SEIS DSE
34-238 33-165 28-168
172.25 82.88 131.96
21.32 9.42 18.81
.92 .94 .95
* p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001, ns = not significant
The Relationship Between Total OCB And Total EI As shown in Table 1, participants in the present pilot study demonstrate a level OCBs higher than the theoretical mid-point for the OCBS. This result suggests a higher degree of discretionary effort is being used by those who participated in the present study. However, participants demonstrate a level of overall EI (Total EI) slightly below the midpoint score for the SEIS. Further, the results presented in Table 1 also show that employees’ Total OCB is significantly and positively correlated with their overall level of EI. The Relationship Between Total OCB And DFE Participants in the present pilot study demonstrate Depth of Spiritual Experience (DSE) higher than the theoretical mid-point for the SAS. As presented in Table 1, participants’ DSE was significantly and moderately correlated with OCB (r = .52, p < .001). Further, participants’ DFE was significantly positively correlated with their Total EI score (r = .63, p < .001). Predicting The Role Total EI And DFE Has On Total OCB As presented in Table 2, a two-step hierarchical regression was conducted to predict Total OCB. Total EI was entered at Step 1 and DFE was entered at Step 2. At Step 1, the hierarchical regression model was significant with Total EI accounting for 28% of the variance in Total OCB (F (1, 47) = 18.14, p < .001). At Step 2, the model then accounted for a further 11% of the variance in Total OCB once the variable of DSE was added (F (1, 46) = 8.44, p < .01). At Step 2, DSE was the only significant predictor of Total OCB (t = 2.90, p < .01). Table 2: Hierarchical regression analysis predicting Total OCB using variables Total EI and DFE (N = 48)
Predictor STEP 1 Total EI STEP 2 Total EI DSE Beta (β) .53 .26 .43 t 4.26*** .63 1.74 2.91** .39 .36*** R .53 R2 .28
Participants were recruited using a range of approaches, including: word of mouth of the researcher, letter-box drop, articles in industry magazines, and participant referral. Data was collected using an Internet-based questionnaire. The measures used in the present study were part of a larger questionnaire battery that also included a series of demographic questions. The questionnaire battery took participants approximately 45-minutes to complete. Participants were encouraged to complete the test battery in one sitting; however, they were able to “Pause” at any time. Participants were not paid for their participation.
The data collected was analysed using SPSS Version 11.5.0. Collected data was normally distributed. There were no gender differences in results; so combined responses for males and females are used in the data analysis of this study. The theoretical range, means (M), standard deviations (SD), reliability coefficient (α) and Pearson’s correlation coefficients (r) for each measure used in the present study are presented in Table 1. In general, the means, standard deviations and alpha coefficients were similar to those reported by the scale authors.
* p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001, ns = not significant
The present pilot study aims to examine the relationship between EI, spirituality and OCB. Three hypotheses were tested. First, there will be a significant and positive relationship between EI and OCB. Second, there will be significant positive relationship between OCB and spirituality. Finally, an employee’s depth of spiritual experience will be associated with their demonstration of OCBs beyond that predicted by EI. All three hypotheses were supported in the present study. The pilot study’s first hypothesis that there would be a significant and positive relationship between EI and OCB was supported. Research exploring the relationship between these two constructs in only just emerging with results to date being mixed (Schmidt, 2006; Sitter, 2005). The present study aimed to replicate the findings of previous research (Schmidt, 2006; Sitter, 2005), which utilised trait-based measures of workplace EI. The results provide further support for the positive role eof EI in employee demonstration of OCBs (Jain & Sinha, 2003). The study’s second hypothesis was also supported. Results suggest that here is a significant and positive relationship between an employee’s demonstration of OCBs and his or her depth of spiritual experience. With tightening labour markets in Australia and abroad, fostering an individual employee’s responsibility to mould a personally meaningful career is critical (Garcia-Zamor, 2003). Although preliminary, this finding will be of genuine interest to organisational behaviour research (Morrison & Phelps, 1999; Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1997). The present study’s third and final hypothesis was also supported. An employee’s overall level of EI was a significant predictor of an employees’ demonstration of OCBs, accounting for 28% of the variance. However, an employee’s depth of spiritual experience accounted for an additional 11% of the variance in employee OCBs and mediated the relationship between an employee’s overall EI and OCB. Spirituality has been described as an individual pursuit, multidimensional and subjective in nature, that is personal in outcome (Adams & Bezner, 2000; Hill et al., 2000). Like the choice to demonstrate OCBs, an employee’s pursuit of spiritual growth is considered to be intrinsic in origin (Chiu & Chen, 2005; Hill et al., 2000).
taboo (Milliman, Czaplewski, & Ferguson, 2003) and, therefore, adequate data collection is an endemic problem. Future research should attempt to generate a larger participant sample.
Implications And Further Research
OCB provides the opportunity to examine employee and workplace behaviours in a more sophisticated way than traditional measures, such as job satisfaction or organisational affective commitment (Van Dyne, Graham, & Dienesch, 1994). Developing a comprehensive account of the antecedent and mediating variables influencing an employee’s choice to undertake extra-role activities at work is important research. The present pilot examined two possible variables: EI and spirituality. However, OCB is both workplace and behaviour focused. Previous research into the various EI scales show only a low to moderate relationship between ability, trait and behaviour-based measures of the construct (Palmer, 2003). Therefore, future studies could utilise a behaviourally-based measure of EI to better determine if the theorized relationship between OCB and EI is empirically justified. Doing so has an added benefit, research is increasingly showing that workplace EI can be developed (Caruso & Salovey, 2004). Of equal importance is ongoing research exploring the role of employee spirituality in the workplace. Spirituality has been characterised as a core characteristic of healthy people and, more recently, high performing employees and organisations (Aburdene, 2005; Garcia-Zamor, 2003). With the majority of one’s life spent at work, it is somewhat surprising that spirituality in the workplace has (until recently) been ignored by academic research (Lund Dean, 2004).
The present pilot study failed to find a significant positive relationship between OCB and EI, but found a significant relationship between OCB and spirituality. The results generated, although preliminary, suggest that the depth of an employee’s spiritual experience does account for a meaningful proportion of the variance in employee OCBs. When exploring human potential within an organisational context, explicitly placing spirituality and the pursuit of spiritual experiences at work on the larger research agenda appears to be a natural progression.
Caution should be exercised when interpreting the findings presented for this study due the small sample size. A number of researchers in the spirituality field note that academic and mainstream literature still consider the exploration of spirituality in work to be
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