The compilation and evaluation of a development programme aimed at emotional intelligence
Jonker, Catharina Sophia
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Due to the complexity of today's organisational environment, those who are able to anticipate, react, and respond to change and learn, will likely be the ones that manage to maintain a competitive advantage. These organisations are constantly looking for more effective and efficient ways of training competencies to ensure the latter. The optimal development and utilisation of individual characteristics and skills are crucial to better organisation effectives within South African organisations. In this regard, the measurement and development of emotional intelligence can play a significant role. Emotional intelligence forms part of the contributing factors, which can enhance worker productivity (amongst other beneficial factors), because it stimulates an environment for change and innovation. There are indications that emotional intelligence levels are decreasing in labour market entrants. There is also a specific need for the development of emotional intelligence in accounting professions. Accountants' success is related to their intelligence quotient (20%) and also on the ability to understand themselves and other and to interact with people (emotional intelligence). Existing emotional intelligence programmes fail, because it makes use of cognitive learning over a short period of time. It was against this background that the research study was undertaken to determine the effect of a development programme aimed at emotional intelligence. The study population consisted of future employees of an accounting firm's Gauteng Province. The development programme aimed at emotional intelligence was designed according to training guidelines, models and methods specifically designed for emotional intelligence training programmes. The proposed training guidelines, models and methods were mainly learner centred, apply adult learning techniques and rely on experiential training methods. Forty future employees were randomly assigned using a before-after research design with a pre-post testing method. The Baron EQ-i was used to measure development in emotional intelligence competencies. A quantitative evaluation was made by using data derived from participant's diary inscriptions. The results of the empirical study revealed that the experimental groups' total EQ level developed significantly. The specific sub-scales of development included: Interpersonal, Adaptability and General Mood. Two of the competencies of the sub-scale lntra-personal showed in-creasement namely, Self-regard and self-actualisation. Although Stress Management as a sub-scale showed no significant improvement, there was a development in the Stress Tolerance competence. Qualitative impressions indicated a development in Emotional Self-awareness, Empathy and Interpersonal Relationships. Two themes that emerged, as possible new indicators of emotional intelligence are Self-Awareness and Self-acceptance.