Emotion experience, emotional intelligence and well-being in South Africa
Employee well-being is an increasingly important subject in organisational research. Emotions form a significant part of workplace well-being, in that negative emotion experiences could have detrimental effects on employees' health and well-being. However, there is a lack of research regarding specific affective events at work leading to certain emotions, especially within a South African working context. The extent to which employees are required to display appropriate emotions to perform effectively in their jobs is known as emotion work. This involves manipulating and controlling emotions in the performance of their jobs. When the emotions felt by the employee do not match the emotions he or she has to display, emotional dissonance occurs and this can lead to dysfunctional behaviour of the employee. An important aspect of emotional intelligence is the ability to regulate emotions in oneself and others, and plays a note worthy role in the emotion experiences and well-being of employees. Work is usually viewed in either a negative manner (relating to negative outcomes such as burnout) or a positive-manner (relating to positive outcomes such as engagement), and therefore burnout and engagement seems to be regarded as the main focus on the wellness continuum. However, certain individual attributes (emotional intelligence) and organisational factors (social support) contribute and impact on the experience of employee well-being. In order to measure the emotional intelligence levels of employees, it is important to make use of valid and reliable emotional intelligence measures. Nevertheless, there is a lack of empirical research on validity and reliability studies in terms of emotional intelligence in a South African context. A widely used measure of emotional intelligence in South Africa is the Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale (SEIS), but much criticism exists in terms of the measure's factorial validity, and therefore the need exists for an alternative emotional intelligence measure that can be standardised for a multi-cultural South African population. objectives of this research were to investigate and determine the emotions employees experience at work, the specific events causing such emotions, and the emotion regulation mechanisms employees implement in order to these emotion experiences; to test the construct validity and reliability of the Greek Emotional Intelligence Scale (GElS) across two different culture groups; and to develop and test a structural model of wellness including burnout and (well-being), emotion work, emotional intelligence and social support for professionals in a working context. This study was conducted in three consecutive studies. In study one a qualitative design was used. The population consisted of a non-probability purposive voluntary sample (N=52) of professionals in the mining industry in the North West and Gauteng Provinces. The interview results, together with notes from the observation periods, were analysed by using content analysis and indicated that employees experience a wide range of emotions at work including, amongst others, anger, aggression and aggravation, disappointment, and suspicion. Results also indicated that the events causing such emotions could be divided into three levels namely organisational level, group level and individual level Some of these events were organisational culture, lack of support and appreciation, and role conflict and role incongruence. It was also found that these professionals made use of emotional intelligence, emotion work and emotional distancing and detachment to regulate their emotions. Study two consisted of two sub-studies: Sub-study 1 was an exploratory factor analysis on a combined sample of 241 White and African professionals from a gold-mining environment. The four factors identified were caring and empathy, control of emotion, emotion expression and recognition, and use emotion to facilitate thinking. Sub-study 2 was a confirmatory factor analysis in order to support findings from sub-study 1. In step 1 a four-factor model on a combined sample of 345 White and African professionals from a platinum-and steel production environment was tested. Several items from the emotion expression and recognition scale cross-loaded onto the other three factors and it was decided to test a three-factor model. The three-factor model indicated the best goodness-of-fit indices and showed acceptable alpha coefficients. Step 2 involved testing these three factors in a White and African sample independently. In the White sample the factor model fitted the data after an investigation of the modification indices. However, when it was tested in the African sample four items were found to be problematic, but after omitting these items the model did in fact fit. This could possibly be explained by cultural differences between the White and African sample. In study three a cross-sectional survey design was utilised. An availability sample (N 465) was taken from human resource employees in a platinum-and steel production environment. The Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI) , Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES), Frankfurt Emotion Work Scale (PEWS), Greek Emotional Intelligence Scale (GElS) and Social Support Scale were administered. results obtained from structural equation modelling (SEM) showed that emotional intelligence and social support are negatively related to emotion work and burnout, and positively related to engagement, which means that employees with emotional intelligence and social support will be less likely to experience negative effects of emotion work and burnout and more likely to experience work engagement. Results also indicated that emotion work is positively related to burnout, meaning that emotion work leads to burnout.