The relationship between emotional intelligence and the psychological contract : an exploratory case study
The psychological contract has been widely researched in the organisational literature, and found to have a strong impact on employment relations. Despite it already having been identified in the 1960's, Rousseau among others has recently been one of the leading pioneers to develop on the concept of the psychological contract to how it is now understood as a "the experience of employee and employer obligations through perceived promises made in the reciprocal employee-organisation relationship". Much of the literature has been focused on the experiences of violation, when these expectations go unmet, and the consequences of such violations. The other construct of this study is emotional intelligence. This heavyweight concept has also been widely explored in the research. Many different models have germinated from the different theories developed on emotional intelligence, and for the purpose of this research, an ability model approach developed by Mayer and Salovey has been used as a framework or paradigm. According to this approach, emotional intelligence is defined as an ability to perceive, access and generate emotions to guide thought patterns, understand others' emotions and to regulate our own emotions, so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth. Research on emotional intelligence and emotions in an organisational context has shown those to have an impact on work relations, consequently generating the interest to investigate whether the psychological contract could impact on this relationship. This study was carried out' using a cross sectional survey design to collect the data and obtain the research objectives. A convenience sample (N = 67) of administrative personnel at a higher educational institution was taken. As this research was of an exploratory nature, participants were allowed to remain completely anonymous for the study, as the population demographics were not required for the purpose of this study. The Psycones Questionnaire (Psychological Contracts among Employment Relations), was used to measure the state of the psychological contract, whereas the GEIS (Greek Emotional Intelligence Scale) was used to measure the experiences of emotional intelligence. The first objective of this study was to conceptualise the relationship between emotional intelligence and the psychological contract, which was achieved through an in depth literature review on the two constructs. A literature review on the psychological contract highlighted an integrative definition as well as an exploration of psychological contract breach and violation, and the consequences thereof. Where the literature on emotional intelligence explored the importance of emotions in the workplace and the benefits of the emotional intelligence research for the organisation as well as a definition: from an ability model proposed by Mayer and Salovey. The second objective of this study was to determine the construct validity and reliability of the emotional intelligence and psychological contract questionnaires. With the support from previous validated studies of these questionnaires carried out in a South African context, factor analyses and reliability analyses were nevertheless carried out and the results corresponded with the previous findings indicating the. viability of these questionnaires. The third objective was to determine the relationship between the emotional intelligence and the psychological contract constructs. Through correlation analyses the most significant findings .showed that the state of the psychological contract was directly related to control of emotions. Inter-item correlations also returned significant correlations. The fourth objective was to determine if emotional intelligence predicts the variance explained in the psychological contract. Through a series of regression analyses, one significant model was obtained between state of the psychological contract and control of emotions which explained 20% of the variance, which in relation to this study was profound. This finding concurred with the correlation analyses, clearly indicating in the overall results that a relationship between emotional intelligence and the psychological contract had to do with one's ability to control one's emotions, which had a significant effect on an individual's state (overall experience) of their psychological contract.