Job demands, job resources, emotional intelligence and work-related well-being in a call centre
Call centre employees in the insurance industry constantly interacts and negotiates with strangers, and are confronted with the unknown, unfamiliar and the unpredictable. They use interactive display terminals during telephone calls and thus perform multiple-tasks with frequent interruptions. Their jobs are also characterised by repetitive movements, while complex information is processed. In addition, call centre employees often work in noisy environments under time pressure, and their performance is usually monitored on line. Job demands and job resources can influence the well-being of call centre employees. Emotional intelligence is deemed to aid in the conceptualisation of psychological well-being and can be applied as a means to successfully cope with daily demands and pressures. The objective of this research was to determine the relationship between job demands, job resources, emotional intelligence (EQ) and work-related well-being of call centre employees. A cross-sectional survey design was used. The study population (n = 141) consisted of call centre employees in a corporate insurance environment in Gauteng. The Bar-On EQ-i, Maslach Burnout Inventory-General survey, UWES, Job characteristics scale and a biographical questionnaire were used as measuring instruments. Cronbach alpha coefficients, inter-item correlation coefficients, factor analysis, Pearson product moment correlation coefficients and structural equation modelling were used to analyse the data. Principal component analysis resulted in a fifteen factor model of emotional intelligence namely emotional self-awareness, assertiveness, self-regard, self-actualisation, independence, empathy, interpersonal relationship, social responsibility, problem-solving, reality testing, flexibility, stress tolerance, impulse control, happiness and optimism. Regarding the Job Characteristics Scale, eight factors were extracted, namely role clarity, supervision, pay and benefits, workload, job security, colleague support, opportunity to grow and social contact between the call centre agents. For the MBI-GS two factors were extracted namely: exhaustion and cynicism and for the UWES one factor was extracted, namely vigour/dedication. The correlation coefficients indicated that exhaustion was statistically a significant positive correlation (practically significant, large effect) with cynicism and a statistically significant positive correlation (practical1y significant, medium effect) with workload. Exhaustion was also a statistically significant negative correlation (practical1y significant, large effect) with engagement and a statistically significant negative correlation (practically significant, medium effect) with role clarity, col1eague support, self-regard, self-actualisation, flexibility, stress tolerance, impulse control, and happiness. Cynicism showed a statistically significant negative correlation (practical significant, large effect) with engagement and a statistically significant negative correlation (practical significant, medium effect) with role clarity, supervision, opportunity to grow, engagement, emotional self-awareness, self-regard, self actualisation, flexibility, and happiness. The results indicated that EQ directly influences the experience of burnout (main effect), however, no results could be obtained supporting the moderating effect of EQ between emotional demands and burnout. Recommendations were made for cal1 centre management in the insurance industry and for future research purposes.