CHAPTER 3: PSYCHOSOCIAL ATTRIBUTES
Chapter 3 presents a discussion of the second literature research aim, which pertained to the conceptualisation of the constructs of the psychosocial profile, namely emotional intelligence, career adaptability, psychosocial career preoccupations, self-efficacy, perceived organisational and social support, which may influence the career satisfaction of women. The aim was to determine whether certain aspects of the psychosocial profile allow some individuals to experience career satisfaction more than others. This corresponds with step 2 of phase 1 of the literature review, as outlined in Chapter 1 of the present study (see section 1.8.1).
In this chapter, the constructs of the psychosocial profile and the related theoretical models are explored. The variables influencing emotional intelligence, career adaptability, psychosocial career preoccupations, self-efficacy, perceived organisational and social support and the implications for career development and satisfaction are also discussed. This will enable the researcher to develop a conceptual framework for exploring the relationship between the variables of the psychosocial profile from various theoretical perspectives, which forms the basis of the proposed integrated theoretical model.
CONCEPTUALISATION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ATTRIBUTES
The psychological attributes (emotional intelligence, career adaptability, psychosocial career preoccupations and self-efficacy) that formed part of this research study are explained in the sub-sections that follow. This section focuses on the conceptualisation of four psychological attributes: emotional intelligence, career adaptability, psychosocial career preoccupations and self-efficacy. This is followed by a discussion of the underpinning theoretical models and the variables influencing these resources.
Psychological attributes are the positive psychological traits and states, such as the cognitions, motivations and emotions of an individual, which are generalised and conveyed in different contexts and more specifically in relation to the work roles (Hirschi, 2012). Psychological attributes are internal individual resources which provide a sense of control and are considered important in their own right (Bookwala & Fekete, 2009; Hobfoll, 2002).
In the next section, the construct of emotional intelligence is discussed.
This section conceptualises emotional intelligence and provides an overview of the models of emotional intelligence by Salovey and Mayer (1990), Schutte et al. (1998) and Bar-On (2006). The section concludes with a discussion of the variables influencing emotional intelligence and the implications for career satisfaction.
The notion of emotional intelligence has its conceptual roots in the work of Thorndike (1920) and Gardner (1983) who both argued for the importance of emotional awareness and understanding as components of social intelligence (Fambrough & Hart, 2008). In the beginning, social intelligence was viewed as the ability to understand and manage people (Thorndike & Stein, 1937). However, Thorndike (1920) differentiates social intelligence from other forms of intelligence and defines it as the ability to comprehend and manage male and female roles as well as to act wisely in social relationships. Subsequent to Thorndike’s (1920) ideas, Gardner (1993), in his theory of multiple intelligences, argued for the existence of several relatively independent human intelligences and proposes social intelligence to be one of the seven intelligence domains which comprises interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences.
Interpersonal intelligence refers to one’s capability to deal with others through being able to notice and differentiate among other individuals, in particular their moods, temperaments, motivations and intentions (Gardner, 1993; Law, Wong, & Song, 2004). Intrapersonal intelligence relates to one’s capability to deal with oneself and denote multifaceted and highly differentiated set of feelings (Gardner, 1993; Law et al., 2004). Emotional intelligence can therefore be regarded as personal intelligence divided into inter- and intra-personal intelligence of a person, comprising knowledge about the self and others (Law et al., 2004; Salovey & Mayer, 1990).
The original theory of emotional intelligence was developed by Salovey and Mayer (1990) who suggested emotional intelligence to be a set of information-processing skills that individuals utilise to construct reality from emotional stimuli for the purpose of managing life in an adaptive way (Coetzee & Harry, 2014). Although Mayer, Caruso, and Salovey (2000) conceptualise emotional intelligence as an ability similar to cognitive intelligence, Caruso, Mayer, and Salovey (2002), argue that emotional functioning forms an integral part of the individual’s reasoning (cognitive) and thinking functioning of intelligence. According to Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso (2004), emotional intelligence is considered operating on emotional information and they are of the view that emotions govern and often signal motivated responses to situations. Particularly, the role of emotion in explaining and understanding the construction of events is that emotion motivates and energises action, controls and regulates action, and has the capacity to access, orient and develop narratives about events (Brown, George-Curran, & Smith, 2003; Young, Valach, & Collin, 1996).
Intrinsically, emotion is viewed as an integrated state of feeling that involves physiological changes, cognitions about action, and inner experiences that arise from an appraisal of the self or situation (Mayer, Roberts, & Barsade, 2007). Furthermore, emotions such as anger, happiness and fear or mood states have an influence on how people think, make decisions and perform different tasks (Brackett, River, & Salovey, 2011). The emotionally intelligent individual is aware of his or her emotions and manages those emotions in the moment in order to respond appropriately and productively to events (Gardenswartz, Cherbosque & Rowe, 2010). Therefore, in understanding the role of emotion in career-related activities, researchers have introduced emotional intelligence to be an important antecedent to career decision−making and success (Brown et al., 2003; Garcia & Costa, 2014; Goleman, 1995).
According to Mayer et al. (2004), the emotional intelligence concept was influenced by a call to broaden the study of intelligence by attending to multiple specific intelligences. Of particular interest were the supposed ‘hot intelligences’ (see Mayer et al., 2004) which were assumed to operate on social, personal, practical as well as emotional information. Mayer et al. (2007) describe intelligence as a mental ability or sets of mental abilities that permit the recognition, learning, memory for and ability to reason about specific forms of information, such as verbal or performance information and understanding of perceptual patterns. Wechsler (1939) defines intelligence as the cumulative or global ability of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally and to deal effectively with the environment. Sternberg and Kaufman (1998) are of the view that intelligence is the capability to adapt to, shape and select environments to accomplish one’s goals as well as those of one’s society and culture. Therefore, intelligence is the capability to adapt effectively to the environment and to learn from experiences in order to achieve goals (Gregory, 2007).
Salovey and Mayer (1990) were amongst the pioneers to suggest the construct of emotional intelligence as the capacity to monitor one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions, as well as being able to differentiate among them and use that information to guide one’s thought process and actions. Mayer and Salovey (1997) further revised and defined emotional intelligence as a set of capabilities to perceive, appraise and express emotion correctly, the ability to utilise feelings to aid thought, the skill to understand emotions and emotional knowledge as well as to regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth. Underlying these emotional intelligence abilities are cognitive self-regulatory processes, such as objective awareness and appraisal of one’s own and others’ feelings, the ability to manage and express those feelings and the use of emotions to motivate behaviour as part of the utilisation of emotions (Coetzee Harry, 2014). Therefore, individuals high in emotional intelligence are able to engage in emotional problem solving that gives them the ability to pay attention to use, understand and manage emotions in order to potentially benefit themselves and others (Mayer et al., 2008).
According to Goleman (1995), emotional intelligence has emerged as an essential skill that is valuable in today’s organisations in determining success in relationships, career success and even people’s psychological well-being. Further, Goleman (1995) argues that within a pool of talented individuals of a particular profession some emerge as successful performers while others remain average in their performance as a result of the difference in their emotional intelligence. The basic assumption is that emotional intelligence provides the potential for performance, as opposed to performance itself; hence, how individuals would use this latent potential is a matter of personal choice in managing career−related actions and tasks (Coetzee Harry, 2014). As a result, emotional intelligence has inspired researchers to explore its relationships with organisationally relevant outcomes such as career success, career adaptability, impression management, career commitment, life satisfaction and psychological well-being (Akpochafo, 2011; Carmeli, Yitzhak-Halevy, & Weisberg, 2009; Coetzee & Harry, 2014; Jain, 2012; Rey, Extremera, & Pena, 2011; Zainal et al., 2011).
In summary, the present study adopted the original ability−trait (mixed) model of emotional intelligence (Salovey & Mayer, 1990), as illustrated in Figure 3.1 and defined emotional intelligence as a combination of abilities to correctly perceive and express emotion, the ability to access and regulate feelings with understanding, and to engage in emotional knowledge and problem solving that help to pay attention to and regulate emotions in order to benefit oneself and others (Mayer et al., 2008).
Emotional intelligence is regarded as a critical psychological resource for successful adaptation in various disciplines of life (Dahl & Cilliers, 2012). Emotional intelligence comprises interdependent skills in both self-awareness and responsiveness to others (Gardenswartz et al., 2010). From a theoretical perspective, emotional intelligence specifically refers to a combination of intelligence and emotional traits (Mayer et al., 2004). According to Mayer et al. (2007), emotional intelligence involves the capacity to perform accurate reasoning about emotions and to use emotions as well as emotional knowledge to enhance thought, intellectual growth and problem solving. Emotional intelligence is adaptive for managing social encounters, with highly emotionally intelligent people benefiting from the empathic understanding of others as well as having adaptive skills for constructive communication of context-appropriate emotions (Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2012). According to Matthews et al. (2012), emotionally intelligent people tend to perceive themselves as more socially competent, are likely to have better quality of personal relationships and are also viewed by others as more interpersonally sensitive than those lower in emotional intelligence.
There are three approaches to emotional intelligence, the ability model of emotional intelligence (Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 2016), trait model of emotional intelligence (Petrides
Furnham, 2003), and the mixed model or ability−trait model, which is a combination of both ability and trait emotional intelligence (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). According to Mayer et al. (2016), the ability model of emotional intelligence is viewed as standard intelligence, which meets traditional principles of intelligence, namely conceptual, correlational and developmental aspects of emotional intelligence. Trait-based emotional intelligence model focuses on mental abilities related to intelligence and emotion, but also on motivation, non-ability dispositions and traits, such as motives, sociability and warmth as well as global personal and social functioning
(Mayer et al., 2000). The final model, the mixed model or ability−trait model is a combination of both ability and trait emotional intelligence (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).
Brackett et al. (2011) argue that mixed models are understood to mix the ability conception with personality traits, which include constructs such as optimism, self-esteem and emotional self-efficacy. Zeidner, Roberts, and Matthews (2002) are of the view that emotional intelligence measures overlap with well-established personality constructs such as the five-factor model (FFM) of McCrae and Costa (2008). This mix of trait and ability perspective can become confusing as it assumes that emotional intelligence is partly a personality construct (Matthews et al., 2012). However, researchers argue that emotional intelligence can essentially be conceptualised as trait functioning (Petrides, Pérez-González, & Furnham, 2007; Schutte et al., 2009). Therefore, Petrides et al. (2009) suggest the notion ‘trait emotional intelligence’ refers to emotion-related dispositions and self-perceptions that are measured by validated self-report inventories.
Mixed conceptions such as those by Bar-On (2006) and Schutte et al. (2009) draw on the ability and trait models. For example, the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory includes 15 self-report scales that measure a person’s optimism, problem solving, assertiveness, reality-testing and other qualities (Bar-On (2006). The mixed model approach to assessing emotional intelligence draws on self or other reports to gather information regarding the display of emotional intelligence characteristics in daily life situations (Schutte et al., 2009). Three models, namely those by Salovey and Mayer (1990), Schutte et al. (1998) and Bar-On (2006) are presented to understand the nature of emotional intelligence and are discussed in the following section.
Salovey and Mayer’s model of emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is a form of social intelligence that involves the individual’s capability to reason about emotions and to process emotional information in order to improve cognitive processes (Grewal, Brackett, & Salovey, 2006). According to Brackett et al. (2011), emotional intelligence is associated with relevant outcomes across multiple dimensions that include cognitive and social functioning, physiological well-being, academic performance, leadership and other behaviours in the workplace. A study by Lopes, Grewal, Kadis, Gall, and Salovey (2006) revealed that emotional intelligent individuals received greater merit increases and held higher company ranks than their counterparts. In addition, these employees with higher emotional intelligence also received better peer and/or supervisor ratings of interpersonal facilitation, stress control and leadership potential than those with lower emotional intelligence (Lopes et al., 2006).
Figure 3.1 illustrates emotional intelligence as comprising a set of conceptually related mental processes involving emotional information.
The ability-trait (mixed) model of emotional intelligence (Salovey & Mayer, 1990) as outlined in Figure 3.1 suggests that emotional intelligence comprises a set of conceptually related mental processes involving emotional information. These mental processes comprise: appraising and expressing emotions in the self and others, regulating emotion in the self and others, and using emotions in adaptive ways. Salovey and Mayer (1990) argue that although these processes are common to all, the abilities of individuals differ in their capacity to understand and express emotions. These differences may be rooted in underlying skills that can be learned in order to contribute to issues such as performance at work. According to Zainal et al. (2011), to achieve career satisfaction, employees are concerned about emotional appraisal and regulation of emotion, in other words, employees are very much concerned about what other people think and feel towards them.
Appraisal and expression of emotion
Salovey and Mayer (1990) suggest correctly that appraising and expressing emotion is an essential component of emotional intelligence. For that reason, emotional appraisals somewhat determine various expressions of emotion, be it verbal or non-verbal. Emotionally intelligent individuals tend to quickly perceive and respond to their own emotions and are able to express those emotions to others. In addition, emotionally intelligent individuals can respond appropriately to their own feelings because of the accuracy with which they perceive their emotions.
According to Salovey and Mayer (1990), individual differences exist in the interpretation of emotions through facial expressions, particularly, in relation to empathy (the ability to comprehend other people’s feelings and to re-experience them). Emotionally intelligent individuals are skilful at recognising others’ emotional reactions and are perceived as genuine and warm by others. Hence individuals with emotional intelligence capability tend to clearly and appropriately communicate emotions verbally, display positive nonverbal body language, are more empathic and display a warm fabric of interpersonal relations.
Regulation of emotions
Salovey and Mayer (1990) postulate that individuals in their reflective experience have access to knowledge regarding their own and others’ moods, which represents willingness and the ability to monitor, evaluate and regulate emotions. Further, regulation of emotion may lead to adaptive and reinforcing mood states. As such, emotionally intelligent individuals should be especially proficient at this process and do so to meet particular goals. In leadership roles, emotionally intelligent individuals may enhance their own and others’ moods or even manage emotions in order to motivate them charismatically toward achieving performance goals.
Utilisation of emotions
According to Salovey and Mayer (1990), individuals differ in their capability to harness their own emotions in order to solve problems. When emotionally intelligent individuals approach life tasks, they tend to be at an advantage for solving unintended problems adaptively due to the way they frame the problems, which is not the way less emotionally intelligent individuals may address such problems. Emotionally intelligent individuals also tend to use moods to motivate persistence at challenging tasks. Having framed a problem, emotionally intelligent individuals may be creative and flexible at arriving at possible alternatives to problems and integrate emotional considerations when choosing among alternatives. Finally, individuals with positive attitudes toward life, create interpersonal experiences that lead to better outcomes and greater rewards for themselves and others. For example, such individuals are more likely not to ask how much they will earn in a career, but rather whether they will experience satisfaction in such a career.
Mayer and Salovey (1997) revised the conceptualisation of emotional intelligence to include thinking about emotions or feelings. The revised model is viewed as a set of four discrete interrelated abilities (also referred to as branches) involved in the processing of emotional information. The four branches in Figure 3.2 are arranged from basic psychological processes to higher, psychologically integrated processes. The lowest level branch concerns the relatively simple abilities of perceiving and expressing emotion, whereas, the highest level branch concerns the conscious reflective regulation of emotion.
According to Brackett et al. (2011), the lowest level, the first branch ‘perception of emotion,’ represents the ability to identify and differentiate emotions in the self and others. This entails identifying emotional experiences in physical states (including bodily expressions) and thoughts. More specifically, this ability permits an individual to identify emotional information in other people, a work of art or objects using cues such as sound, appearance, colour, language and behaviour. The second branch ‘use of emotions to facilitate thinking’, refers to harnessing emotion to facilitate cognitive activities, such as reasoning, problem solving and interpersonal communication. A basic feature of this ability is expending emotions to prioritise thinking by directing attention to important information about the environment or others.
The third branch ‘understanding and analysing emotions’, involves comprehension of the language and meaning of emotions and an understanding of the antecedents of emotion. A basic skill in this arena comprises classifying emotions with accurate language as well as recognising similarities and differences between emotion cues and emotions themselves (e.g. blends of feeling, such as feeling both interested and angered). The fourth branch ‘reflective regulation of emotions’, refers to the ability to prevent, reduce, enhance or modify an emotional response in the self and others, as well as being able to experience a variety of emotions while making decisions about appropriateness or the efficiency of an emotion in interpersonal circumstances to achieve personal goals and adaptive outcomes.
Emotionally intelligent individuals tend to understand and express their own emotions, recognise emotions in others, and regulate and use emotions as a basis for thinking to motivate adaptive behaviours (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). Emotionally and socially intelligent individuals are able to manage social, personal and environmental changes successfully by coping realistically and flexibly with the immediate situation, as well as solving problems and making decisions (Bar-On, 2006). Ultimately, individuals need to manage emotions so that these work for and not against them and they also need to be sufficiently optimistic, positive and self-motivated (Bar-On, 2006).
Below, Figure 3.2 depicts the four-branch model arranged from basic psychological processes to higher, psychologically integrated processes, which relate to emotional intelligence.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES
LIST OF TABLES
CHAPTER 1: SCIENTIFIC OVERVIEW OF THE RESEARCH
1.1 BACKGROUND AND MOTIVATION FOR THE RESEARCH
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.3 AIMS OF THE RESEARCH
1.4 STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
1.5 RESEARCH MODEL
1.6 PARADIGM PERSPECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH
1.7 RESEARCH DESIGN
1.8 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.9 CHAPTER DIVISION
1.10 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 2: META-THEORETICAL CONTEXT OF THE STUDY: DYNAMICS OF CONTEMPORARY CAREER DEVELOPMENT
2.1 CONTEMPORARY CAREER DEVELOPMENT
2.2 CAREER SUCCESS IN CONTEMPORARY CAREER DEVELOPMENT
2.3 CAREER DEVELOPMENT OF WOMEN: THEORETICAL MODELS
2.4 EVALUATION AND SYNTHESIS
2.5 VARIABLES INFLUENCING CAREER DEVELOPMENT AND CAREER SUCCESS 77
2.7 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 3: PSYCHOSOCIAL ATTRIBUTES
3.1 CONCEPTUALISATION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ATTRIBUTES
3.2 SOCIAL RESOURCES
3.3 EVALUATION AND SYNTHESIS OF THE RESEARCH LITERATURE
3.4 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 4: THEORETICAL INTEGRATION: TOWARDS CONSTRUCTING A PSYCHOSOCIAL PROFILE FOR ENHANCING THE CAREER SUCCESS OF PROFESSIONAL WOMEN
4.1 INTEGRATION OF PSYCHOSOCIAL CONSTRUCTS IN RELATION TO CAREER SATISFACTION
4.2 THE INFLUENCE OF PERSON-CENTERED VARIABLES ON PSYCHOSOCIAL ATTRIBUTES AND CAREER SATISFACTION
4.3 TOWARD TESTING A HYPOTHETICAL THEORETICAL PSYCHOSOCIAL PROFILE OF PROFESSIONAL WOMEN
4.4 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 5: RESEARCH METHOD
5.1 DETERMINATION AND DESCRIPTION OF THE SAMPLE
5.2 CHOOSING AND MOTIVATING THE CHOICE OF THE PSYCHOMETRIC BATTERY 220
5.3 ADMINISTRATION OF THE PSYCHOMETRIC BATTERY
5.4 SCORING OF THE PSYCHOMETRIC BATTERY
5.5 FORMULATION OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
5.6 STATISTICAL PROCESSING OF THE DATA
5.7 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 6: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
6.1 PRELIMINARY STATISTICAL ANALYSIS
6.2 DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS
6.3 CORRELATIONAL STATISTICS
6.4 INFERENTIAL (MULTIVARIATE) STATISTICS
6.5 INTEGRATION AND DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH RESULTS
6.6 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
7.3 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
7.5 EVALUATION OF THE RESEARCH
7.6 CHAPTER SUMMARY
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