CHAPTER 3: SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, COPING ABILITY, BIOGRAPHICAL CHARACTERISTICS, AND BURNOUT
This chapter focuses on the constructs of spiritual intelligence (SI), emotional intelligence (EI) and coping ability (CA), and biographical characteristics and how these relate to burnout in general but more specifically to burnout in Humanitarian Aid Workers (HAW). It seeks to answer Research Questions 3 to 6, which relate to literature review. By answering these research questions in this chapter, the research aims will be achieved. The chapter seeks to explore how the constructs of SI, EI, and CA are conceptualised in literature, how they relate to burnout, and whether a conceptual model can be proposed for their relationship, and what biographical characteristics are essential to burnout. These three constructs of SI. EI and CA relate to various social competences, essential for success in humanitarian aid roles. Besides academic qualifications and experience, aid workers must show a high level of social competences of which these three are part.
Not only are these competences necessary in the discharge of duties, but they are also likely to be important in the prevention of psychological, or general mental health challenges of which burnout is one. The conceptualisation of these variables in literature will be explored together with how these constructs are related to burnout in aid workers. The researcher will explore definitions, models, and measures of SI, EI, and CA. Implications of such conceptualisation in the Humanitarian Aid industry will be discussed, together with critical conclusions from the literature on Humanitarian Aid Worker burnout. This section shall consider SI, EI, and CA as individual constructs, their sub-dimensions, and their relationship with burnout, and how they independently relate to each other.
This section shall explore the concept of Spiritual Intelligence, its definition, models, history, and measurement, as well as how the concept is related to other forms of intelligence. The section would also focus on how the concept relates to burnout in general, and specifically how it relates to burnout in humanitarian aid workers.
Spiritual intelligence is a branch of intelligence advanced as crucial to adaptation, just like cognitive and emotional intelligence. In the same vein, it is now referred to as spiritual quotient (SQ), in the hopes that it can be taken into consideration alongside intelligence quotient (IQ), and emotional quotient (EQ). Regarding origin and use, the term ‘spiritual intelligence’ (SI) was coined by Danah Zohar in her 1997 book “ReWiring the Corporate Brain’ (1997). Before Zohar wrote about Spiritual Intelligence, Howard Gardner (1993) considered the idea of spiritual intelligence when he came up with his theory of multiple intelligences, but chose not to include Spiritual Intelligence (Gardner, 1993). His reason for not including SI in his list of intelligences was mainly due to its inability to lend itself to the strict scientific criteria for intelligence. As a compromise, he proposed the replacement of spiritual intelligence with « existential intelligence » (Gardner, 1999). Such an acknowledgement by Gardner points to the possibility of the concept of SI ‘graduating’ into what is considered a fully-fledged ‘intelligence’ if researchers advance the concept, to lend it to quantifiability. As such, researchers then took on the challenge of exploring this possibility by refining the concept as well as creating possible tools for scientifically measuring the concept (D. King, 2008; King & DeCicco, 2009).
Despite the interest in the concept of spiritual intelligence (SI) and its utility in health and well-being, few measurement tools have been developed. However, the fact that most of these measures are of a self-reported nature has also not helped the situation. Also, the fact that some researchers have tried to make the self-assessment associated with Spiritual Intelligence less susceptible to false reporting is quite encouraging (D. King, 2008). Regarding application, spiritual intelligence has been applied in organisations to address issues of well-being, motivation, values, diversity, and meaning in a non-religious way (D. King, 2008). Some contemporary researchers on values and meaning regard spiritual intelligence as the ultimate form of intelligence (Wigglesworth, 2012). In this research on burnout among aid workers, SI seems to be a fundamental concept as it plays into the motivation to join aid work, and resilience in the face of numerous occupational challenges associated with it, as well as support mechanisms for dealing with burnout in the aid context.
Definitions and Conceptualisation
There have been many definitions of spiritual intelligence (SI). Of interest in these definitions is the acknowledgement that spiritual intelligence is distinct from religion, religiosity, or spirituality. These definitions will be considered below.
Zohar (1997) defined spiritual intelligence as that form of intelligence with which we address and solve problems of meaning and value. This SI also allows people to assess and choose the best course of action or the more meaningful one than others. The definition attempts to link SI with choice in life decisions. Zohar (2012) asserted that various principles underlie Spiritual Intelligence, which is very distinct from religion.
To Wigglesworth (2012) spiritual intelligence (SI) describes one’s ability to act with wisdom and compassion, while at the same time maintaining inner and outer peace irrespective of the circumstances. This definition is unusual in that it refers to compassion or selflessness and wisdom as well as a sense of holistic peace irrespective of the conditions in the environment. It may point to issues of living a life of meaning to oneself and others. In other words, it has connotations of ‘outliving’ oneself and circumstances. The definition speaks to personal calling to a vocation. Its connotation also portrays the ability to cope with environmental stress in the discharge of one’s mission. The definition can easily relate to the unwritten expectation that aid workers must be compassionate and maintain their inner peace despite circumstances under which they operate. (Stoddard & Harmer, 2010; Pigni, 2014).
Emmons (2000) defines spiritual intelligence as the adaptive use of spiritual information to facilitate everyday problem solving and goal attainment. To him, it refers to the way in which spiritual information is utilised as a means of dealing with day-to-day problems and reaching intended goals. The definition implies that SI has a part to play in dealing with problems and achievement of goals. It therefore relates to coping and motivation. What constitutes spiritual information is problematically, not clear.
Amram (2007) defined SI as the ability to embody spiritual resources and qualities to enhance daily functioning and wellbeing. The definition tends to give credence to SI in everyday functioning as well as maintenance of wellbeing. In other words, it tries to provide a link between high SI and positive wellbeing. It can, therefore, follow that in aid work, those who have a high SI are expected to show qualities that enhance their daily functioning and wellbeing. They ought to be expected to cope well with stress and burnout because of such spiritual resources.
Vaughan (2002) defines spiritual intelligence as concerned with the inner life of mind and spirit and its relationship to being in the world. The focus of this definition can be said to be on inner peace and its effect on how one relates to the environment. There seems to be a distinction between the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ spheres of life. What is not clear however is the direction of the relationship, that is, whether the ‘inner’ influences the ‘outer’ or vice versa, or the reason for it.
Kumar and Mehta (2011a) define spiritual intelligence as the capacity of an individual to possess a socially relevant purpose in life by understanding ‘self’ and to have a high degree of conscience, compassion, and commitment to human values. According to this definition, it seems the individual is bound by the compulsion to be socially relevant. Societal norms and values having an influence on the development of the socially relevant purpose and in giving guidance on conscience and human values. It seems that the theme of compassion and purpose is of paramount importance in this conceptualisation of SI. Humanitarian work is driven by humane values on the part of the donors and the workers themselves. As such that commitment to human values and work can be a driver of burnout (Maslach & Jackson, 1986). It is therefore not surprising to find burnout in aid workers because the kind of work they do requires high levels of commitment and sacrifice (Pigni, 2014).
David King (2008) defines spiritual intelligence (SI) as a set of adaptive mental capacities based on non-material and transcendent aspects of reality. To David King (2008), these capacities contribute to the awareness, integration, and adaptive application of the nonmaterial and transcendent aspects of one’s existence. They also lead to outcomes like deep existential reflection, enhancement of meaning, recognition of a transcendent self, and mastery of spiritual states (D.King, 2008). There seems to be an acknowledgement that SI is not unitary but a collection of mental abilities. This definition focuses on abilities, that is, it points to the existence of an ability model of SI just as the other definitions seem to point to the existence of a trait model of SI, given their focus on traits.
A quick consideration of the above definitions will point to the following aspects of the definition and conceptualisation of spiritual intelligence:
- inner peace/tranquility
- spiritual states
- relationship with self and others
What can also be gleaned from these various definitions of SI is that the concept of SI is apparently a mixture of both traits and abilities shaped by the way the individual interacts with his environment.
Spiritual intelligence is therefore operationally defined in this study as the ability to pursue personal life meaning and transcendent goals with humane values, wisdom, compassion, and commitment, while solving existential problems at the same time maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the circumstances.
Spirituality and Religion
Researchers have found it difficult to distinguish between spirituality and religion. It has been agreed that the two concepts are related but different, where in many cases, it was found that the two concepts share some characteristics making it difficult to delineate between them. According to Zimmer, Jagger, Chiu, Ofstedal, Rojo, and Saito (2016), religious activity takes places within formal institutions, but spiritual activity takes a more personal focus and can even exist outside formal institutions. As such, religion is associated with a set of specific fundamental principles organised around systems of beliefs, practices, and rituals (Zimmer et al., 2016). On the other hand, spirituality relates to a personal search of things sacred and transcendent. To Amram (2007), spirituality refers to the search for and the experience of the sacred, ultimate meaning and higher consciousness, or transcendences that emphasise abilities that predict functioning and adaptation.
Spirituality is a broad concept inclusive of religions and religious beliefs. This broad focus extends to having SI without religious boundaries. It has however been found that there is more evidence of spirituality within religion than outside religion leading to the conclusion that religion is part of the broad spiritual focus (Zimmer et al., 2016).
The confusion between religion and spirituality has resulted in a conceptual conflagration. Spirituality has been linked to health, reduced stress, mental relaxation and internal harmony, findings which have also been reported when dealing with religion (Zimmer et al., 2016). This may be due to the close relationship between the two concepts. Their link is often seen in pursuing meaning and values as well as existential goals. Spirituality has been linked to concepts like non-denominational meditation, and more recently, to mindfulness (Zimmer et al., 2016).
Spirituality has also been linked to improved health and general well-being (Emmons, 2000; Amram, 2007). It predicts functioning ability and adaptation including better health, problem-solving and goal attainment with spiritually oriented people responding better to remedial intervention or trauma than their opposites (Emmons, 2000). It is therefore expected that SI, which is an ability associated with spirituality, also be associated with health and well-being in general, as well as reduced burnout.
Conceptual Issues in the study of Spiritual Intelligence
There are several conceptual issues that ought to be considered in the study of SI. What SI is and what it is not has affected how it is studied, measured, or applied. Debate rages on over the actual definition of the concept and its boundaries. However, it seems that there is consensus on some components or elements of SI which include the meaning of life and transcendence.
Though some researchers like Gardner (2000) cast doubt on whether SI is an intelligence or not, the consensus is that it is an intelligence outside and separate from IQ and EQ. Though there are intersections between EI and SI, the two are separate and can have their separate existence. It is the acknowledgement of the concept as independent that research can lead to further understanding of the concept as well as its utility in life.
Regarding to the issues of whether it is an intelligence in the same manner as IQ or EQ, SQ suffers from the old distinction between the trait or ability just as with EQ. There are various schools of thought which have their justifications. The issue of ability and trait persists in the conceptualisation of SI. What may be interesting is the consideration of most of the definitions or components where there is a reference to the ‘ability to…’ in SI. This may point to SI conceptualised as an ability that is important in adaptation and everyday functioning.
Other issues pertain to measurement where there is not yet an independent measure of SI apart from self-reports. Even the most promising models or theories of SI are plagued with the self-reporting nature of instruments. While independent measures are critical for theory development, it seems that the nature of spiritual intelligence (SI) requires self-reports backed by robust scientific rigour.
Criticism of Spiritual Intelligence
Those who are against the recognition of SI as a form of intelligence argue that it involves the challenge of codifying quantifiable scientific criteria (Gardner, 2000). It seems that Gardner’s (2000) discomfort was influenced by the use of the term spiritual, as he tended to warm up to existential intelligence. This discomfort may have been due to the confusion between spiritual and religion in Gardner’s world. According to Gardner (1999), “existential intelligence” was viable, as it was better to “put aside the term spiritual, with its obvious and problematic connotations, and to speak instead of an intelligence that explores the nature of existence in its multifarious guises. Thus, an explicit concern with spiritual or religious matters would be one variety—often the most important variety—of an existential intelligence.” (p.53). It seems that to Gardner, ‘existential’ was a more acceptable term than the term ‘spiritual’, because it could be separated from religion the same way ‘spiritual’ could not. It is therefore important to define ‘spirituality’ in order to differentiate it from religion. Some researchers who also fall into that trap of confusing spirituality with religion. Spirituality is not limited to religion. It is broader than religion. While religion has to do with the worship of a deity, spirituality seems to be more than just worship.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION AND SCIENTIFIC ORIENTATION
1.1 BACKGROUND TO AND MOTIVATION FOR THE RESEARCH
1.2 JUSTIFICATION FOR THE STUDY
1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.4 AIMS OF THE RESEARCH
1.5 RESEARCH PARADIGM
1.6 RESEARCH DESIGN
1.7 RESEARCH METHOD
1.8 CHAPTER DIVISION
1.9 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW-AID WORK AND BURNOUT
2.1 THE HUMANITARIAN AID WORKERS, THEIR WORK AND CONTEXT
2.2 EXPLORING HUMANITARIAN AID WORKER BURNOUT
2.4 MEASUREMENT OF BURNOUT
2.5 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 3: SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, COPING ABILITY, BIOGRAPHICAL CHARACTERISTICS, AND BURNOUT
3.1 SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE
3.2 EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
3.3 COPING ABILITY
3.4 THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SI, EI, AND CA.
3.5 BIOGRAPHICAL CHARACTERISTICS AND BURNOUT
3.6 CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR THE RELATIONSHIP OF SI, EI, CA, BIOGRAPHICAL CHARACTERISTICS, AND BURNOUT
3.7 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 4: EMPIRICAL STUDY
4.1 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
4.2 RESEARCH POPULATION AND SAMPLE
4.4. DATA COLLECTION METHOD AND PROCEDURE
4.6 DATA PROCESSING
4.7 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
4.8 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 5: RESULTS
5.1 DATA COLLECTION, RESPONSE RATES, AND DATA CLEANING
5.2 BIOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS
5.3 DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS OF THE MEASURING INSTRUMENTS
5.4 FINDINGS ON THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES
5.5 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
5.6 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1 SUMMARY OF LITERATURE REVIEW
6.2 SUMMARY OF RESULTS
6.3 DISCUSSION OF RESULTS
6.7 EVALUATION OF RESEARCH
6.8 CHAPTER SUMMARY
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, COPING ABILITY, AND BURNOUT AMONG HUMANITARIAN AID WORKERS IN ZIMBABWE