EMPLOYABILITY AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE 

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CHAPTER 3 EMPIRICAL STUDY

Chapter 3 outlines the empirical investigation with the specific aim of describing the statistical strategies that will be employed to investigate the relationship dynamics between employability and emotional intelligence. Firstly, an overview of the study’s population and sample is presented. The measuring instruments will be discussed and the choice of each justified, followed by a description of the data gathering and processing. The formulation of the research hypotheses will be stated, and the chapter will conclude with a chapter summary.

DETERMINATION AND DESCRIPTION OF THE SAMPLE

According to Neuman (1997, p. 201), sampling “is a process of systematically selecting cases for inclusion in a research project”. The researcher uses sampling as an aim to select a representation of the population from which the research conclusions will be drawn (Terre Blanche & Durrheim, 1999). A sample can be described as a set of cases containing any number of individuals less than the population (Neuman, 1997; Terre Blanche & Durrheim, 2002). The target population of the proposed study is 1349 individuals within the school-to-work transition phase. This target population consists of the total grade numbers for grade 9 and grade 12 in the schools in which assessments were conducted. The total volunteer organisation youth number was also included into this figure as all individuals participated. This target population is deemed appropriate to study as the research focus is on the employability and emotional intelligence of individuals within the school-to-work transition phase of their careers.
There are two main types of sampling, namely, probability and non-probability sampling techniques (Terre Blanche & Durrheim, 2002). Using probability sampling techniques, every element in the target population gets a known chance of being selected into the sample. Nonprobability sampling does not allow for elements to be selected according to the principle of systematic randomness (Terre Blanche & Durrheim, 2002).
The judgemental sampling approach was selected for the non-probability technique. The reason for this decision was based on an attempt to mirror the current South African schooling structure. Five schools were selected in order for each school to represent a Quintile in the schooling structure. Quintiles are used by the Department of Education to classify schools in terms of the South African national poverty index for schools. Quintile 1, 2 and 3 schools are the least resourced schools and generally found in disadvantaged communities or rural areas. These schools are usually highly subsidised by the government. Quintile 4 and 5 schools are based in more affluent areas within cities around the country of South Africa. Due to finances having a substantial impact on access to quality education, it was decided to select a sample which would not be limited to a specific poverty index level.
The judgemental sampling approach was also selected in an attempt to reflect the whole schoolto-work transition age range. The sample comprises of three main groups, namely, grade 9, grade 12 and recently exited. The reason for this judgement was to measure individuals at various developmental stages in the school-to-work transition. Grade 9 marks the end of the compulsory schooling system and is known as the Basic Education and Training band. Grade 12 marks the end of what is known as the Further Education and Training band. At this stage individuals leave school and either go and study further, travel, take a year off, try find a job or take care of their families. In an attempt to also measure individuals who have just left school, a volunteer organisation was selected which includes participants who have completed school the previous year.
3.1.1 Composition of sample groups (grades)
The study aimed to test three different groups: Grade 9, grade 12 and recently exited. The participants comprised a convenience sample of 587 youth (from a total population of 1349) in Grade 9 (32%) and 12 (35%), and post-school (youth who exited school during the previous year) (33%) from five different secondary schools and a volunteer organisation in the Province of Gauteng, South Africa.
3.1.2 Composition of age groups in the sample
The participants were youth in their early career development stage with 90% of the sample being between the age of 15 and 18. The mean average age of the sample was 17.
3.1.3 Composition of ethnic groups in the sample
The majority of the sample is Black (74%). A small percentage is Coloured (8%), Indian/Asian (8%) and White (10%). This seems representative of the South African consensus (2001), where the country’s ethnic makeup consisted of Black African 79%, Coloured 8.9%, Indian/Asian 2.5% and White 9.6%. The sample findings are found in table 3.2 below.
3.1.4 Composition of gender groups in the sample
Table 3.3 below indicates that the sample is relatively evenly split between males (43%) and females (57%). In summary, the biographical profile obtained indicates that the main sample characteristics that need to be considered in the interpretation of the empirical results are the following: The participants are predominantly Black and female youth in the early adulthood phase of their lives (mean age 17).

CHOOSING AND MOTIVATING THE PSYCHOMETRIC BATTERY

The selection of the psychometric battery was guided by the literature review. The following measuring instruments were chosen:
• A biographical questionnaire to ascertain the data regarding grade, ethnicity and gender was used for the purposes of the empirical study.
• Southern African Employability Inventory (SAEI)
• The Assessing Emotions Scale (AES)
3.2.1 Southern African Employability Inventory (SAEI)
The SAEI (Beukes, 2009) was used to measure each respondent’s employability. The SAEI is discussed with reference to the development, rationale, description of sub-scales, administration, interpretation, validity and reliability and motivation for choice.
3.2.1.1 Development of the SAEI
The SAEI was developed by Beukes (2009) and is used as an instrument for measuring the construct of employability in the South African context. The SAEI is based on the self-regulatory employability model of Beukes (2009) discussed in chapter 2. The process used to obtain the items was through a series of focus groups, management meetings, surveys and newspaper article reviews. The process began with management meetings with recruitment and business owners. International findings, newspaper career advertisement skill requirements and other models of employability were analysed and integrated in order to determine their relevance in the South African context.
The integrated skill sets were then listed and surveys were conducted with over one hundred working adults in order for them to rate each skill on a five point rating scale. Along with these ratings participants were also requested to state their perspective as to what the most important skill to get employed was. From these findings a focus group was formed in order to determine what statements could accurately measure the set of chosen skills. From consensus of which statements were to be used, the inventory was developed.
3.2.1.2 Rationale of the SAEI
The purpose of the SAEI (Beukes, 2009) is to assess 5 facets of an individual’s employability-related skills and attributes, namely: basic skills, goal-driven behaviour, creative learning, communication skills, and business acumen.
3.2.1.3 Description of the SAEI scales
The SAEI (Beukes, 2009) is a self-rated multi-factorial measure designed for South African youth and adult populations. The SAEI contains 83 items and five subscales: business acumen (17 items), creative learning skills (23 items), goal-driven behaviour (18 items), communication skills (13 items) and basic skills (9 items). A 5-point Likert-type scale is used for subject responses to each of the 83 items. The purpose of the SAEI items is to stimulate respondents’ thoughts about their employability. Table 3.6 indicates the five sub-scales of the SAEI and their corresponding allocated items.
3.2.1.4 Administration of the SAEI
The SAEI is a self-diagnostic questionnaire, which can be administered individually or in group and takes approximately 15 minutes to answer, although there is no time limit. Respondents are required to answer each statement as honestly and quickly as they can, choosing their best alternative on a five-point Likert scale. Respondents are to avoid extreme ratings, except in areas where the respondent has very strong feelings in one direction or the other.
For each of the 83 items, respondents are required to rate how true that item is for them (in general) by circling a number between 1 and 5. The higher the number, the more that item is true to the respondent. The rating scale is as follows:
• “1” if the statement does not relate to the respondent.
• “2” if the statement does not really relate to the respondent.
• “3” if the respondent does not know if the statement is related to themselves.
• “4” if the statement is kind of related to the respondent
• “5” if the statement is directly related to the respondent.
Two items are formulated in the negative and reverse scored. All the items are added to form the employability score. To reverse the score, the items are renumbered 5 to 1 rather than 1 to 5 (Spector, 1997). Each of the five sub-scales can produce a separate score and the total of all items produces the total score which can range from 83 to 664. Each sub-scale can produce a score which can range from 8 to 120.
3.2.1.5 Interpretation of the SAEI
Each sub-scale (business acumen, creative learning skills, goal-driven behaviour, communication skills and basic skills) is measured separately and reflects participants’ perception and feelings on these subscales. As a result, analysis can be carried out as to what sub-scales are perceived to be true for the participants and which are not. The higher the score, the truer the statement is for the respondent. Subscales with the highest mean scores are regarded as respondents’ dominant employability sub-scale. High scores on the SAEI represent high levels of overall employability. Such a person is perceived to be more employable than those that score lower on the inventory. 3.2.1.6 Validity and reliability of the SAEI
Results of an Exploratory Factor Analyses conducted by Beukes (2009), and discussed in chapter 4, reveal that the SAEI items satisfy the psychometric criteria of both content and construct validity. The reliability of the SAEI was determined by means of Cronbach-alpha coefficient. The reliability of the 5 constructs measured by the Cronbach-alpha was also confirmed by means of the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy and the Bartlett test of sphericity (Beukes, 2009). The KMO measure for adequacy was 0.85 indicating that the sample was adequate. The Bartlett test of sphericity yielded a statistical approximate chi-square (p<0.000), which also indicated the probability that the correlation matrix had significant correlation amongst the variables (Beukes, 2009).
Reliability (internal consistency) coefficients for the SAEI is 0.91. Each subscale ranges from 0.58 to 0.83 and inter-construct correlations (r) range from 0.02 to 0.60, indicating small to large practical effect size (Beukes, 2009). According to Anastasi (1976) a desirable reliability coefficient would fall in the range of 0.80 to 0.90. Nunnaly and Bernstein (1994) use 0.70 as a directive, whilst Bartholomew, Antonia, and Marcia (2000) argue that between 0.80 and 0.60 is acceptable. The internal consistency reliabilities clearly fall within the range of directives. The lower internal consistency coefficients for some of the SAEI variables could be attributed to the life stage and inexperience of participants regarding the attributes measured. Since the purpose of this study was not to make individual predictions based on the SAEI, but rather to investigate broad trends and certain relations between variables, the instrument was considered to be psychometrically acceptable for the purpose of this study.
3.2.1.7 Motivation for choice
The SAEI (Beukes, 2009) was utilised in this study because of the psychometric properties of the instrument, which make it a valid and reliable measure of employability. The SAEI was also utilised for the reason that it is a South African measure, and has been developed through consideration of the diverse cultural groupings of South Africa.
3.2.2 Assessing Emotions Scale (AES)
The AES (Schutte, Malouff, Hall, Haggerty, Cooper, Golden & Dornheim, 1998), was used to measure each respondent’s emotional intelligence. The AES is discussed with reference to the development, rationale, description of sub-scales, administration, interpretation, validity and reliability and motivation for choice.
3.2.2.1 Development of the AES
The AES was developed by Schutte et al. (1998), and is used as an instrument for measuring the construct of emotional intelligence. The AES attempts to assess characteristic, or trait, emotional intelligence though the assessment of four dimensions. A trait approach to assessing emotional intelligence draws on self or other reports to gather information regarding the display of emotional intelligence characteristics in daily life. Even though some literature presents ability and trait conceptualisations of emotional intelligence as mutually exclusive alternatives (e.g., Mayer, Salovey & Caruso., 2000), both are regarded as being important and complementary dimensions of adaptive emotional functioning (Schutte, 1998).
3.2.2.2 Rationale of the AES
Schutte et al. (1998) suggested that the AES scale might appropriately be used for research purposes and to assist individuals who are motivated to self-reflect on aspects of their emotional functioning in the context of issues such as career goals or experience of problems that may be related to emotional functioning. The purpose of the AES by Schutte (1998) is to evaluate four dimensions of emotional intelligence. The AES is an existing questionnaire which was used for the present study as it has been proven to be a reliable and valid instrument (Schutte, 1998; Schutte, Malouff, Hall, Haggerty, Cooper, Golden & Dornheim, 1998; Schutte & Malouff, 1999; Schutte, Malouff & Bhullar, 2007).
3.2.2.3 Description of the AES scales
The AES is a 33-item self-report inventory which uses a five-point Likert-type scale to measure individuals’ emotional intelligence traits. The AES consists of four subscales: perception of emotion (10 items), managing own emotions (9 items), managing others’ emotions (8 items) and utilisation of emotions (6 items). Table 3.7 indicates the four sub-scales of the AES and their corresponding allocated items.
3.2.2.4 Administration of the AES
The AES instrument is a self-report questionnaire, which can be administered individually or in group and takes on average 5 minutes to complete the scale. Each of the items asks the respondents about their emotions or reactions associated with emotions. After deciding whether a statement is generally true for the respondents, they use a 5-point scale to respond to the statement. By circling the “1” if they strongly disagree that this is like them, the “2” if they somewhat disagree that it is like them, “3” if they neither agree nor disagree that this is like them, the “4” if they somewhat agree that this is like them, and the “5” if they strongly agree that the item is like them. Total scale scores are calculated by reverse coding items 5, 28 and 33, and then summing all items. Scores can range from 33 to 165. 3.2.2.5 Interpretation of the AES
Each sub-scale (perception of emotion, managing own emotions, managing others’ emotions and utilisation of emotions) is measured separately and reflects participants’ perception and feelings on these sub-scales. As a result analysis can be conducted as to what sub-scales are perceived to be true for the participants and which are not. The higher the score, the truer the statement is for the respondent. High scores on the AES indicate more characteristic emotional intelligence.
3.2.2.6 Validity and reliability of the AES
Validity studies on the AES justify the various underlying constructs of the four subscales (Chapman & Hayslip, 2006; Ciarrochi et al., 2001; Saklofske, Austin & Minksi, 2003). In terms of reliability (internal consistency) Ciarrochi et al. (2001) report Cronbach alpha coefficients of 0.55 (moderate) to 0.78 (high). Test-retest reliability tests (Schutte, Malouff, Hall, Haggerty, Cooper, Golden & Dornheim, 1998) indicate a coefficient score of 0.78 for total scale scores. Validity studies (Bracket & Mayer, 2003; John & Srivastava, 1999; McCrae & Costa, 1999; Schutte et al., 1998) confirm both the convergent and divergent validity of the AES.
Since the AES hasn’t been standardised for South African populations, scale reliability tests were conducted for the sample group. In the present study the internal consistency coefficients obtained for each sub-scale were only moderate: perception of emotion (0.65), managing own emotions (0.56), managing others’ emotions (0.58) and utilisation of emotions (0.54). As in the case of the SAEI, the somewhat lower internal consistency coefficients of the AES variables could be attributed to the life stage, inexperience and demographic background of the participants regarding the traits measured. In line with directives provided by Nunnally (1978) for measuring broad-based trends, the psychometric properties of the instruments were deemed acceptable for the purpose of this research.
3.2.2.7 Motivation for choice
The AES (Schutte et al., 2007) was chosen because it was developed for youths and adults. It was also utilised in the study because of its psychometric properties which make it a valid and reliable measure of emotional intelligence.

 ADMINISTRATION OF THE PSYCHOMETRIC BATTERY

Permission to conduct the survey was obtained from the Department of Education and head masters of the five schools that participated in the survey. All Grade 9 and 12 learners and those who had recently exited school were invited to voluntarily participate in the study. The participants attended a session organised for the purpose of completing the questionnaires under the supervision of a professionally trained and registered psychometrist. In terms of ethics, the purpose of the survey was explained and the participants were requested to sign a letter of consent stating that their completion of the questionnaires and returning them to the psychometrist, signified their permission to use the results for research purposes only. Given that many respondents were under 18, their parents also signed the consent forms. Anonymity and confidentiality were also guaranteed. The participants also received feedback on the results.
Learner’s participation was voluntary, based upon them meeting at the school hall to conduct the assessments. A brief introduction was made and general guidelines explained. The group then began with the SAEI which took about fifteen minutes to complete. The group was then given the AES which took them approximately five minutes to complete. Once data collection was completed the group was dismissed. Anonymity and confidentiality of all learners were retained by sealing the boxes on collection and coding assessments so as not to allow names to be associated with results.
Within the volunteer organisation, the entire group was brought together and seated in an auditorium, there was seating and writing space for everyone. A brief introduction was given and the group then began with the SAEI which took them about 20 minutes as there were some disruptions due to the group size. The AES was then administered, which took approximately 10 minutes to complete.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Declaration
Acknowledgements
Summary
Key terms
CHAPTER 1 SCIENTIFIC ORIENTATION TO THE RESEARCH
1.1 BACKGROUND TO AND MOTIVATION FOR THIS STUDY
1.2  PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.3 AIMS
1.4 PARADIGMATIC AND DISCIPLINARY CONTEXT OF THE STUDY
1.5 RESEARCH DESIGN
1.6 RESEARCH METHOD
1.7 CHAPTER LAYOUT
1.8 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW: EMPLOYABILITY AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE 
2.1  META-THEORETICAL AND CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATIONS
2.2  THEORETICAL MODELS: EMPLOYABILITY
2.3 THEORETICAL MODEL: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
2.4  INTEGRATION OF MODELS OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
2.5 VARIABLES INFLUENCING EMPLOYABILITY AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
2.6 THEORETICAL INTEGRATION
2.7 IMPLICATIONS FOR CAREER GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING
2.8 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 3 EMPIRICAL STUDY 
3.1 DETERMINATION AND DESCRIPTION OF THE SAMPLE
3.2 CHOOSING AND MOTIVATING THE PSYCHOMETRIC BATTERY
3.3 ADMINISTRATION OF THE PSYCHOMETRIC BATTERY
3.4 SCORING OF THE PSYCHOMETRIC BATTERY
3.5 STATISTICAL PROCESSING  OF THE DATA
3.6 FORMULATION OF THE RESEARCH HYPHOTHESES
3.7 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH RESULTS
4.1  EXPLORATORY FACTOR ANALYSIS (EFA)
4.2  DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS
4.3 CORRELATIONAL STATISTICS
4.4 INFERENTIAL STATISTICS
4.5  INTEGRATION OF RESEARCH FINDINGS
4.6 DECISIONS REGARDING THE RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
4.7 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1  CONCLUSIONS
5.2 LIMITATIONS
5.3 RECOMMENDATIONS
5.4 INTEGRATION OF RESEARCH
5.5 CHAPTER SUMMARY
REFERENCES

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EMPLOYABILITY AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE OF THE INDIVIDUAL WITHIN THE SCHOOL-TO-WORK TRANSITION PHASE

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