Emotional Intelligence and Perceived Stress among Scientists in Agricultural Research Service

By Ramesh, P. | IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior, April 2017 | Go to article overview

Emotional Intelligence and Perceived Stress among Scientists in Agricultural Research Service


Ramesh, P., IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior


Introduction

India has one of the largest agricultural research systems in the world with the biggest pool of scientific personnel in a developing country engaged in research and education in the field of agriculture and allied areas. The research system includes approximately 30,000 scientists and more than 100,000 supporting staff actively engaged in research related to agriculture. The present agricultural research system comprises essentially two main streams, viz., the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) at the national level and Agricultural Universities (AUs) at the state level. Besides these two, several other agencies such as the Conventional/General Universities, Scientific Organizations, various Ministries/Departments at the Center, and Private or Voluntary Organizations participate directly or indirectly in research activities related to agriculture (Borthakur and Singh, 2013).

Working environment in any organization poses a variety of challenges. These challenges may be self-created or experienced from others. If a person wants to succeed, one must have the ability to respond positively to such challenges. Otherwise, it may lead to emotional disturbances in the form of frustration, anger, anxiety, etc., which in turn affect individual productivity. There is increasing interest in how people process emotionally relevant information and the ability to process it efficiently and accurately can have an effect on an individual's life outcomes such as achieving success at work and their general wellbeing (Salovey and Grewal, 2005; and Brackett et al., 2011).

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is "the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions to discriminate among them and to use information to guide one's thinking and actions" (Salovey and Mayer, 1990). The concept of EI was popularized by Goleman (1995) in his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. He described a connection between emotional competencies and prosocial behavior and declared EI is more powerful than Intelligence Quotient (IQ) in predicting success in life.

EI is hypothesized to influence the success with which employees interact with colleagues, the strategies they use to manage conflict and stress and overall job performance (Ashkanasy and Daus, 2005; Lopes et al., 2006a; and Martins et al., 2010). Employees with higher EI also received better peer and supervisor ratings of interpersonal facilitation, stress tolerance and leadership potential than those with lower EI (Lopes et al., 2006b).

Stress in general and occupational stress in particular is a fact of modern-day life that seems to have been on the increase. Occupational (job, work or workplace) stress has become one of the most serious health issues in the modern world (Lu et al., 2003), as it occurs in any job and is even more present than decades ago (Poloski and Bogdanic, 2008). Occupational stress among working people is drastically increasing worldwide. Stress at workplace has become an integral part of everyday life and is referred to as 'worldwide epidemic' by the World Health Organization (Kayastha et al., 2012).

Occupational stress is a psychosocial disorder which is the result of interaction between the worker and his/her work environment (Kumar and Suresh, 2010). If left unidentified, it can cause serious physical and physiological illness to the individual. Occupational stress may occur due to stress factors at the individual level or at the organizational level or at the interface of the two. The degree of stress is related to the intensity of threat and to the beliefs and expectations that an individual believes may be achieved or thwarted (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984). Accurate measurement of psychological stress is essential for better understanding and subsequent management of this malady (Yu and Ho, 2010).

There is an existing research base that links EI with stress management, problemsolving skills, wellbeing and mental health (Ciarrochi et al. …

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