Moderating Role of Emotional Intelligence in Conflict Resolution Strategies and Organizational Citizenship Behavior.
Keywords: Emotional Intelligence; Conflict Management; Organization Citizenship Behavior; Banking Pakistan
In modern day competitive environment, conflict arising between the employees requires quick and effective resolution. Failure to do so may increase the challenges for organization and make it further difficult to efficiently and effectively achieve their vision. Organizations, to effectively function, needs to have higher level of employee commitment and as such they need to ensure effective resolution of the employee-employee or employee-manager conflicts. Besides employee commitment, another key component in successful operation of the organization is Intelligent Management (Lovelace and Hunter, 2013). Intelligent management puts all its efforts to review the existing problems of the modern world and use it for the development of organization. Due to its importance, Emotional Intelligence (EI), Conflict Resolution Strategies (CRS) and Organization Citizenship Behavior (OCB) have remained the subject of investigation of many past studies (Townsend et al., 2014).
McShane and Glinow (2003) defines OCB as a discretionary behavior adopted by employees in which one prioritizes the organizational interests without any expectation to receive a formal reward. OCB is classified as altruism, courtesy, conscientious, sportsmanship and civic virtue (Organ, 1988). EI is an ability to deal with emotions, manage emotions within one self and others, be motivated and possess social skills (Furnham and Petrides, 2003). An individual is said to be emotionally intelligent if one possesses five qualities of self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and social skills (Goleman, 1995). CRS are the ways adopted for resolving a conflict (Ogungbamila, 2006). These strategies are classified based on assertiveness and cooperation which are: avoiding, dominating, obliging, compromising and integrating.
Mukhtar and Habib (2010) argue that due to differing viewpoints, humans' interactions are almost always prone to conflicts. Accordingly, it is left to the supervisors to identify and resolve conflicts in its initial stage, and thus reduce the negative effect of the same on organization. The literature shows that an emotionally intelligent person has a high level of OCB (Ealias and Jijo, 2012).
This paper analyzes the moderating role of EI in the relationship between CRS and OCB in banking sector of Pakistan. The subordinates (a person who works under the supervision of manager/supervisor) are asked about the CRS adopted by the superiors (are policy makers of that specific organization) and their perception about OCB. The subordinates are also enquired about their compatibility of EI with the conflict resolution strategies adopted by superiors in the banking sector of Pakistan. It also examines whether the EI strengthen or weaken the relationship between CRS and OCB?
We chose banking sector because of rapid expansion, 23% average growth over the last five years, and significant investment from foreign investors (Mehmood et al., 2013). According to Asad et al. (2014) employees of banking sector demonstrate low employee commitment and OCB due to high workload and perception of lower pay in comparison to the work expectations from them. Bankers are expected to balance the book of accounts each day, irrespective of the circumstances as such the employees are subjected to additional time without additional remuneration. It is perceived that the greater amount of exempted employment in Pakistani banking sector could further deteriorate the working conditions of bankers and may lead to conflict.1 Such conditions may result in more conflicts, lower attachment level and higher stress level. It is generally argued that the emotionally intelligent employee can downplay the effects of conflicts arising in an organization (Fahim, 2007).
Rahim (2010) found that relationship between supervisors and subordinates is positively correlated with EI and OCB and argued that the higher the communication gap between the supervisor and subordinates the lower the performance of the organization. It can be argued that situation like these may be an outcome of the low EI on the part of supervisors.
Other reason of choosing Pakistan for the study is the belief system of Islam. Pakistan is an Islamic state and most of the population is Muslims. Murphy (2014) showed that religion plays an important role in the development of EI. The author revealed that EI and religious orientation are correlated with each other. An increase in religious orientation increases the EI of individuals.
As the paper analyzes the moderating role of EI between OCB and CRS, hence the literature is divided into three parts: first section is about CRS, second part gives literature about EI and third section is about OCB.
Conflict Resolution Strategies
Akpenpuun (2006) defined conflict as a social problem in which two or more than two individuals/groups are in differences with one another. Conflict may be the difference of ideas, interests, opinions and style. Conflict can be on interpersonal level or organizational level. Interpersonal conflict is the difference of opinions among individuals. Organizational conflict is the difference in opinions among groups in an organization. Conflict is inevitable and common in the work place because people are different in their ideas.
Bell and Song (2005) showed that conflict is a sharp double-edged sword that may produce positive results such as innovation on the one hand and negative results like hatred on the other hand. The positive effects of conflict are linked with cooperation while the negative effects are associated with competitive behavior. Every individual has a unique behavior. It makes him/her different both cognitively and socially.
Wilmont and Hocker (2000) suggested four stages of conflict manifestation. Stage one includes the conflict as hidden in which the involved parties are unaware of the existence of conflict, but the conflict exists between them. Stage two involves the starting of awareness between parties both mentally and emotionally. Various emotional reactions are observed in this stage such as pain, anger and depression. The conflict shows its face and the parties realize to find its solution. The conflict gets uglier shape if not resolved at this stage and shifts to stage three. Stage three involves the conflict grow severe. Stage four is the outcome. Outcome can be functional or dysfunctional. The parties come together and resolve the conflict by mutual understanding is functional conflict. The parties continue aggression and lessen the communication is dysfunctional conflict.
Ayoko and Callan (2010) found that the employees in the organization can respond to conflict in two different ways either a productive reaction which assists the individuals to finish the conflict or a harmful reaction which aggravates the conflict. The harmful reaction further aggravates the individuals in which low level disagreements propagate the competition and high-level disagreements promulgate the bullying. Ayoko and Konrad (2012) provided insight to the managers for managing the conflict effectively. The management of conflicts by managers at the right time results in the decreasing of negative emotions and enhancement of team performance. The literature shows different strategies to counter to the conflict such as The Avoiding Style, The Dominating Style, The Obliging Style, The Compromising Style and The Integrating Style (Friedman et al., 2000; Riggio and Reichard, 2008; Mukundan and Zakkariya, 2013; Sharma and Sehrawat, 2014).
The Avoiding Style
The avoiding style is described by the dual low concerns (Sharma and Sehrawat, 2014). The dual low concerns are for self as well as others. It results in lose-lose situation. The person neither acts to protect him/her own self nor clarifies other about the severity of damage produced by the conflict. The person escapes from his/her own self but is not aware of the harsh consequences in the long run. The conflict sustains and bears deep roots. The avoiding style is very harmful for both the parties. It just postpones the negative results of the conflict in short term.
The Dominating Style
Dominating style is based on high apprehension for self and low apprehension for others (Mukundan and Zakkariya, 2013). The self-interest governs, and the interests of others are neglected. This style also has a short span and is not a complete solution for the problem. The low concerns for others result in inequality of interests in the future. The style results in inequality which bears harsh future consequences.
The Obliging Style
Obliging style is based on the high concern for other individuals and low concern for self (Riggio and Reichard, 2008). The style is based on compromise and collaboration with other individuals and neglecting one's own interest. It is a lose-win approach to conflict management. The style concentrates the needs and interests of others. The style is adopted when the opposing party is powerful. The party cannot fight against him because of the strong position of the opponent. The loser party takes patience and sacrifices him/her own interests in the short run and is in the chance to grab his interests in the long run. The strategy is an imbalance of interests and deteriorates at some time in the future. The party gives sacrifice of him/her interests feels aggrieved and negative emotions start to develop which bears harsh consequences.
The Compromising Style
The compromising style emphasizes on moderate concern for self as well as moderate concern for others (Suliman and Al-Shaikh, 2007). The style involves on the principal of equality in which the interests of both the parties are given due importance and consideration. This is a moderate win-win approach in which both the parties are partially satisfied of their interests. It balances the difference between the involved parties. The style is based on negotiation and a compromise is made between the involved parties. The style has two positive outcomes. The first outcome is that it resolves the problem and secondly it recognizes the grave needs of the two parties.
The Integrating Style
The integrating style is based on the high focus for self as well as other individuals (Sunil and Rooprai, 2009). It is a win-win approach for conflict resolution of both the parties. The style is based on the fulfillment of needs of the two parties and collaboration is achieved by high problem-solving skills. The approach bears fruits of good interactive relationships and faith between the parties. The style resolves the current problem and hinders it from being further aggravated. It is a systematic way of conflict resolution with no side effects. The style is focused on thoroughly and keenly observing the problem and resolving it.
The styles for conflict management have been directly related to task, relationship and stress level (Friedman et al., 2000). The integrating style for conflict resolution was found affective and reduced task conflict, relationship conflict and stress. The dominating and avoiding styles for conflict resolution increased task conflict, relationship conflict and stress. The compromising and obliging styles are perceived neither beneficial nor harmful. Conclusively, the integrating style holds top position in conflict resolution (Friedman et al., 2000). Gross and Guerrero (2000) showed that the avoiding style is seen as fruitless and unsuitable. The dominating style is seen as unsuitable when used by others. The avoiding and dominating styles for conflict resolution have harmful effects on the job satisfaction of employees. The compromising and obliging styles are perceived better than avoiding and dominating.
EI, its measurement as emotional quotient is a new concept emerging in management literature since 1990. Many researchers began to construct various components which build up and regulate the emotions of employees. EI was first introduced in the academic literature by Salovey and Mayer (1990) and defined it as the ability to identify the emotions, use emotions to assist opinions, understand and act with emotions, and control the emotions within self and others. It also means to identify and understand the emotions of oneself and others and the ability to use it in managing behavior and relationships with others. EI is the ability to reason with emotions (Mayer et al., 2008).
EI is difficult to operationalize because of the complexity to measure emotions. Mayer and Salovey (1990) operationalized the term and designed a model called Mayer and Salovey model. Later, some researchers like Goleman (1995) also proposed models for operationalization of EI. The famous three models are Mayer and Salovey model (1990), Goleman model (1995) and Baron model (1986). EI was first related to intelligence quotient but later on the study of Mayer and Salovey in 1990 proved that EI is a different type of intelligence from cognitive intelligence. The difference is that EI (or emotional quotient) is the ability to manage the emotions within one self and others while Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is the score achieved from various test designs to judge the intelligence level.
EI was first perceived as God gifted but with the passage of time it is observed that it can be developed (Riggio and Reichard, 2008). EI plays a vital role as moderator of the rational process on conflict-related behavior (Betancourt, 2004). It is selected as a moderator to know whether it increases or decreases the relationship between CRS and OCB? An employee having high level of IQ is a good performer in job but EI is needed in complicated managerial issues (Lynn, 2002). The EI can be measured with the help of different individual traits such as (1) Self-Awareness, (2) Motivation, (3) Empathy, (4) Self-Regulation, and (5) Social Skills.2
Different researches have been carried out while taking EI as control variable or moderating variable. Fahim (2007) showed that EI and CRS are significantly correlated. He showed that the components of organizational development, stress management, EI and realism are significantly correlated. Rozell and Scroggins (2010) researched on the moderating role of EI in self-managed team performance with group processes and found that a highly emotionally intelligent individual prioritizes group interests on self-interests. The author found a significant relationship between individual performance and group performance in the presence of EI as moderator. Lindebaum (2013) researched on the moderating role of EI in relating mental health with the job performance. The author found a significant relationship between mental health and job performance in the presence of EI.
Poon (2004) researched on the moderating role of EI in career commitment and career success and found a significant effect of career commitment on career success in the facilitation of EI as moderator. Jordan et al. (2002) researched on the moderating role of EI in behavioral reactions to job insecurity and found significant moderating role of EI in connecting the two variables.
Organizational Citizenship Behavior
OCB is the voluntary behavior of an employee to an organization which is discretionary, above the call of duty, and having no optimism for a formal reward system contributing to the success of an organization (McShane and Glinow, 2003). It is the behavior in which the employees prefer the organizational interests on personal interests without any greed. It is purely voluntary, and nobody forces an employee to adopt it. OCB is an outcome of affective reaction of employees to their organization (Jorfi and Jorfi, 2011). The affective response is the result of preferred outcome from the job of an employee in the organization. It is the behavioral response of an employee to his organization which fluctuates from time to time.
Organ (1988) classified the OCB into five categories namely altruism, courtesy, conscientiousness, sportsmanship and civic virtue. Altruism is the ability of an employee to be helpful to the colleagues and workers in the organization. Courtesy is about informing the employees in the organization about the change in the external and internal environment and advising them tactics to handle the change process. Conscientiousness is about putting all the efforts to complete a task given by superiors. The individual completes a task with zeal and passion and puts nothing left empty. Sportsmanship is about keeping oneself aside from complaining on small matters and accepts mistake when one is on the wrong side. Civic virtue is about taking active role in the decision-making process by the management.
Allen (2006) showed that if the superiors are not following the fair treatment during the conflict then employees lose trust and enmity is grown in the organization. The employees do not care for the organizational interests and start to quit the job or react harmfully to superiors and organizations.
OCB is an important part of managerial environment and plays a vital role in the relationship between employees and organization (Jorfi et al., 2011).
It is evident from the above researchers that organizations need highly efficient employees, peaceful environment, low discrimination, justice, creativity and measures to curb conflicts. Individuals who are highly emotionally intelligent can make such an environment for the organization. They are aware of the severity of conflict not resolved at right time. They identify it and make assurance for its appropriate remedy, so that employees are satisfied from their work and consider the organization as their home. So, this research addresses the question i.e., whether EI plays a moderating role in CRS and OCB or not?
Rationale of the Study
Asad et al. (2014) conducted research on the "relationship between perception of organizational politics, EI and work Outcomes: Empirical evidence from banking sector of Pakistan". Their research explored the inter connectedness of EI, perceived politics and three job outcomes including job-satisfaction, intentions to turnover and negligent behavior. They suggested that future studies to be conducted by including performance variables as OCB. Up to the information of authors and based on the cited literature, it is evident that no similar study has been conducted in Pakistani context. While many scholars worked on CRS and their outcomes but ignored the moderating role of EI in the relationship between OCB and CRS. Hence, this study fills this gap.
The theoretical underpinning of the research is based on social exchange theory. Social exchange theory was presented by Blau (1964) which explains the social factors that influence people's interaction within a group. A psychological state of mind which entails the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the behavior of another's (Rousseau et al., 1998). The willingness of a party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform an action important to the trustor (Mayer et al., 2008). Social exchange theory best explains the inter-relationships among individuals. The theory emphasizes that people make relationships for benefits and maintain it if benefits outweigh cost of relationships. The benefit to make relationship is that it creates synergy among individuals to better understand the nature of conflict. Good relationships enhance team spirit and keep the individuals motivate to achieve their goal.
An individual who is supported thinks to return to organizations. Therefore, social exchange theory is adopted to know the moderating role of EI in the relationship between CRS and OCB.
On the bases of literature review, these hypotheses are generated.
H1: Conflict resolution strategies have a positive significant relationship with OCB.
H2: Emotional intelligence significantly moderates the relationship between conflict resolution strategies and OCB.
The sample of this study is all commercial banks operating in six cities of Pakistan, including Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore and Swat. As all commercial banks have different branches across the whole country. The research employs a non-probability convenient sampling technique, where the units are selected for the sample based on easy availability. Based on available financial and non-financial resources, convenient sampling is the most reasonable method of data collection in Pakistan as some good studies in Pakistani context has already preferred this sampling technique (Raja and Johns, 2010; Naseer et al., 2016 and Saeed et al., 2018). We collected the data in two ways i.e., personally-administrated and online questionnaires. The researchers distributed questionnaires personally in Peshawar and Swat, as it is convenient for principal author to collect data from Swat based on personal references with bankers.
However, online questionnaire is designed in google forms to collect data from other cities i.e., Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. In this survey, the target employees are those who work in conventional banks (private as well public banks) to respond during their working hours. A total of 200 questionnaires were distributed out of which 132 questionnaires were in usable form, either manually or online, have a response rate of 73 percent. Yamane (1967) provided a standard to find out a specified sample from a given population, sample size for the current study is 200 employees from banking sector, hence the appropriate sample is 132. Formula for determining sample size is given below.
n = N/1 + Ne2
Where, n = required sample size; N= Population; and e = margin of error which was 5% in this case
The whole data is collected in one go because its nature is cross sectional. This study uses multiple statistical tools such as descriptive statistics, Confirmatory Factor Analysis, reliability analysis, simple linear regression analysis and moderation regression analysis through Barron and Kenny (1986). Baron and Kenny moderation approach is one of the strong and basic statistical tools to find moderation analysis. In this technique firstly, the interaction term is created from the mean of independent variable and moderating variable and then the interaction term is regressed with dependent variable.
The Alpha reliability is used to measure the inter-consistency between/among various items of a variable. The literature shows that minimum value of Alpha should be ([alpha]=.60) and maximum value of [alpha]=.90 (Cronbach, 1951).
Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) is used to test the validity of a survey instrument. It testifies that enough questions (items) are used to answer a theme or variable of interest. The aim of CFA is testing the fitness of data for a hypothesized model. This technique was first developed by Joreskog (Campbell and Fiske, 1959). CFA has different components.3
The variables investigated in this study are adopted from different sources. The CRS are measured with the help of a scale developed by Afzalur Rahim et al. (2000) with 14 numbers of Items. The Alpha reliability value of CRS is [alpha]= 0.70 which shows that scale adopted for CRS is reliable.
The one factor confirmatory factor analysis of CRS reveals that CMIN or X2= 328.451, Degree of freedom (DF)=77, X2/DF= 4.266, confirmatory fit index (CFI)=.902, Normed fit Index (NFI)=.858, Tucker Lewise Index (TLI)=.866, Goodness of fit (GFI)=.852, Average goodness of fit (AGFI)=.812, Root Mean Residual (RMR)=.08 and Root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA)=.07) over all model fit.
For measurement of OCB, a scale developed by Posdakoff and MacKenzie (1994) with 10 numbers of items is used. The alpha reliability value of OCB is ([alpha]=.90). The one factor confirmatory factor analysis of OCB shows (CMIN= 107.652, DF=35, CMIN/DF= 3.076, CFI=.910, NFI=.851, TLI=.861, GFI=.815, AGFI=.866, RMR=.06 and RMSEA=.05) that over all model fit.
Lastly, to measure Emotional Intelligence (EI) a scale developed by Wong and Law (2002) with 10 numbers of items and five Likert scale was used i.e., 5 = Strongly Agree, 4= Agree, 3= neutral, 2= Disagree, 1= Strongly Disagree. The alpha reliability value of EI was ([alpha]=.90). The one factor confirmatory factor analysis of EI shows (CMIN= 129.190, DF=35, CMIN/DF= 3.634, CFI=.890, NFI=.850, TLI=.861, GFI=.851, AGFI=.861, RMR=.058 and RMSEA=.08) that over all model fit.
This section comprises results of various statistical tests including demographic analysis, Cronbach's alpha reliability, correlation and regression analysis on the collected data.
Table-1: Demographics Analysis
###40 and above###10###7.6
Experience###Less than 5 years###58###43.9
The table-1 shows the background information of respondents. It is evident from the information that reasonable efforts are done to have a more comprehensive and diverse sample from the population on the bases of age, gender, designation, qualification, job nature and experience.
Table-2: Reliability Analysis
Description###Cronbach's Alpha###No of Items
Conflict Resolution Strategies (CRS)###0.72###14
Emotional Intelligence (EI)###0.91###10
Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB)###0.90###10
Cronbach's alpha test is applied on the whole sample size of 132 respondents to check the internal consistency of the variables. The Cronbach's alpha value falls in the desired range for the whole set of samples. The alpha value for independent variable is 0.72, moderating variable is 0.91 and dependent variable is 0.90 which shows the data has standard internal consistency.
Table-3 represents the correlation among the dependent, independent and moderating variables of the study. This table illustrates that the relationship among the variables is significantly positive to each other.
Table-4: Regression Analysis
H1: CRS (IV) OCB (DV)###0.59###.770###.096###13.74###0.000###188.980
Hypothesis 1: There is positive relationship of CRS and OCB.
The value of R2, [beta], t-test, p-values and F statistics confirms the significance of hypothesis. The value of R2 is 0.592 which shows 59% variation in dependent variable is due to independent variables. Beta value shows positive relation between CRS and OCB, which is 0.770. F-statistics value (F=188.98) shows over all fitness of the model. The t-value (t=13.74) shows that there is significant relationship between CRS and OCB. The p-value also confirms result of t-test which is below 0.05 and leads to acceptance of hypothesis 1. Consequently, the above values prove that CRS have significant impact on OCB.
Table-5: Moderation Analysis using Barron and Kenny (1986) method
H2: CRS*EI OCB###0.64 .803###.013###15.379###235.294###0.000
H2: EI significantly moderates the relationship between CRS and OCB.
The table-5 shows the results of moderation analysis. The R2 value is 0.64, which shows 64% unit change in the dependent variable is due to independent variable (CRS) and moderating variable (EI). In comparison of Table 4, R2 increased from 59% to 64% which indicates an effect of moderating variable (EI) on the relationship between CRS and OCB. In addition, the Beta value is 0.80 which shows that there is positive and significant effect of moderating variable (EI) which strengthens the relationship between CRS and OCB. The t-test also shows significant value which is above critical value of 1.96 at 95% level of significance.
The results show that CRS adopted by superiors have positive relationship with OCB of subordinates in an organization. The results support the past study of Mikolajczak et al. (2008) and Elmagri and Eaton (2011). To identify the root causes of conflict resolution makes the supervisor to select the CRS. The strategy of conflict resolution makes coordination between the superiors and subordinates. Supervisors involve the subordinates in decision making which result in the development of OCB among the group members. The subordinates give positive response to the superiors for the goodwill of the organization. The EI of subordinates in the decision making of superiors has positive impact on OCB. The results validate the study of Ashraf et al. (2011) which propose that EI increases the decision-making power of individuals.
Emotionally intelligent individuals have good decision-making skills and give a decision regarding conflict resolution at the right time. EI helps the superior to resolve the conflict on the beginning phase of conflict (Ashraf et al. 2014).
Our results indicate that conflict resolution strategies have a positive impact on OCB and EI moderates the relationship between conflict resolution strategies and OCB. The relationship between supervisors and subordinates should be courteous in handling conflicts so to maintain a good working relationship. Communication climate in organizations should be flexible and free from hurdles consequently it promotes free flow of ideas between subordinates and supervisors to identify any conflict and to address the same as early as possible. Emotionally intelligent employees foresee the negative effects of conflict and can formulate plans to cope with the existing conflict and hence they may indulge in OCB. An employee should be emotionally intelligent in handling conflict with supervisor as it increases the impact of CRS on OCB.
The research findings suggest that managers should be very careful in resolving a conflict with subordinates to keep them motivated. The strategy adopted by supervisors can potentially generate negative feelings in subordinates, and as such, these matters should be approached more cautiously. The organization should also invest in training and development that can boost employees' EI as it plays a major part in enhancing OCB within organization.
One can possibly enhance the reliability of the results through adopting focus group methodology that can theoretically provide a more in-depth perspective. The findings of the research can also be enhanced by using longitudinal data.
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|Title Annotation:||banking sector of Pakistan|
|Author:||Zia, Sahibzada Yasar; Saeed, Imran; Khan, Naimat Ullah|
|Publication:||The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences|
|Date:||Jun 30, 2018|
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