Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Organizational Excellence: A Study of the Relationship Between Emotional Intelligence and Work Engagement in Process Improvement Experts
by Thor, Scott, D.M., George Fox University, 2012, 292; 3534616
Abstract (Summary)

The role of a quality leader has changed significantly over the past several decades from chief inspector, primarily focused on detection activities, to one in which the attention has shifted to prevention and improvement initiatives (Addey, 2004). Many of the traditional responsibilities related to quality control have been integrated into the role of all employees. In a sense, each individual is now responsible for the quality of the processes they work within, and little external quality control is needed. The transformation of the quality function away from control activities has led to initiatives such as Total Quality Management (TQM), and most recently Lean Six Sigma. Both TQM and Lean Six Sigma place a heavy emphasis on creating a culture of teamwork and continual improvement. Two potential elements that may impact the success of process improvement experts working in such environments are their level of emotional intelligence and work engagement. Research suggests that individuals with high emotional intelligence outperform those with low intelligence (Bar-On, 2006; Goleman, 1995, 1998; Nadler, 2010; O’Boyle, Humphrey, Pollack, Hawver, & Story, 2011), and organizations with high employee engagement are more successful than those with low engagement (Harter, Schmidt, Asplund, Killham, & Agrawal, 2010; Towers Perrin, 2003, 2007; Wagner & Harter, 2006). Despite the link to individual and organizational performance, the research studying what drives engagement is sparse (Schaufeli & Bakker, 2010). The research that does exist argues much of the driving force behind engagement is controlled by external factors such as available resources, working environment, and leadership support (Towers Perrin, 2003, 2007; Wagner & Harter, 2006), but research focused on individual characteristics, such as emotional intelligence, has yet to be studied. This research sought to better understand the relationship between emotional intelligence and work engagement. Taking a quantitative approach, the research utilized the Assessing Emotions Scale to measure emotional intelligence, and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale to measure work engagement of 5,187 process improvement experts. Correlation analysis indicated a moderate statistically significant relationship existed (r = .416). Regression analysis indicated emotional intelligence predicted 17.3% of the variability in work engagement. Gender, education, and organizational level had a significant effect on emotional intelligence, whereas age was found to have no effect. Education, organizational level, years in current position, and not having an ASQ certification were also found to have a significant effect on work engagement, whereas age, gender, and having a Six Sigma certification had no effect. Implications of the findings and recommendations for future research are also discussed. Keywords: emotional intelligence, employee engagement, process improvement, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Six Sigma, TQM, work engagement

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rahschulte, Tim
School: George Fox University
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: DAI-A 74/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Management
Keywords: Emotional intelligence, Lean six sigma, Work engagement
Publication Number: 3534616
ISBN: 9781267822048