The greater the level of emotional intelligence of workers employed in the public domain, the better the service they provide, according to new research conducted at the University of Haifa. "The study supports the emerging recognition that the understanding and managing of emotions play a significant role in the work of public service providers alongside the so-called 'rational' aspects of their work," said Zehavit Shabtay Levitats, a doctoral student at the School of Political Science at the University of Haifa who conducted the research.
Two hundred public sector workers participated in a study under the direction of Professor Eran Vigoda-Gadot. The study examined the relationship between emotional intelligence and motivation to serve the public of public sector workers on the one hand and the mutual influence of these factors on three indicators of their performance: job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and the quality of service, on the other.
The results show that the greater the emotional intelligence of workers, the more they are motivated to serve the public, and the greater their job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and the quality of service they provide.
According to the researcher, emotional intelligence positively influences the motivation of public service workers, which in turn increases the level of their affective commitment. Moreover, public service motivation was found to positively affect the service quality of highly emotionally intelligent public sector employees. In contrast, among those workers with average or low levels of emotional intelligence, even high levels of motivation did not positively affect the quality of service provided or their sense of satisfaction with their work.
"The results of this study add to our understanding of the performance of the public sector and the relative and combined roles played by the emotions and motivation of public sector workers. On a practical level, human resource teams in the public sector can benefit from these findings by, among other things, combining tools for measuring emotional intelligence and motivation in the public service selection process," concluded Zehavit Shabtay Levitats.
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