Assessing emotional intelligence as a critical factor in organizational performance in the Zambian parastatal sector.
This study is focused on assessing emotional intelligence as a critical factor for people in organizational leadership and in the workforce to achieve the desired performance levels within an organisation. The study setting is in the Zambian Parastatal sector and more particularly at the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) and the Zambia Telecommunications Company Limited (ZAMTEL). These are two large companies whose operations cover the whole nation. Since 1991, when a new government came to power and liberalized the economy, it has been trying ever since to find a solution to poor performance of parastatal enterprises. It has managed to privatize a good number of them, however, there are a few that it considers strategic to the country’s economy, which are still operating as state owned companies including ZESCO and ZAMTEL which the government has been looking at critically. The major reason cited by the government and scholars for the short-comings in these organizations has been that of poor leadership in their management. It is against this background, that this study attempts to provide a solution to the problem by identifying emotional intelligence as a critical factor needed by the leadership of the Zambian parastatal companies to improve organizational performance. Apparently, emotional intelligence is a new concept in the country and there is little that has been done in this area of knowledge worth noting. This study intends to provide more information on the subject and how it can be implemented to influence effective organizational leaderships. A literature review was undertaken on emotional intelligence together with instruments devised to measure it, which have been developed by a number of psychologists. A theoretical framework on the assessing of emotional intelligence has been provided from which the questionnaire was developed to bring out the content, predictive and construct validity. This questionnaire was subjected to internal evaluation by members of the Copperbelt University’s Department of Business Administration and it was used in a pilot survey involving the managers at a local company in Kitwe to test for consistency. The questionnaires were administered to all those managers at the two case study companies through random sampling to ensure that every manager had equal chance of being picked as a respondent. It took six months to administer the questionnaires. Thereafter, data was analysed on how managers assessed themselves and their organizational leadership with regard to emotional intelligence and how it contributed to the performance of their organization. The nature and management of the parastatal sector in Zambia has also been examined. After a discussion of the findings that emerged from the available literature, a conclusion was drawn that emotional intelligence is a critical factor among the other factors needed to increase organizational performance. Without this, good social relationships and industrial harmony in the work place would be difficult to achieve and maintain. Recommendations have been made for both future research and for the organization’s leadership to consider in its work. This study is focused on assessing emotional intelligence as a critical factor for those in organizational leadership and in the workforce to achieve the desired performance in the organization. The study setting is in the Zambian Parastatal sector and more particularly at the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) and the Zambia Telecommunications Company Limited (ZAMTEL). These are two large companies whose operations cover the whole nation. Since 1991, when a new government came to power and liberalized the economy, it has been trying ever since to find a solution to the poor performance of parastatal enterprises. It has managed to privatize a good number of them which have gone into private hands. However, there are a few of them that it considers strategic to the country’s economy, which are still operating as state owned companies including ZESCO and ZAMTEL. As these are under-performing, the government has been looking for a solution to this problem. This research will hopefully make a contribution to knowledge that is both situational in that it recommends the application of the concept of emotional intelligence to the parastatal sector and other organizations in Zambia that has not been considered in the past and in the second place it is methodological in that it provides an assessing instrument that can be used to determine emotional intelligence in an organization. This will encourage organizational leadership to institute the necessary interventions to improve the emotional intelligence and social interactions and relations in the organization. With an abundance of emotional intelligence in the organization, this study brings to light the following: Organizations will be able to fulfil their mandates for which they were established through positive performance. This positive performance will be achieved through an effective and emotionally intelligent leadership in its management structures that will create an open and conducive work environment. There is a need for an organizational leadership that motivates and inspires the subordinates and that brings out the best in their work performance and to expected standards. The study has provided suggestions on how emotional intelligence can be developed and enhanced in the organization. There is a need to promote the use, understanding and application of emotional intelligence so that it may lead to better performance and better relationships between the organizations’ stakeholders. There is also a need to increase the level of awareness in Zambia of the crucial role of emotional intelligence as a social lubricant in the promotion of good human and social relations and productivity.