The impact of emotional intelligence on public leadership performance in South Africa

Haricharan, Shanil Jensen (2015-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The practice of public service leadership, crucial for public governance and institutional performance, is viewed as the “weakest link” in the public service system (Kramer, 2008). In pursuit of understanding the competency needs of public service leaders, this study tested scholarly claims that emotional and social intelligence (EI) competencies are fundamental to effective leadership performance. The study was situated in a South African provincial government and focused on a group of executive managers from four departments. The study had its primary theoretical grounding in the competency theory of action and performance (Boyatzis, 1982, 2008), with competencies defined as a behavioural manifestation of EI that predicts job performance (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2002). A mixed-method design, which included qualitative and quantitative methods, was used to address the research questions and test the hypotheses. The quantitative statistical results showed significant and positive correlations between EI competencies (using the Goleman and Boyatzis Emotional and Social Competence Inventory) and leadership performance effectiveness (using a nominations survey) for all four EI clusters and eleven competencies (except for Emotional Self-control). Of these, four competencies (Adaptability, Emotional Self-awareness, Inspirational Leadership, and Positive Outlook) displayed the strongest significant correlations, which distinguished high performers. The qualitative results, based on Behavioural Events Interviews (McClelland, 1998) with the top-performing and high EI leaders, were generally consistent with the quantitative findings. Three case studies based on these interviews are presented. In addition, the contextual qualitative thematic inductive analysis resulted in four dominant themes, namely social exclusion, leadership behaviours and styles, public service orientation and public governance systems. In general, the results were consistent with antecedents in the scholarship, though certain results were unique to the study context. The study has theoretical and practical implications for public service leadership and governance and EI competency development.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die openbare leierskapspraktyk, noodsaaklik vir openbare regering en institusionele prestasie, word as die swakste skakel ("weakest link") in die staatsdiensstelsel beskou (Kramer, 2008). Hierdie studie het wetenskaplike bewerings dat emosionele en sosiale intelligensie-vaardighede (EI-vaardighede) die grondslag is vir effektiewe leierskapsprestasie getoets in die ondersoek na die vaardighede wat staatsdiensleiers benodig. Die studie is gesetel in ’n Suid-Afrikaanse provinsiale regering en het op ’n groep uitvoerende bestuurders van vier departemente gefokus. Die vaardigheidsteorie van aksie en prestasie (Boyatzis, 1982, 2008) waarin vaardighede gedefinieer is as ’n vorm van gedragsmanifestering van EI wat werksprestasie voorspel (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2002), het as die studie se primêre teoretiese grondslag gedien. ’n Gemengde-metode-ontwerp wat kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe metodes insluit, is gebruik om die navorsingsvrae aan te spreek en die hipotesisse te toets. Die kwantitatiewe statistiese resultate het beduidende en positiewe korrelasies tussen EI-vaardighede (deur gebruik van die Goleman en Boyatzis Emosionele en Sosiale Vaardigheidsinventaris) en leierskapsprestasie-effektiwiteit (deur gebruik van ’n nominasie-opname) vir al vier EI-trosse en elf vaardighede (behalwe vir Emosionele Selfbeheer) getoon. Van hierdie elf het vier vaardighede (Aanpasbaarheid, Emosionele Selfbewustheid, Inspirerende Leierskap en Positiewe Beskouing) die sterkste beduidende korrelasies getoon wat hoë presteerders uitgesonder het, getoon. Die kwalitatiewe resultate, gebaseer op Gedragsgeleentheid-onderhoude (McClelland, 1998) saam met die toppresterende en hoë EI-leiers was oor die algemeen konsekwent met betrekking tot die kwalitatiewe bevindinge. Drie gevallestudies wat op hierdie onderhoude gebaseer is, word in die proefskrif beskou. Verder het die kontekstuele kwalitatiewe tematiese induktiewe analise tot vier hooftemas gelei, naamlik sosiale uitsluiting, leierskapsgedrag en leierskapstyl, staatsdiensoriëntasie en openbare regeringstelsels. Oor die algemeen was die resultate konsekwent met dié van voorgangers in die vakgebied, alhoewel sommige resultate eie aan die studie se konteks was. Die studie het teoretiese en praktiese implikasies vir staatsdiensleierskap en openbare regering asook EI-vaardigheidsontwikkeling.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97801
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