An investigation of how job satisfaction mediates the impact of emotional intelligence on organisational citizenship behaviour in the New Zealand hospitality industry

Yan, Ruzi
Poulston, Jill
Wang, Pola
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Master of International Hospitality Management
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Auckland University of Technology

The two main purposes of this study were to explore whether employee emotional intelligence can influence the behaviours that motivate employees to help others and whether emotional intelligence can influence such behaviours as well as heighten job satisfaction. The theoretical framework for this study drew from empathy-altruism theory and affective events theory, first, to predict the relationship between emotional intelligence and organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB); and second, to determine how these elements and their relationship to each other are influenced by job satisfaction. This study adopted a quantitative research approach; data were collected from 116 participants working within different types of hospitality businesses in New Zealand using an online questionnaire. Bivariate correlation and mediation analyses were conducted to test this study’s hypotheses.

This study focussed on two key issues for the hospitality industry: the emotional competencies of employees and how employees demonstrate OCB. Tourism is an economic driver for New Zealand, bringing increasing numbers of customers, development potential, and serious service quality challenges to the hospitality industry. Faced with challenges and global competition, New Zealand’s hospitality industry needs to emphasise high performance and quality service. Since the service that the employees provide is a real but intangible product in the hospitality industry, it would be helpful to understand how to improve employee job performance and create an emotional connection with customers, thereby contributing to customer loyalty and organisational efficiency.

Findings did not show that job satisfaction played a mediator role in the relationship between emotional intelligence and organisational citizenship behaviour. However, the emotional intelligence of employees successfully predicted their OCB behaviours. All of the dimensions of emotional intelligence were found to be important for increasing helpful behaviours in the workplace. In particular, self-emotion appraisal was considered the main factor that induced helpful behaviours.

This study’s findings are important for understanding the roles of emotional intelligence and helping behaviour in the New Zealand hospitality industry. While the concepts of emotional intelligence and OCB have been applied to hospitality settings in recent years, these concepts still need to be well-researched from different perspectives. Further studies are needed to develop a theoretical model that can systematically investigate emotions and behaviours within the hospitality industry.

Findings link emotional competency to organisational behaviour in general management, thereby enabling a better understanding of organisational behaviour. Importantly, they also give insight into the effects of applying concepts of emotional intelligence to OCB. Findings provide practitioners with understandings of how emotional abilities contribute to job performance and inform appropriate strategies to improve employee job performance and customer experience. Findings also help employees better understand their emotions and behaviours in the workplace enabling them to achieve career success.

Job satisfaction , Organisational citizenship behaviour , Emotional intelligence , Hospitality , New Zealand
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