Researchers have concentrated on studying the relationship between the factors that affect human behavior. The different human behavior and abilities have effect in the management of organizations and learning institutions. This study provides a differential approach in examining the factors that contribute to different human behavior and ability. Data pertaining to different individual measures were obtained for some 182 Organizational Behavior students.
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Measures on emotional intelligence, self-efficacy, and perceived stress were obtained using different instruments. A correlation analysis showed positive correlation between emotional intelligence and self-efficacy. A negative correlation was observed between perceived stress and emotional intelligence. A Similar correlation was observed between perceived stress and self-efficacy. The results illustrate the necessity of understanding emotions in managing perceived stress in different
Individuals show different abilities to perform the tasks given to them in different settings like schools and places of work. Students in the learning institutions show different academic performances. Similarly, employees of an organization have different performance abilities for given tasks.
Several factors may contribute to the different abilities of individuals. One such factor is self-efficacy. This may refer to the level of confidence that an individual have in his or her ability to perform a particular task and to execute a particular behavior successfully (Bandura, 1997 cited in Schyns and Moldzio, n.d).
This is a flexible personal quality with its roots in the social cognitive theory (Gundlach, Martinko & Douglas, 2003, 229). The emotional intelligence of an individual is another factor that may affect the performance of the individual in different tasks. Emotional intelligence is the individual’s ability to be aware of, and manage, his emotions and the emotions of the others with whom they interact (Jordan, Ashkanasy, & Hartel, 2002, p.5; Cote et al, 2006).).
The other factor that may affect performance is the perceived stress in an individual. Stress can be described as ‘the result of an imbalance between the physical or psychological demands encountered and the response capability of the individual, in case failure to meet the demands has important implications for the individual’ McGrath (1979 cited in Panda 2008).
It is important to examine if the factors that affect the performance of an individual have a relationship with each other. The relationships that are observed are essential in the management of individuals with different abilities in diverse settings.
Some researches have been conducted to study a relationship between these factors. Rathi and Rastogi (2008) carried out a research to investigate the relationship between self- efficacy and emotional intelligence. Another research was carried out by Panda (2008) to investigate the relationship between emotional intelligence and perceived stress.
This research is based on the two previous researches and is intended to study the relationship between self-efficacy and perceived stress. The results of the researches indicated that there was a positive relationship between self-efficacy and emotional intelligence (Rathi & Rastogi, 2008; Rathi & Rastogi, 2009). Besides, it was observed that self-efficacy in academic has a positive relationship with an individual’s future performance at workplace provided the individual had low perceived stress.
It was also observed that there was a significant negative relationship between emotional intelligence and perceived stress (Panda, 2008). This study uses similar approaches applied by the previous researchers. However, it is conducted in a learning environment and the level of performance at work place will be replaced by academic performance.
Hypotheses of the study
The study has four different hypotheses. The first hypothesis is that self-efficacy is positively correlated with emotional intelligence. It is also initially assumed that emotional intelligence is negatively correlated with perceived stress. The other hypothesis is that self-efficacy is negatively correlated with perceived stress. The last hypothesis is that there is a significant gender difference in the measures of self-efficacy, emotional intelligence, and perceived stress.
The study involved 182 participants that were students studying Organizational Behavior at the two campuses of University of West Sydney: Campbelltown and Parramatta. There were 105 males, 76 females, as well as 1 participant who did not provide information on gender. Four of the participants also failed to provide information on their ages. The participants had a mean age of 21.3 years with a standard deviation of 4.14.
The research employed several materials and instruments to obtain data from the students pertaining to the measures under investigation. One of the measures used in the research was WLEIS (Wong and Law Emotional Intelligence Scale). WLEIS has four measures that show different dimensions of emotional intelligence in an individual.
These measures include Self-Emotion Appraisal (SEA), Others Emotion Appraisal (OEA), Use of Emotion (UOE), and Regulation of Emotion (ROE). SEA provides a measure of the ability of individuals to understand and express their emotions (Law, Wong & Song, 2004).
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A high score for this measurement implies that the individuals are more sensitive and have a better understanding of their emotions. OEA provides a measure of the ability of an individual to recognize and value the emotions of other people (Law, Wong & Song, 2004). Emotion can also be utilized towards developing constructive ideas to enhance performance at the workplace.
UOE measures the abilities of individuals to direct their emotions towards good performance at work (Law, Wong & Song, 2004). ROE provides a measure of an individual’s ability to regulate his or her emotions and overcome a psychological depression that may come their way. The other material used in the research is the Global Measure of Perceived Stress (GMPS) that provides a measure of perceived stress of an individual on a universal scale.
The instrument used to obtain such data is Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, Kamarck and Mermelstein, 1983). This contains ten items each providing a measure of the extent of stressful situations perceived in an individual’s life. The scores are provided on a Likert scale (ranging from 0 for never to 4 for very often). The study also used Occupational Self-efficacy Scale as it applies in the academic setting instead of the workplace.
The participants were each provided with the different sets of questionnaires and required to fill the relevant information under the supervision of the course tutor. This was pat of the coursework and the participants were to receive no compensation for taking part in the study.
In order to study the gender differences for the different measures under study, a test of difference of means between the two samples (males and females) was conducted for all the variables. Two-sample t-test is appropriate for this analysis (Lowry, 2011). The results are presented in the following table.
Table 1. Sample t-test for difference of means based on gender.
SEA : Self-Emotion Appraisal
OEA : Others Emotion Appraisal
UOE : Use of Emotion
ROE : Regulation of Emotion
GMPS : Global Measure of Perceived Stress
OCCSEFF : Occupational Self-efficacy scale
The results in the above table indicate that there was no significant gender difference in the measures observed. For instance, the mean of the scores for males on Self-Emotion Appraisal scale is 22.27 with a standard deviation of 3.63. On the same scale, the mean score for females is 22.12 with a standard deviation of 3.37.
On the GMPS scale, the meals have a mean score of 37.60 with a standard deviation of 7.54 whereas the females have a mean score of 38.59 with a standard deviation of 7.53. Similarly, on the Occupational Self-efficacy scale, the males have a mean score of 33.81 and standard deviation of 6.42 whereas the females have a mean score of 34.18 with a standard deviation of 6.7. A test of comparison of two means for each of the different cases indicates that there are no significant differences in means for all the cases.
A correlation analysis was also performed to check the relationships between different variables corresponding to the above measures. The results are presented in the following table.
Table 2. Coefficients of Correlation between different measures.
|3. SEA||– .02||.05||1.00|
The correlation analysis showed that there were significant correlations between some variables and no or insignificant relationships between other variables. The results indicate that there is a significant negative correlation between global measure of perceived stress and the occupational self-efficacy (-.33, p<.01). This implies that individuals who have a perception that they are highly efficacious are likely to experience less stress, and vice versa.
The results also indicate that there is a significant positive correlation between occupational self-efficacy and the individuals’ use of emotions (.54, p<.01). This implies that the higher the individuals’ perception of the abilities, the high their abilities to direct their emotions towards enhancing performance at work. Occupational self-efficacy has significant positive correlation with other measures like Regulation of Emotions (.38, p<.01), appraisal of others’ emotions (.22, p<.01), and Self-emotion appraisal (.37, p<.01).
Perceived stress has significant negative correlation with use of emotion (-31, p<.01) and regulation of emotions (-37, p<.01). This implies that individuals with low ability to regulate and use their emotions appropriately are like to experience stress. All the WLEIS measures on emotional intelligence have significant positive correlations with each other. For instance, self-emotion appraisal has a significant positive correlation both with use of emotion (.44, p<.01) and with regulation of emotion (.44, p<.01).
On the other hand, Sex and Age had no significant relationship with any of the measures. There is no significant correlation between perceived stress and self-emotion appraisal (-.18, p<.01). Similarly, there is no significant correlation between global perceived stress and the appraisal of other’s emotions (-.08, p<.01).
Juts like the previous study that had been conducted, the results provide evidence that there is a significant positive correlation between self-efficacy and emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence was measured in four different dimensions and each dimension showed a positive correlation with self-efficacy.
The results indicate that there is a significant negative correlation between emotional intelligence and perceived stress. The social-cognitive theory holds that self-efficacy has influence on the personal behaviors, affect, and motivational processes (Luszczynska et al, 2005, p.82). Perceived stress showed significant negative correlation with two aspects of emotional intelligence; use of emotions (-.31, p<.01) and regulation of emotions (-.37, p<.01). This supports the claim that was initially given for the study.
This is similar to the results that had been obtained by Panda (2008), and conform to the theoretical principles in psychology. Previous researches have indicated correlations between different traits in human beings (Bono & Judge, 2003, p.8). High level of emotional intelligence implies that an individual can exhibit psychological adaptation to different stressful situation thereby reducing stress (Panda, 2008).
It is associated with high academic performance in some educational subjects (Petrides et al, 2004, p287). Similarly, the results support the hypothesis that self-efficacy is negatively correlated with perceived stress. An individual who has confidence in his or her abilities is also able to develop an adaptation to the stress and depression experienced.
On the other hand, the claim that there is a gender difference in the different measures was not supported by the results. For all the six measures that were used in this study, a comparison of means of the male scores and the female scores showed no significant differences. This differs with earlier reports Tappia (1999) and Dunn (2002) (both cited in Panda 2008) that females and males had some different personality traits.
The results of this study are of significance in the fields of psychology and organizational management. It shows that a knowledge and proper cultivation emotional intelligence is the key to managing stress. Various organizations have applied the concept of emotional intelligence to develop employee motivation programmes (Cote et al, 2006). Developing an effective organizational culture requires a focus on the relations and emotions of the people in the organization (Alvesson, & Sveningsson, 2008, p.35).
Self-efficacy is important for human achievement in different area (Gundlach et al, 2003, p.230).The promotion of self-efficacy in an individual is essential in helping the individual manage stress and enhance his performance in academics and at workplaces. Managers with better understanding of the different components of organizational behavior like stress and emotions are better positioned to overcome the management challenges (French et al, 2011, p.11).
The study had no limitations. The number of participants in the study was relatively large with a good proportion for each gender category. Perhaps the only limiting factor that may be considered in future researches is the age variation of the participants. The effects of age on these measures may be illustrated if a wide range is used in the study.
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