Health Scan: ‘Emotional intelligence’ predicts dedication

Employees with high emotional intelligence perceive organizational justice more clearly, are more satisfied with jobs, more committed to organizations.

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October 3, 2010 04:33
Modern ultrasound machine for breast cancer diagno

ultrasound machine 311. (photo credit: Hala)

 
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Potential employers who want to assess a job applicant’s suitability should no longer test just their general IQ; they should check “emotional intelligence” as well, according to researchers at the University of Haifa.

An employee with high emotional intelligence is more dedicated and satisfied at work, and plays an important role in coping with organizational politics. Dr. Galit Meisler, who conducted the research under the supervision of Prof. Eran Vigoda- Gadot, has received an Outstanding Doctorate Award from the Israeli Political Science Association for the study.

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Employees with high emotional intelligence are more dedicated and satisfied at work compared to other employees, and thus offer more assets to their organization, she said. “I believe it will not be long before emotional intelligence is incorporated in employee screening and training processes and in employee assessment and promotion decisions.”

She surveyed 809 employees and managers in four organizations – two in the public sector and two private companies. The study examined the effects of emotional intelligence on aspects of organizational politics, on employees’ work attitudes, formal and informal behavior, feelings of justice and burnout.

The results show that those employees with high emotional intelligence perceived organizational justice more clearly than other employees did. They also were more satisfied with their jobs and more committed to their organizations.

Undesirable work attitudes, such as burnout, intention to leave and negligent behavior, were less common for such employees.

According to Meisler, the effects of emotional intelligence are not limited to work attitudes alone, but also affect various aspects of organizational politics. For example, employees with a higher emotional intelligence perceived the organizational politics at their workplace as less severe than their colleagues did.



Likewise, better political skills were demonstrated by employees with higher emotional intelligence. “We also found that employees with high emotional intelligence were less likely to use forceful and aggressive forms of persuasion while attempting to influence their supervisors.

Those employees tended to use much softer influence tactics,” the Haifa researcher concluded.

UPGRADING BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSTICS

The Rachel Nash Jerusalem Comprehensive Breast Clinic (Hala) is in the midst of a worldwide fundraising campaign with the goal of establishing a state-of-the-art clinic at a new, purpose-designed facility that will more than double the clinic’s current capacity of 16,000 screenings each year in the greater Jerusalem area. In addition to over a dozen fully-equipped diagnosis rooms, this project will also incorporate Israel’s first-of-its-kind breast-dedicated MRI wing, a data and tissue bank, an integrated breast cancer research center and the most updated technological diagnostic equipment available anywhere. The proposed design of the new Hala building will focus on creating a sympathetic, serene and soothing environment for patients and their families. The successful outcome of this campaign, says founder Rabbi Michoel Sorotzkin, will establish Hala’s leading position among Israeli hospitals and clinics in the screening and diagnostic assessment of breast cancer for Israeli women.

Unlike the health funds’ diagnostic facilities, the Jerusalem non-profit center has for years used a sophisticated ultrasound scanner on nearly every woman, causing it to pick up more cancers than the others. Hala recently installed the latest state-of-the-art IU-22 sono-CT U/S system, which will improve its performance even more, says Sorotzkin.

MATH POWER FOR GIRLS

Boys generally outperform girls in spatial ability, apparently helping to reduce the girls’ abilities in science, math and engineering. A new Bar-Ilan University study published in Child Development describes an intervention that is effective in eliminating the gender gap in spatial ability. While the research doesn’t yet prove that intervention leads to higher achievement by girls in science, math and engineering, this is a promising direction for supporting their achievement and eventual contributions in these areas, said Prof. David Tzuriel, an expert in psychology and education at the Ramat Gan university.

“We still need to see if eliminating the gender gap in spatial relations results in eliminating the gap in math and science. But this is a critical first step.”

Tzuriel and a colleague studied more than 100 first graders, placing about half of them in a training program that focused on expanding working memory, perceiving spatial information from a holistic point of view rather than based on details, and thinking about geometric pictures from different points of view. The other children were placed in a control group that took part in a substitute training program. After eight weekly sessions, initial gender differences in spatial ability disappeared for those in the first group.

This is the first study to find that training helps reduce the gender gap in spatial ability. Further work can follow up on these findings by determining whether eliminating the gender gap contributes to achievement in math and science, Tzuriel said. “Training that starts early can prevent gender differences in spatial ability and provide equal opportunities for girls to excel in the skills required for success in scientific domains.”

NOISY MUSIC CAN ENDANGER TEENS’ HEARING

Hearing loss is now affecting nearly a fifth of US youngsters aged 12 to 19, and the rate is likely similar among Israeli adolescents. This is a rise of about 5% since 1995, according to a new Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study by Dr. Ron Eavey and Prof. Guy Maness at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

“What jumped out at us was the fact that hearing loss increased a lot,” Eavey said. The study compared hearing tests conducted for the past two US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

The prevalence of hearing loss increased from 14.9% in 1988-1994 to 19.5% in 2005-2006.“One could have hypothesized the opposite,” Eavey added. “There are vaccines out now that can stop bacterial meningitis, and they also help get rid of some ear infections, so that incidence is down. The knee-jerk answer that one might conclude – although supporting data are not clear – is that the increase is caused by loud volume.”

Eavey advised parents and children to pre-set their electronic music devices to somewhere between one-half and two-thirds maximum volume, because any sound over 85 decibels exceeds what hearing experts consider a safe level, and some MP3 players are programmed to reach levels as high as 120 dBs.

“As parents, we can’t hear how loud their music is when they have the [earpieces] in, so this is an important step,” he said. If you can hear the music coming from their headphones, it’s too loud, but pre-setting the device will allow them to enjoy music while protecting themselves against ear-damaging volume, he concluded.

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