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Trait emotional intelligence, emotional labour, and burnout among Malaysian HR professionals

Angeli Santos (Institute of Work Health and Organisation, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Semenyih, Malaysia)
Michael J. Mustafa (Nottingham University Business School, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Semenyih, Malaysia)
Terk Chern Gwi (Institute of Work Health and Organisation, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Semenyih, Malaysia)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 19 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the concepts of trait emotional intelligence (EI), emotional labour strategies and burnout among internal human resources (HR) service providers. It proposes a model to deepen our understanding of the processes explaining the protective effects of trait EI on employee burnout.

Design/methodology/approach

The present study comprises a sample of 143 HR professionals from a large Malaysian financial institution.

Findings

Results suggest that trait EI predicted personal- and work-related burnout but not client-related burnout. Trait EI was also found to be partly related to emotional labour (EL), exhibiting a negative relationship with surface acting but not with deep acting. While surface acting exhibited a significant relationship on all three forms of burnout, deep acting was only significantly related to client burnout. Moreover, mediation analyses revealed that surface acting partly mediated the relationship between EI and burnout.

Originality/value

This study examines the relationship between EI, EL and burnout in HR professionals. This study is the first in the literature to examine these relationships in the context of internal service providers and in a non-Western context. Our study enhances our understanding of the processes explaining the protective effects of trait EI on employee burnout in a non-Western context.

Keywords

Citation

Santos, A., Mustafa, M.J. and Gwi, T.C. (2015), "Trait emotional intelligence, emotional labour, and burnout among Malaysian HR professionals", Management Research Review, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 67-88. https://doi.org/10.1108/MRR-06-2013-0143

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited