July 15

Work and happiness

Posted by aadsera

Alan Carr, in his book Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Human Strengths, explains that employment status, job satisfaction, knowing how to leverage skills, and involvement in goal-directed activities are related to the level of a person’s subjective well-being. In fact, Diener et al. (1999) have determined that there is a moderate correlation (r = 0.4) between job satisfaction and subjective happiness. Carr attributes this to the fact that work gives people an optimal level of stimulation that is results in a certain level of happiness, as it provides an opportunity to (1) satisfy curiosity, (2) develop skills, (3) build a social support network and (4) have a sense of identity and purpose in life.

Peter Warr (1999) notes that the most satisfying jobs have distinctive characteristics. These jobs feature an optimal relationship between the worker and their work environment: employees work in an environment suited to their skills, abilities and preferences, and they enjoy a considerable level of autonomy and power to make decisions on how to do their work (rather than imposing rigid and detailed guidelines). These jobs also tend to involve a variety of tasks, provide opportunities for interpersonal contact, have a clear definition of roles, grant a highly valued social position, and provide security, both physical and economic.

Productivity and happiness, says Carr, are bidirectional. Promoting happiness in the workplace improves productivity. And conversely, the satisfaction that workers get from the results in productivity increases the level of happiness in their job.

Carr, A. (2004). Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Human Strengths. Hove: Brunner-Routledge.
Diener, E., Suh, E., Lucas, R. & Smith, H. (1999). “Subjective Well-being: Three Decades of Progress.” In Kahneman, D., Diener, E. & Schwartz, N. [Eds.] Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology. (pp 273-302). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Warr, P. (1999). “Well-being and the Workplace.” In Kahneman, D., Diener, E. & Schwartz, N. [Eds.] Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology. (pp 119-134). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

July 01

Reuven Bar-On’s model of emotional-social intelligence (ESI)

Posted by aadsera

Reuven Bar-On considers the concepts of social intelligence and emotional intelligence to be related and that, in all likelihood, they represent interrelated components of the same construct. He argues that emotional-social intelligence is composed of a set of intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies, skills and facilitators that combine to determine human behavior. Emotional-social intelligence includes skills to recognize, understand and use emotions, to relate to others, to adapt to changes, to solve personal and interpersonal problems, and to cope efficiently with daily demands, challenges and pressures (Bar-On 2006). The Bar-On model is based on the EQ-i (Emotional Quotient Inventory). It is an empirically validated model.

I like the Reuven Bar-On model because, in addition to the qualities directly related to emotions, such as emotional self-awareness and empathy, it also includes other positive qualities such as assertiveness, self-actualization and self-esteem. Although Mayer and Salovey (2008) consider all this a drawback because it blurs the concept of emotional intelligence, perhaps it is a pragmatic approach, close to positive psychology, which may have interesting applications in clinical psychology.

Bar-On, R. (2006). The Bar-On model of emotional-social intelligence (ESI). Psicothema, 18(supl), 13-25.
Bar-On, R. (1997). Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory: Technical manual. Toronto: Multi-Health Systems.
Mayer, J.D., Salovey, P., Caruso, D.R. (2008). Emotional Intelligence: New ability or eclectic traits? American Psychologist, 63(6), 503-517.