Saturday, 10 September 2016

Developing meaningfulness at work through emotional intelligence training

an article by Kathryn Thory (University of Strathclyde Business School, Glasgow, UK) published in International Journal of Training and Development Volume 20 Issue 1 (March 2016)


To date, there remains a significant gap in the human resource development (HRD) literature in understanding how training and development contributes to meaningful work. In addition, little is known about how individuals proactively make their work more meaningful.

This article shows how emotional intelligence (EI) training promotes learning about sources of meaningful work and documents managers’ experiences of independently applying to the workplace what they have learnt about meaningfulness from their EI training.

Data is collected from participant observations and interviews with trainers and managers attending three externally provided, ‘popular’ EI training courses. Interpreting the data through Lips-Wiersma and Morris's model of meaningful work enables a clear articulation of managers’ capacity to shape their work environments to create four, interconnected sources of meaningfulness: inner development, expressing one's full potential, unity with others and serving others.

The findings also reveal structural and agential constraints when individuals attempt to create meaningful work. Practically, the study demonstrates the importance of training to enhance work of value and significance and offers recommendations for practitioners.

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