Critique of quantitative methods journal paper
Contribution and Gaps
Dong, Seo and Bartol in their research paper are trying to explain the contributions of developmental job experience in training employees to improve their learning. They argued that shortage of large pool of well trained workforce and high cost incurred by companies hiring external experts has compelled many firms all over the world to utilize development assignments aimed to facilitate employees on job training and learning. Adoption of developmental job experience by company’s helps the employees in career advancement and it instills the needed confidence to the employees preparing them to hold high job levels. Through such program the company creates a large stock of human capital thus reducing the costs incurred by the firms in recruiting, selecting and engaging external new recruits to fill the vacant managerial positions.
They researchers argued that highly challenging DJE can bring the unintended negative consequences. Some development assignments were found to bring in stress related emotions which increased an employee’s intentions to seek job elsewhere to avoid the strain associated by his or her current job. The researchers argued that few scholars had explored whether and how developmental job experience could produce both positive and negative results. The researchers found that majority of the earlier researches linking Developmental job experience to personal outcomes had used cognitive approach. The researchers found a gap existed:
“…..few scholars have investigated whether and how DJE can produce both positive and negative consequences, such as advancement potential and turnover intention, simultaneously within individuals” (Dong,seo & Bartol, 2014)
Aims of the Research
The research was aimed to examine to what extend was Developmental job experience associated with employees career advancement and turnover intention and the reasons why it might also fail in that regard.
Transactional stress Theory
Evaluation of the Transactional stress theory
According to Lazarus and Forkman transactional stress theory argues that, when an employee is faced with a stressor, the individual evaluates the potential threat and comes up actual strategy to mediate both its two levels of coping efforts and the actual outcomes of the response. “Stress is not a property of an individual, or a property of the environment, but it arises when there is a stimulator between the particular kind of the environment and particular kind of person that leads to a threat appraisal” (Lazarus, 1991c). “Interaction of a person and his or her environment can create ambiguous danger or threat”,(Smith, C. and Lazarus, R. S, 1990).while According to (Selye.H, 1983) , “stress is due to both negatively and positively toned experience that he said could be contributed to and moderated by cognitive factor”. The model proposes that if an individual has a stake in the encounter should engage in the secondary appraisal in order to try to tackle the conditions perceived to be undesirable.
Previous use of the transactional stress theory
According to transactional stress model coping to the stress is affected by the choice of the coping efforts made by the affected employee. “Coping is expected to be consistent with a determination of whether anything can be done to change the situation”, (Folkman, S. and Lazarus, R. S., 1985) . Primary and secondary appraisals are central to Lazarus cognitive theory of stress. The person can choose the Primary appraisal which is considered as an evaluation stage to the significance of the encounter or transaction to the person. If the individual finds that he/she a stake in the encounter, the model proposes that the individual should go for the secondary appraisal in order to try to tackle the conditions perceived to be undesirable to him or her.
Use of the Transactional Stress Theory in the Study
The authors used the transactional model in their study to point to the possibility that stressful job demand and threats in a workplace can lead to both positive and negative feelings and how the individuals reacts to stress fulsituations. The authors tried to examine if these feelings can affect the effectiveness of the employees. The authors also examine how the developmental job experience can lead to employee’s advancement potential and turn over intentions. The authors argued that past researches had focused mainly on individuals cognitive and passionate characteristics and missed to elaborate how employee’s affective characteristic influences patterns of affective processes between developmental job experience and work results. In their work, they examined the how DJE theory is linked to two opposite work outcomes: potential advancement and turnover intentions. Contrasting the previous use of the theory, which was cognitive in approach, the researchers incorporated and established the negative and positive influence of DJE on varied affective experiences. In conclusion, the researchers examined how DJE was related to both pleasant and unpleasant feelings to the employees’ advancement potential and turnover intentions.
Quantitative Methods and Analysis
The first two hypotheses used by the authors related to transaction stress theory and explain the pleasant and unpleasant feelings experience in developmental job assignments and their relation to the advancement potential. The third hypotheses are relating pleasant feeling to advancement potential and also pleasant feelings is said to mediate the relationship between developmental job experience and advancement potential. Fourth hypotheses are related to negative or unpleasant feelings where unpleasant feelings are negatively related to advancement potential and are also a mediator between DJE band potential advancement. In this case DJE is indirectly related to advancement potential. In Fifth hypothesis pleasant feelings is associated to low turnover while in 6th hypothesis unpleasant feelings is directly related to turnover intentions and is a mediator between DJE and turnover intention relationships. In this 6bth hypothesis DJE is positively and indirectly related to turnover intentions through unpleasant feelings.
The last four hypothesesrelate job outcomes to emotional intelligence. The seventh hypothesis relates emotional intelligence with Developmental Job Experiences and affective experiences. Eighth, ninth and tenth hypotheses authors explains the relationships among emotional intelligence, advancement potential and turnover intention.
Study Design and Sample
In their test model, the authors study sample consisted of 357 part time career managers doing their masters business program from the university of Mid Atlantic in United States. They considered such sample because individuals in management positions were thought to have likelihood to obtain DJE in varying degrees. Experience sampling procedure was employed to access participant’s effective experiences. The procedure was relevant to their study because independent variables were to be examined to establish their effect on the effective experiences. Out of the 357 participants, 214 participants completed all the three surveys. Due to the high response the bias was minimal.
Measures – Independent, Dependent, and Control Variables
Developmental challenge profile(DCP) was used to measure developmental job experience. DCP was used because has high reliability and its validity had been tested and proven in several work environments. Responses from participants were taken. Responses were analyzed on a scale of 1 to 5 and then various statistical method used to test the fitness of the outcomes. A further examination was done to ensure that their measurements of effective states were empirically different from individual’s specific affective traits and measurement was only to include employees work related effective states. They used twelve adjectives to describe affective experiences, dependent variables. The effective experiences were measured on a scale of 1 to 4. After several statistical methods were used, the measurement was analyzed and averaged to create dimension scores and indicators which generated pleasant and unpleasant feelings. They verified their measurements and examined the measurement findings to have a well-established relationship between DJE and effective experiences.
In the analysis of the emotional intelligence they used MSCEIT version 2, a computer aided test to evaluate the participants Emotional intelligence .MSCEIT version 2 was used because had proved reasonable reliability and had ability to measure general mental ability. In the examination for advancement potential and turnover intentions among the participants three item scale was used. The researchers used tested and proven methods to measure control variable in their study. Respondents’ age, gender and organizational tenure wasincluded as control variables in their study. “Demographic variables have impacts on employees’ advancement potential and turnover intentions”,(Spector, P. E, & Brannick, M. T, 2010).
Reliability and validity
Reliability is the ability of the significant results to produce more than one off finding and inherently repeatable. The authors used Cronbach’s alpha to determine reliability of the study. If results produce a Cronbach’s alpha > 0.7 showed the results were reliable. In their study Cronbach’s alpha value was0.91 based on DJE scale. The measurement produced Cronbach’s value of 0.84 and 0.75for affective experiences, pleasant and unpleasant feelings respectively. Cronbach’s values of 0.88, 0.76 and 0.84 were obtained for emotional intelligence, advancement potential turnover intention respectively. Since the Cronbach’s alpha for all the variables was > 0.7, all tests were considered reliable.
Statistical Techniques Used to Test the Hypotheses
In their researcher works the authors employed two step structural equation modeling (SEM) to test theoretical model using MPLUS 6.11.The two step model was chosen since it permitted simultaneous analysis in a multiple association. They tested the observed data and then compared nested structural models to obtain proper information concerning the model. They computed mean and variance to establish variability. Their computational analysis produced a p-value p>0.05, indicating the measurement model had an excellent good fit and further examination was necessary. The authors carried another study, structural model analysis to compare the results, their hypothesized model produced p<0.001. When they compared the model result and alternative model found the alternative model was not a significant improvement over the hypothesized .from the measured and analyzed means first five hypothesis were held valid, while hypothesis 6a, 7, and 8 which produce p > 0.05 were announced null hypotheses and rejected. 9th hypothesis produced significant pvalue and was considered valid.
Statistical Analysis and Findings
From the research, the authors were able to establish emotional intelligence could not moderate both the relationship between DJE and unpleasant feelings and relationship between unpleasant feelings and advancement potential. They established that both high and low advancement potential is indirectly affected by DJE via pleasant and unpleasant feelings. They found that DJE can result to both pleasant and unpleasant feelings among employees .it was established DJE affect both pleasant and unpleasant feelings, unpleasant feelings affect low turnover intention while pleasant feelings affects both advancement potential and turnover intention. The illustrations are below.
Figure 1: Interaction of Unpleasant Feelings and Emotional Intelligence on Turnover Intention
Figure 2: Interaction of Unpleasant Feelings and Emotional Intelligence on Turnover Intention
From the research, the authors were able to establish emotional intelligence could not moderate both the relationship between DJE and unpleasant feelings and relationship between unpleasant feelings and advancement potential. They established that both high and low advancement potential is indirectly affected by DJE via pleasant and unpleasant feelings. They found that DJE can result to both pleasant and unpleasant feelings among employees .it was established DJE affect both pleasant and unpleasant feelings, unpleasant feelings affect low turnover intention while pleasant feelings affects both advancement potential and turnover intention
Their study made theoretical contributions to the existing literatures on workplace affect and stress. They added knowledge of affect in organizations by identifying DJE as an important predictor of feeling states at work. Their research also added to the existing the stress literature by pointing out the potentially critical role of EI in coping with stressors in the workplace. As such, anyone needing to get an insight to the workplace stress can gain some understanding of the topic by referring to this research study by Dong, Seo and Bartol.
Practical Contributions and Implications for Managers
In today’s competitive business world every organization seeks to the optimal productivity that its employees can offer at any one given time. Having an environment that addresses stress and how it can be minimized if not done away with for employees is one of the most practical ways of maximizing employee productivity. It in this line that this work of research by Dong, Seo and Bartol becomes very relevant and practical for managers, who may need to effectively know to handle stress at the workplace (Hardin, 2013). As has been outlined earlier, the study touched on several issues that concern work stress and how it can be dealt with.
This study had two major limitations. First, the sample used was limited to just one industry. This is a limitation because there many industries in the business world. The experiences from each of these may significantly differ; essentially with regard to how stressing the workers find the environment. Secondly, the use of young managers in this presented another limitation concerning the scope of the study. This is so because different industries are managed by different managers, and some require very experienced managers in order to operate well (Kobrin et al, 2011).
Points for Improvement in the Study
In the study the scope can be extended by targeting a diverse population, such as mixing the responded managers from entry level managers, middle level manager and top level managers. This would give a more practical result concerning the topic of stress in management. Secondly, taking samples from different industries would be another way to expand the validity and make the findings of the study more reliable.
Dong,seo & Bartol. (2014). No pain, No gain: An effect based model of developmental job experience and the buffering effects of emotional intelligence. Academy of Management Journal, 57 No. 4, pp 1056-1077.
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