Relationship Between Job Engagement and Organizational Performance; Moderator Effect of Emotional Intelligence


Employee satisfaction and emotional interaction are very important subjects for organizational performance in today's working environment. In this research, the moderator effect of emotional intelligence on the relationship between job engagement of employees and qualitative performances of organizations is examined. The research data obtained from field study with the participation of 314 private sector employees were analyzed using SPSS and AMOS package programs. As a result of testing research hypotheses with the structural equality model (SEM), it has been stated that the emotional engagement and cognitive engagement positively affects the qualitative performance of organizations. Moreover, it is observed that the emotional intelligence of the employees has a moderator effect on the relationship between job engagement and organizational performance. The results show that emotional engagement and cognitive engagement have positive effects on organizational performance. Also, considering the gap in the literature, the moderator effect is determined in the relationship between job engagement of emotional intelligence and qualitative performance.

Keywords: Job EngagementEmotional IntelligenceOrganizational Performance


Performance, where the intensity of competition is constantly increasing, has become one of the important parameters determining company performance in today's world. Organizational performance is also affected by the relationship between the organization and their employees. The concept of job engagement that is discussed in this context is also an explanation for the relationship between the organization and the employee. In this context, the concept of job engagement is also an explanation for the relationship between the organization and its employees.

In particular, although from 1990s, Khan (1990, 1992); Weick and Roberts (1993); Harter, Schmidt and Hayes (2002); Schaufeli and Bakker, (2004) have made significant contribution on job engagement; Rich, Lepine and Crawford (2010) have made one of the first studies that are addressing this issue empirically. Rich et. al. (2010) aimed to reveal the relationship between job engagement and organizational factors together with business performance by developing the theoretical framework done by Kahn (1990). For this reason we also used this scale for our research, which was developed in the study of Rich et. al. (2010) and aimed at explaining the relationship between job engagement and performance.

Even though the effects of job engagement on employee performance have been clearly demonstrated in many studies in the literature (Halbesleben & Wheeler 2008; Bakker & Leiter 2010; Gruman & Saks 2011; Christian, Garza, & Slaughter 2011; Bakker, Tims, & Derks 2012; Gabler, Rapp, & Richey 2014), there are relatively few studies indicating this relationship together with the dimensions of job engagement. In this study however, we aim to show the relationship between organizational performance and job engagement together with the three dimensions of job engagement which are physical engagement, cognitive engagement, and emotional engagement (Khan, 1990, 1992; Rich et al., 2010).

Emotional intelligence, which is another concept that constitutes the subject of our work, has the role of increasing the power and intensity of this relationship and had been researched many times in management and organizational behavior studies (Sudak & Zehir, 2013). The concept of emotional intelligence, which is defined as the individual's own feelings and emotions, or the ability to reflect and distinguish the feelings and emotions of others, and to use this knowledge in the dimension of thought and action (Salovey & Mayer, 1990); has been analyzed together with the issues such as performance, productivity, leadership, organizational citizenship, job satisfaction (Rosete & Ciarrochi, 2005; Cote & Miners, 2006; Kafetsios & Zampetakis, 2008; Dong, Seo, & Bartol, 2014). However, the influence of employees' emotional intelligence on job engagement and performance outcomes has not been examined in the literature on management and organizational behavior. For this reason, the moderator effect of emotional intelligence on the relationship between job engagement and organizational performance is examined in this paper.

Literature Review and Theoretical Framework

Individuals participate in organizations with their own self-perceptions, and within the organization which is a social entity, they act and think with the influence of these self-perceptions (Dutton, Dukerich, and Harquail, 1994). In the same way, taking place of individuals within different social groups such as race, gender or team naturally develops as an extension of this self-perception (Breakwell, 1993). In other words, individuals enter into the social groups together with the characteristics of their own selves, rather than being abstracted from them. Organizations are also some sort of social groups in which people participate with their self. According to Tompkins and Cheney’s (1985) definition of job engagement, which is amongst the first definitions done in the literature, it is the perception of organizational engagement that individuals share their success and failure with the organization, feel sense of belonging, and also as an individual or group within the organization.

Kahn (1990) defines job engagement as a unique and important motivational factor that allows the individual to give his/her physical (behavioral), cognitive, and emotional energy to the work he/she does. Moreover, it is also defined as the level of attachment to the organizational characteristics of the content of self-context (Tüzün and Çağlar, 2008). It is the positive, fulfilling state of mind, most commonly characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption (Halbesleben & Wheeler, 2008).

Through job engagement, employees tend to see themselves as a part of their organizations more and see themselves as a representative of their organization against the external environment (Turunç and Çelik, 2010). Besides, Bakker et al. (2011) sees engagement of employees with their organizations as one of the physical, psychological and organizational requirements of the business. Finally, organizational identification can be summarized as the level of volunteerism in which employees in the work processes are physically and emotionally engaged in business associations (Haynie, Mossholder, & Harris, 2016).

Efraty, Sirgy and Claiborne (1991), which is one of the studies in the literature on job engagement, suggest that personal alienation has a negative influence on job engagement. Wegge et. al. (2006) state that improvements in motivation and satisfaction at the workplace increase job engagement and productivity of employees. According to Dick et. al. (2007), there is a significant relationship between leadership and engagement, and leadership plays a key role in engagement of employees with their organization. According to Knight and Haslam (2010), another study examining the job engagement of top management and employees; the physical and psychological unhappiness that arises when job engagement is low is related to the attitude of the management level. According to Fieseler et. al. (2015), job engagement changes according to the demographic characteristics, and there is a positive relationship between organizational trust and job engagement.

When we look at the relationship between job engagement and business performance, we see that engagement and embedding each shared unique variance with in-role performance (Halbesleben and Wheeler, 2008). According to Bakker and Leiter (2010), there is a positive relationship between job engagement and performance, just as in job satisfaction and psychological wellbeing.

According to Grumman and Saks (2011), there is a direct relationship between job engagement and job performance. Moreover, engaged employees are likely to perform extra-role behaviors, perhaps because they are able to “free up” resources by accomplishing goals and performing their tasks efficiently, enabling them to pursue activities that are not part of their job descriptions (Christian et. al., 2011). In addition, according to the findings of Bakker et. al.’s (2012) research on workers with proactive personality, proactive personality had a positive relationship with in-role performance through job crafting and work engagement. According to Gabler et. al. (2014), while job engagement increases sales performance, low job engagement leads to a decline in sales performance. Finally, employee engagement have a significant impact on employee performance (Anitha, 2014).

Dimensions of Organizational Engagement

As seen in the studies mentioned above, job engagement concept has effect on the organizational and employee performance. Kahn (1990) states that organizational engagement, which generally affects performance positively, consists of behavioral (physical) engagement, cognitive engagement and emotional engagement. According to Kahn’s study, job engagement is the physical, cognitive and emotional ties to all other aspects of one's work in such a way as to make one's work better with his/her own will and effort. The study providing a theoretical framework does not address the effect on organizational performance. Then Rich at al. (2010) has contributed to the literature by considering the theoretical framework of the study with its influence on performance. In this study, we aim to investigate which of the three dimensions of job engagement affects performance.

If we take the dimensions that provide job engagement in order, physical engagement is the contribution of people to the organization's physical assets and energy. Organizations initially expect behavioral roles from their employees. The role of physical engagement is in increasing the physical effort of employees for a long time and coming from the top of the work they do in the organization (Rich et. al., 2010). When employees spend their physical energy to what they do in a motivated way, the expectations of organization from the employees are being met. In the light of these context, the research question related to the physical engagement is as follows:

H1a: There is a significant relationship between physical engagement of employees with their organization and their organizational performance.

Another dimension of job engagement is cognitive engagement, where the individual contributes to the organization's goals by doing the work carefully, prudently, with care and focus (Khan, 1990). Weick and Roberts (1993) describe cognitive engagement as heedfulness, and state that cognitive energy is what shapes employee's' behavior as heedfulness. Accordingly, the attention, cautiousness and focus required to perform a job occurs with cognitive energy and spending of the individual's cognitive energy in the direction of the organization's purpose occurs at the level of his/her cognitive identification. In this direction;

H2b: There is a significant relationship between cognitive engagement of employees with their organization and their organizational performance.

The last dimension of job engagement is the emotional engagement. Emotional engagement requires employees to spend their emotional energy for their business needs in order to achieve organizational goals. The research question about this issue is:

H2c: There is a significant relationship between emotional engagement of employees with the organization and organizational performance.

Emotional Intelligence

The concept of emotional intelligence is a popular concept for management, psychology, sociology, educational science studies, although it started to take place in the literature in the 1990s. The basis of the concept of emotional intelligence, used by Wayne Leon Payne in his PhD thesis for the first time in the literature in 1985, can be attributed to the social intelligence model of Thorndike (1920). According to Thorndike's model of social intelligence, the ability of individuals to understand and perceive the feelings of others is a distinctive feature from general intelligence (Gürbüz and Yüksel, 2011). The concept was used as the subject of a scientific study by the psychologists Salovey and Mayer (1990) in their study called ‘Emotional Intelligence’. The book was written by Daniel Goleman (1995) made the concept increasingly foreground and made it known publicly. Also, the concept of emotional intelligence took place in business world with the book called ‘Emotional Intelligence at Work’ by Goleman (1998), and has also been studied by academicians working in this field.

Saloyev and Mayer (1990) describe emotional intelligence as “reflecting the individual's own or others’ feelings and emotions, distinguishing them from each other, and using this knowledge in the dimension of thought and action”. On the other hand, Goleman (1998) describes emotional intelligence as the ability to sense one's own feelings, to empathize others, and to adjust their emotions to enrich their life. Emotional intelligence is also defined as “the personal, emotional and social competencies and skills that will help the person to successfully cope with the pressure and demands of community” (Doğan & Şahin, 2007).

The concept of emotional intelligence, which has become increasingly popular since the mid-90s, has been examined in terms of many different subjects such as leadership, performance, employee choice, job satisfaction and conflict (Sudak and Zehir, 2013). From these studies, Cote and Miners (2006) examine the impact of the emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence concepts together on business performance. According to the results of their research, there is a relationship between emotional intelligence and task-oriented job performance, and this relationship also affects the behavior of organizational citizenship. Rosete and Ciarrochi (2005) who studied the relationship between leadership and emotional intelligence, found a positive relationship between effective leadership and emotional intelligence. Dong, et. al. (2014) investigated the effect of emotional intelligence on the relationship between job performance and career progression or job abandonment of executive candidates working in organizations. According to the research results; while there is a positive relationship between the turnover rates of employees who have low emotional intelligence, there is not such a relationship in the opposite way.

Emotional intelligence has been investigated in variety of context and areas from psychology to sociology, from organizational behavior to management science. Many different scales have been developed to measure emotional intelligence such as Mayer-Salovey (MSCEIT), Measurement of Emotional Intelligence Model of Goleman (ECI), Dulewicz-Higgs Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (DHEIQ), Wong-Law Emotional Intelligence Scales (WLEIS) (Oral, 2015). In our research we used the Wong-Law Emotional Intelligence Scales (WLEIS), which is developed by Wong & Law (2002) with four dimensions in order to investigate the regulatory role between organizational identification and business performance. The reason why we choose this scale is because it is designed to be measure emotional intelligence and sub-dimensions with relatively fewer questions than many emotional intelligence measures.

The first dimension of the four-dimensional WLEIS is self-emotional appraisal, relating to the ability to understand and express one's feelings; the second dimension is others’ emotional appraisal, which is the essential feature of the perceived and meaningful dimension of the people's emotions. The third dimension of this scale is regulation of emotion, which is the ability to adjust and manage the emotions of the individuals. Finally, the fourth dimension is the use of emotion and this dimension concerns the use of one's feelings in constructive (positive) activities and in enhancing personal performance (Wong and Law, 2002).

The effects of this four-dimensional emotional intelligence on organizational performance are addressed in the studies mentioned above. In this study, the density of the moderator role of emotional intelligence on the relationship between job engagement and organizational performance is investigated. As a result of the analysis of the relevant studies in the literature and theoretical framework;

H2a: There is a moderator effect of emotional intelligence between job engagement and organizational performance; and as the emotional intelligence increases, the intensity of the relationship between job engagement and organizational performance increases.

H2b: There is a moderator effect of emotional intelligence between physical engagement and organizational performance, and as the emotional intelligence increases, the intensity of the relationship between physical engagement and organizational performance increases.

H2c: There is a moderator effect of emotional intelligence between cognitive engagement and organizational performance, and as the emotional intelligence increases, the intensity of the relationship between cognitive engagement and organizational performance increases.

H2d: There is a moderator effect of emotional intelligence between emotional engagement and organizational performance, and as the emotional intelligence increases, the intensity of the relationship between emotional engagement and organizational performance increases.

Research Method

The questionnaire method was used to collect research data by face-to-face interactions. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyzes were carried out to determine whether scale validity and reliability analyzes and questionnaires constituting the research scales form the predicted factor structure. Then the research model and related hypotheses were tested with structural equation model. The total number of participants for this study is 314 people who are working in organizations in different levels. Emotional intelligence scale was used by KS Law, Wong and Song (2004) and job engagement scale belongs to Rich, Lepine and Crawford (2010) and lastly organizational performance scale was used by Prieto and Revilla (2006).

Table 1 -
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Our research model is shown below;

Figure 1: Research Model
Research Model
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Validity and Reliability of Factors

Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) is applied to determine whether the theoretically predicted variables making up the scales were separated into predicted factor components. Principal components analysis and promax rotation methods are used in the exploratory factor analysis. For testing the suitability of the data set for factor analysis; Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) sample adequacy test and Bartlett sphericity test were applied.

As a result of the analysis, it was found that the KMO value for this study is 0.923 which is above the desired level of 0.50 and the Bartlett test is significant at 0.001 significance level. In addition, the diagonal values in the anti-image correlation matrix are looked at and these values are found to be over 0.5 as it should be. Accordingly, it has been found that sample data is suitable for the factor analysis.

In the exploratory factor analysis, the lower limit of factor loads was accepted as 0.5 considering the sample size. The communality values of all variables are above 0.5. The Cronbach's Alpha value was used to measure the internal consistency of the factors, and each factor exceeded Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.7. Accordingly, it is revealed that the factor structures have internal consistencies.

Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted using the Maximum Likelihood estimation method to verify the results of the EFA, to analyze the validity and reliability of the research scales. Modification indices are examined and error values with high modification value in the same factor are combined with covariance. In this instance, the fit index values are examined as follow; X2/df = 1,886, GFI=0,838, TLI=0,917, CFI=0,926, PNFI=0,768, RMSEA=0,053 (Hu and Bentler,1999; Schumacker and Lomax, 2012).

Convergence validity is obtained since all factor loads were statistically significant (Bagozzi, Yi, Lynn, 1991) and factor loadings were higher than 0.7 (Hair et al, 2010). In addition, unidimensionality (Anderson and Gerbing, 1988) is also being provided because the goodness of fit indexes are at a good level.

Table 2 -
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Average Variance Extracted (AVE) (Fornell and Larcker, 1981) and Scale Composite Relability (SCR) (Bagozzi and Yi, 1988) values were used to test the reliability of the factor constructs. When AVE value is greater than 0.5 and the CR value is greater than 0.7, it is possible to say that the relevant factor has validity and reliability (Bagozzi and Yi, 1988). The AVE and SCR values of research factors are given above. Accordingly, the validity and reliability of the factors were found to be at the desired level. Correlations of factor variables are given in Table 3 . Accordingly, it is found that the interrelationships between the variables are sufficient and statistically significant.

Table 3 -
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Testing the Research Model

In this study, structural equation modeling is used to test hypotheses. The structural equation model developed to investigate the effects of physical, emotional and cognitive engagement on organizational performance is given below at Table 4 . The fit values of the model are of the following form; Model 1 Fit; X2/df = 2,018 GFI=0,890, TLI=0,931, CFI=0,943, PNFI=0,735, RMSEA=0,057 which are all at an acceptable fit.

Table 4 -
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According to the results of Model 1; while physical engagement does not significantly affect performance; emotional engagement (B = 0.394 p <0.01) and cognitive engagement (B = 0.357 p <0.05) significantly affect organizational performance. For this reason, H1b and H1c were supported.

There are multiple methods of statistically presenting the existence of the moderator effects. In this study, moderator variable effect is analyzed using multiple group comparisons and chi-square difference test over the structural equation modeling infrastructure. This method has validity as they are used in many management and organizational studies (Wagner, 2011; Jiménez-Jiménez and Sanz-Valle, 2011).

The results of the structural equation model which is designed to test the possible moderator effect of emotional intelligence on the relationship between job engagement and performance are given below (Table 5 ). It can be shown that in both models, the model fit values indicate an acceptable fit.

Table 5 -
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According to Model 2; in the case of moderator effect of emotional intelligence, there is a significant differentiation between low and high levels of emotional intelligence on the effect of job engagement on performance (EQL; 0,383*** EQH; 0,481*** ;   3,22*). According to this findings, emotional intelligence has a moderating effect on the relationship between job engagement and performance, so H2a is supported.

Model 3 is created to understand from which job engagement sub-dimension creates the moderator effect. According to the results, there is a significant differentiation between low and high emotional intelligence levels only on the relationship between emotional engagement and performance (EQL; 0,265*** EQH; 0,393***; 6,76**). For this reason, while H2b and H2c are not supported, H2d is supported.

Conclusion and Discussions

The effect of job engagement on organizational performance is an undeniable fact today. There is a relationship between the level of engagement with the organization and the energy which is spent by the employees in a motivated way for the organizational purposes. The relationship between either organizational performance and job engagement or job performance and organizational engagement is examined by Kahn (1990, 1992), Rich et al. (2010), Halbesleben & Wheeler (2008), Bakker & Leiter (2010), Christian, Garza, & Slaughter (2011) and Bakker, Tims, & Derks (2012) in the literature. The effect of the organizational engagement on performance, which was developed by Khan (1990) in the theoretical context and which was empirically tested by Rich et al. (2010), is examined in this study in a different way.

The results show that emotional engagement and cognitive engagement have positive effects on organizational performance. Also, considering the gap in the literature, the moderator effect is investigated in the relationship between job engagement of emotional intelligence and qualitative performance. As a result, it is observed that emotional intelligence in relation to the job engagement and performance has an influence that increases this power. When examining the sub-dimensions of job engagement, it is understood that the emotional intelligence has a moderator role in the influence between emotional engagement and organizational performance. From these findings, it has been shown that the professionals and managers need to manage their employees’ emotional intelligence. Within this mind, it will also be beneficial for managers to give importance not only to the analytical intelligence but also to the emotional intelligence functions in their organization; because, the results of the study show that job engagement affects organizational performance more strongly in employees with high emotional intelligence.

Performance measures are based on subjective perception, which is a limitation for the study. The use of objective performance measures are recommended in the future studies. Also, there are some shortages for generalization because the study has a cross-sectional study area. In order to overcome this deficiency, it will be useful to carry out studies involving employees from different sectors and longitudinal studies. Research on the role of different individual and organizational elements (cultural intelligence, organizational support, leadership etc.) in the relationship between job engagement and performance is a recommendation that will contribute to the development of the literature.


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Zehir, C., Üzmez, A., Köle, M., & Öztürk, H. Y. (2017). Relationship Between Job Engagement and Organizational Performance; Moderator Effect of Emotional Intelligence. In M. Özşahin (Ed.), Strategic Management of Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Innovativeness, vol 34. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 295-307). Future Academy.