Evidence based management uses best scientific evidence available to help in decision making (Thomas & Pring 2004). Air Canada adopted this management approach and employed the use of emotional intelligence, EI, during their selection process to identify pilots with high EI.
An intensive research in social science reveals EI as a key determinant of success in individuals and the organisations they serve (Diana Durek & Shawna Sheldon 2009). Accordingly, Air Canada has relied on this valuable piece of evidence and incorporated EI tests to select candidates who possess the emotional and social competencies needed for long term success as an Air Canada pilot (The EQ Edge 2006).
Pilots have wide areas of responsibility, they function like managers who oversee all aspects of station operations and make quick decisions at work. EI test instruments are needed to provide objective information about candidates’ level of EI, the set of abilities to perceive, express and assimilate emotion in thought, understand and reason with emotions and regulate them in oneself and others.Research has shown that emotions have a greater influence than cognition and it has a profound effect on almost everything we do at the workplace (McShane & Von Glinow 2009).
Air Canada acquires a strategic position by having pilots with high EI. This bolsters employees’ self worth and creates a conducive work environment with better employes relations. The ability to motivate and inspire fellow co workers largely hinges on pilots’ EI. With high EI, pilots are more sensitive to competing demands from the four drives (acquire, bond, learn, defend). They can better avoid impulsive behaviour from those drives and judge the best way to act to fulfil those drive demands in a social context (Mc Shane & Von Glinow 2009). Air Canada would expect their pilots to be adept at relationship management, the highest level among the four dimensions of EI, where pilots can recognise and regulate others’ emotions. Possessing high EI enables pilots to minimize emotional dissonance, the conflict between true and required emotions. Especially for Air Canada, a service industry which requires high emotional labour; employees are expected to express organisatonally desired emotions during interpersonal transactions (McShane & Von Glinow 2008).
Deep acting minimises emotional dissonance when employees change their true emotions to match the required. To do so, employees must possess high EI and the ability to self manage and display desired emotions, serve as good role models who display organisational awareness and motivate other coworkers. As such, identification with Air Canada is possible when employees agree with values congruent with that of the organisation. Employees develop affective commitment, feelings of loyalty towds the organization. By having employees with high EI, be it service crews or pilots, there would be greater team dynamics and increased organisational and social awareness. This in turn leads to job satisfaction and affective commitment, resulting in low turnover where customers enjoy a consistent service provided by better skilled employees. Eventually, both employees and customers’ satisfaction are maximised and this generates greater profit for organisation.This way, Air Canada gains a competitive edge which is largely made possible with effective regulation of emotions at the workplace.
Long working hours and the constant need to make quick, accurate decisions are excessive demands that pilot must deal with. Consequently, they face the danger of work overload or job burnout which is the process of emotional exhausation, cynicism and reduced efficacy (Mc Shane & Von Glinow 2009). This may adversely affect a pilot’s ability to deliver his duties well. Air Canada recognises that stressors produce different stress levels in different people. Thus, Air Canada selects candidates with high EI, who are assumed to have higher threshold levels of...
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