Organizational Behaviour - Emotional Stability

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Over the past years, many have related emotional stability with one’s ability to perform in work. This essay will review emotional stability as one of The “Big Five” Personality Model in relation to the workplace and work behavior. In order to further reinforce the concept, different academic journals from recent years will be used to deliver ideologies on the definition of emotional stability, ways to encourage emotional stability, how it affects the workforce both as employees and managers while contrasting with people with neurotic behavior.

Emotional stability means having a calm behavior, whether a certain project in work has been deemed a success or a failure. It is the ability to control his or her emotional expressions while still maintaining the right mind to make rational and professional decisions. Teng, Chang & Hsu (2009: 2088) states that a person having good emotional stability is less likely to display strong emotional reactions to stressful situations. Teng also adds that these people lean more towards being pro-active and successful in problem-solving. Neuroticism would be the other end of the scale where one will have the buoyancy to experience negative emotions. Neuroticism includes characteristics of excessive worry, pessimistic and low confidence (Bozionelos 2004: 70). People who are neurotic may find it difficult to think clearly, cope with stress or being in a bad mood under normal circumstances. As a result, it is clear that firms are more likely to favor employees who are emotionally stable because he or she will not be too emotionally involved in a certain situation and will find it much easier to move on.

As an employee, having good emotional stability is important in the process of learning and understanding a task. An important aspect of the learning is curve is learning from errors and being emotionally stable has shown to help an individual learn from mistakes (Zhao 2010: 438). While it is false that negative emotions decrease one’s motivation to engage in productive actions, it has been discussed and concluded (Gray, cited in Zhao 2010: 453) that neuroticism dampens goal pursuit activities and discouraging people from taking actions which gain them benefits. When an error has been made by an individual, their personality of being emotionally positive or negative affects the outcome of their behavior. Emotionally stable individuals will regard errors positively, almost putting a mental note to remind themselves not to make the same mistake again. In the work environment today, human errors are inevitable but individuals who are neurotic will develop fear when they make mistakes. Zhao (2010: 456) reasons that emotionally negative individuals choose alternative activities, often unproductive to divert their minds off the problem in order to alleviate the fear. More often that none, these individuals engage in task-irrelevant activities such as error rationalization or denial, which impacts on them learning from the errors made. Therefore it is concluded that emotionally stable employees learn much more effectively from their own mistakes.

Another aspect of having stable emotions is the ability to make better judgment calls under demanding situations. Someone emotionally unstable is biased towards certain things and will make decisions based on personal emotions rather than facts and logic. An interesting find is the article by Teng et al., “Emotional stability of nurses: impact on patient safety.” This article discusses the correlation between the nurses’ personality and their impact on patient safety and was chosen to discuss because of the magnitude of the consequences. In this research, Teng et al. (2009: 2090) states that “emotionally stable nurses can be expected to achieve better nursing outcomes than emotionally unstable nurses.” A nurse who has been deeply angered by a patient may make bad and irrational decisions. In contrast, a nurse dealing with crisis or emergencies...
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