The Shmooze

Researchers Turn Work Stereotype Upside Down

By Nathan Jeffay

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It’s a stereotype turned on its head. If Israeli researchers are right, the public sector may be more dog-eat-dog than the corporate world.

Haifa University researchers have concluded that employees from the public sector are more likely to use “forceful influence tactics” to get their own way, while in the private sector people are more likely to use their “emotional intelligence.”

The study also found that in the private sector, emotional intelligence on the part of management helps staff to form and keep positive attitudes toward their company, and stave off burnout, intentions to leave and the tendency to neglect work. The impact of emotional intelligence in the public sector, on the other hand, was not as strong.

“We believe that the high level of organizational politics in the public sector and the stress associated with it decrease the positive effects of emotional intelligence for this sector,” said Galit Meisler, the study’s director, in a statement about the findings.

The research paper received the Outstanding Doctorate Award from the Israeli Political Science Association. It surveyed 809 employees and managers within four organizations: two in the public sector and two in the private sector. And while the research was conducted in Israel, its authors contend that it is representative of public and private sector organizations worldwide.


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