Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Impact of Adoption of Yoga Way of Life on the Emotional Intelligence of Managers
Hasmukh Adhia, H.R. Nagendra, and B. Mahadevan
by Oddinigwe Onyemenem
This paper builds on the thread of previous studies about utilizing the concept of EI defined by earlier researchers to measure managerial performance, and explores the yoga way of life as a potential tool to influence the EI of individuals. This paper studies the impact of the yoga way of life on emotional intelligence (EI) by using data collected from 60 managers in a business enterprise and reports enhanced EI because of the practice of yoga. The popular perception that a high intelligence quotient (IQ) is not necessarily a good predictor of professional and personal success has led to a growing interest in understanding the role of EI in improving the performance of business managers. The paper hypothesizes that practicing the yoga way of life may bring about a complete transformation of one’s personality, on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.

The paper defines EI as the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth. In a referenced study which was conducted in 200 large, global companies, it revealed that at the highest levels of a company, EI is essential for leadership. A person can have first class training, an incisive mind, and a large supply of good ideas, but without EI it is unlikely that he or she will make a great leader.

This study was conducted in a unit with about 120 people in the managerial cadre and more than 1000 in the workers’ category. Most of the employees reside in the township of the company, which made it easy to conduct the intervention of yoga.
Below is a summary of the study’s methodology:
·       The participants were divided into two equal groups of 42. Group 1 was the yoga group and group 2 was the physical exercise group (control group).
·       The yoga group was given 30 hours of yoga practice (75 minutes every day) and 25 hours of theory lectures on the philosophy of yoga spread over six weeks.
·       The control group was also given training in normal physical workout for an equal number of hours, and lectures on the success factors in life based on modern thought (that seeks to achieve success by systematic control of factors within one’s area of influence).
·       To test the hypothesis, EI was measured for both the groups, before and after the study, with the help of a standard self-reported questionnaire. In addition, measurements of certain physical parameters such as weight, body mass index, blood pressure, and blood sugar were taken for all, before and after the study.

Results from the study showed an increase in EI for the yoga group when comparing results that were taken before and after the study. The paper highlights certain aspects that need to be followed in implementing yoga as a way of life in organizations. The first step is to convince top managers to buy-in on the benefits of implementing yoga as a way of life. One of the potential challenges to the yoga way of life is the apprehension of renunciation effects in a productive working environment characteristic of business organizations, which look to nurture the killer instinct of their executives which is attributed to a lack of understanding of the true concepts of yoga. Next step, which the article considers the tougher part, is finding the right people to train the company executives on a continuous basis and should be periodically repeated.

The study suggests that the yoga way of life could potentially contribute to improving performance of managers, and improving their satisfaction levels. At a philosophical level, the yoga way of life seeks to unite the individual consciousness with universal consciousness. At the empirical level, the efficacy of scientific scrutiny needs to be tested by conducting more studies.

The study provided some useful insights and approached the issue from various angles. It rightly suggested further studies in this area like the sleep study. It appears that organizations are generally not paying attention or doing enough to promote activities such as yoga and sleep which can greatly improve the quality of lives for both individual contributors and management. It would be interesting to see this study replicated, but getting participants from various organizations rather than just one.



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  2. While this study is interesting about how the use of yoga could increase EI, I find the most fascinating part of this study from the control group. After their exercise regiment the control groups' overall EI score went down from their baseline. So what about exercise regiment makes EI go down, and what are the implications of this would be a great next step in research.

    1. You're right Ian, I consider this study to be a baseline for many other further studies.

  3. One thing I can get from this study is that health and well-being are important factors, as it affects almost every single aspect of life and determines what activities or tasks one emerges in or not, and the likelihood of which tasks or activities one is able to complete successfully. While having poor health can make individual dependent on others even for the basic necessities of life and can affect individual’s perception of oneself. In essence, health seems to be one of the most significant factors affecting well-being and emotional intelligence. In other words, in order to develop a healthy personality and emotional intelligence an individual needs some type of modifier that can provide a healthy living or a sense of empowerment. In this study, yoga can help provide a better quality of life as well as psychological well-being. Having workers or team members have a healthy mind can help with productivity and creativity in the workplace. Though yoga is one modifier that can help improve an individual’s well-being, it would be interesting to see other modifiers that are not physical exercises in studies to see if they improve an individual’s work performance, such as going to Church or doing mental exercises.

  4. Very good article Oddi. It makes sense that yoga would increase EI significantly. Companies definitely should take studies, such as this one, into account as it would improve the well being of managers and employees throughout and likely be cost-effective. Sadly, it seems, many companies have not bought into yoga and that it can make someone feel better.