The Union Government's New Education Policy 2020 of India is said to be a game changer and has brought many reforms into the education sector. This initiation provoked many changes in the education sector along with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this regard, there is a dire need to know the emotional status and stress among the teaching fraternity. The present study considers emotional intelligence and workplace spirituality as influencers of occupational stress. The findings of the study interpret that emotional intelligence and workplace spirituality predict occupational stress in the teaching fraternity. The mediation effect of workplace spirituality between emotional intelligence and occupational stress is nominal and very low. However, it is observed that high levels of spirituality and moderate emotional intelligence predict low-stress levels.
Teachers' work sheds light on the interplay between personal relationships within classrooms and the societal structures of gender and class. In their efforts to develop fresh perspectives on the nature and origins of educational inequality, Connell et al., 2020; Varghese & Mandal, 2020) assert that teachers are no longer viewed as mere knowledge providers but, rather, as mentors and facilitators of learning (Connell et al., 2020; Varghese & Mandal, 2020). The Union Government's New Education Policy 2020 of India is a game changer, bringing many reforms into the education sector (Aithal & Aithal, 2020; Tilbury, 2011). Teachers are the most cherished assets for educational institutions. Teachers impart not only knowledge to the students but also play a significant role in shaping their bright future (Datnow, 2020). There are many research-based studies stated that beginners in the teaching profession were leaving this profession because of occupational stress (Alexandrache, 2015; Arnup & Bowles, 2016; Harmsen et al., 2018; McCarthy, 2019; Rajendran et al., 2020; Redin & Erro-Garcés, 2020; Ryan et al., 2017). It is often seen that a stressful event results in the ‘fight-or-flight’ responses caused by a rush of adrenaline hormones (Arkert et al., 2020; McEwen & Karatsoreos, 2020). Another study (Zeitlin, 2021) described the annual teacher turnover is higher in comparison with the turnover of all other occupations. Since teachers face prolonged unhealthy stress on the job, its negative consequences manifest in terms of lack of concentration, reduction of memory, increased chances of error, deterioration in planning and organization skills, irritability, problems in speech, lack of energy, etc., which consequently impact the ability with which teachers can perform and deliver their work. (Kundi, Sardar, & Badar, 2021) suggest that stress and emotional intelligence are negatively related. Individuals with emotional Intelligence have a low level of neuroticism with lower stress levels. However, the role of the psyche is generally underestimated and the role of biological factors is over-estimated in relation to occupational stress (Wadhera & Bano, 2020). Therefore, it is important to explore emotional intelligence with occupational stress. Also, Cunningham (2014) emphatically notes that the limited number of studies that have considered spirituality in examinations of work stress constitutes a major oversight (Cunningham, 2014). Researchers tend to ignore the variable of spirituality when, in fact, spirituality is a critical variable that should be considered in work stress research (Sani & Ekowati, 2021). Recent empirical studies have revealed workplace spirituality as a mechanism for managing work stress. Therefore, since college teachers work in a stressful environment, this study aims to explore the role of emotional intelligence and workplace spirituality in reducing occupational stress among teaching fraternity.
Conclusion and future implications of the study
The term workplace spirituality must not be understood as something related to religion. In the organizational context, it is viewed as mindfulness towards the work, compassion, meaningful work and perfection (Bengal & Bengal, 2016; Mahipalan & Sheena, 2019). Spirituality refers to those vital things for happy work. The study can extend to examine the other factors of workplace spirituality, such as personal beliefs at the workplace, altruism, and trust. The intrinsic sources' role can be elevated to cope with occupational stress (Zare et al., 2021). If the research extends further to the role of emotional quotient as a job resource and workplace spirituality on job-related stress, that helps the organizations to ensure increased productivity, less absenteeism and better performance with maximum utilization of resources. The present study proves that workplace spirituality and emotional intelligence separately act as coping factors for work-related stress for teaching fraternity but not as mediating roles. Organizations can be keen on developing relationships among employees, which impacts occupational stress in terms of role ambiguity, clarity, and conflict. Many respondents feel that their roles have become a big mess recently, such as unplanned meetings and all works are framed as important without time frames.
Further research can be extended to workplace spirituality and emotional stability as coping strategies. The demographic profile impact is also examined as an impact factor on occupational stress. The same study can also be carried out in other states, as the state universities have their own policies and practices to progress. Future research will be extended with the importance of India's National Educational Policy 2020 and its impact on the teaching fraternity. (Aithal & Aithal, 2020); Numerous researchers have looked into how different employment outcomes are impacted by workplace spirituality, but the literature is still missing on the mechanisms through which these effects occur. Occupational stress mediated between workplace spirituality and job satisfaction (Mittal et al., 2023). The significance of utilising workplace spirituality as a powerful instrument for reducing OS, improving performance and morale, and assisting in the formulation of future human resource development strategies was proved in police personnel (Jalan & Garg, 2022), but the finding study gave different results as that workplace spirituality has a negative impact on understanding the roles of the academicians.