Emotional Intelligence and Turnover Intentions among Teaching Staff in Kenya's Private Universities


  • Makokha Namukuru Selina The Management University of Africa
  • Prof. Zachary Bolo Awino University of Nairobi
  • Prof. Stephen M. Nyambegera United States International University




The objective of this study was to establish the relationship between emotional intelligence and turnover intentions among the teaching staff in Kenya's Private Universities. The study was anchored on the mixed theory of emotional intelligence. It focused on all 36 private universities in Kenya as listed by the Commission for university education as at June 2021. The research was guided by positivism philosophy and used cross-sectional survey design. A sample size of 364 teaching staff from Kenyan Private Universities was obtained through stratified proportionate random sampling. The researcher used a structured questionnaire to collect primary data for the study from 364 respondents. Quantitative data analysis was conducted using statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) software and involved diagnostic tests, descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. The results revealed a weak positive and significant relationship between emotional intelligence and turnover intentions. The research recommends the leadership of private universities in Kenya to assess a candidate’s emotional intelligence ability to build strong relationships among employees when employing the teaching staff. The study further recommends that employees in these institutions be trained on emotional intelligence aspects of Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Social-awareness and social management or social skills at institutional and personal level. This training should include all leaders at various levels such as vice chancellors, deputy vice chancellors’ deans and non-academic leaders. 

Keywords; Emotional intelligence, turnover intentions, teaching staff, private universities, Kenya.

Author Biographies

Makokha Namukuru Selina, The Management University of Africa

School of Management and leadership, Management University of Africa

Prof. Zachary Bolo Awino, University of Nairobi

Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, University of Nairobi

Prof. Stephen M. Nyambegera, United States International University

Chandaria School of Business, United States International University


Agoi, L. F. (2015). Effect of work engagement on employee turnover intention in public sector, Kenya, International Journal of Economics, Commerce and Management United Kingdom 3,(12) 426 - 437 Retrieved from http//ijecm.cm.uk/

Ahmed, Z., Sabir, S.,. Rehman, Z,.Khosa, M. & Khan, A. (2016). The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Employee’s Performance in Public and Private Higher Educational Institutions of Pakistan. Journal of Business and Management 18,63–71. http: //doi.org/ 10.9790/ 489X – 1811056371.

Ajzen, I. (2006) Constructing a theory of planned behaviour questionnaire, University of Masachusetts Amherst

Akhtar, M. W., Ghufran, H., & Fatima, T. (2017). The effect of emotional intelligence on turnover intentions; the role of employee well-being, engagement and perceived organizational support. Jinnah Business Review, 5(2), 69-80.

Albaqami, A. (2016). Determinants of turnover intentions among faculty members in Saudi public universities (doctoral thesis), University of Salford, Saudi Arabia.

Amstrong, M. (2009). A handbook of human resource management practices. (11th ed). 120 Pentonvile Road London N19N, United Kingdom.

Bett, H. K. (2020). Are Kenyan lecturers motivated to teach? Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, 12(4), 599-607.

Biwott, G. (2020). Emotional intelligence, transformational leadership, and knowledge sharing behaviour among Academic Staff in Kenyan Universities (Unpublished Doctoral Thesis), Moi University.

Commission for University Education. (2017). Accredited Universities in Kenya Retrieved from commission for university Kenya.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research Design qualitative, quantitative and mixed approaches. London, SAGE.

Gedi, M. M. (2019), Administration of devolved water services, transformational leadership, planning and water provision in Arid and semi – arid lands in Kenya (Unpublished doctoral thesis), Management University of Africa.

Gudo, C. O., Olel, M. A. & Oanda, I. O. (2011). University Expansion in Kenya and issues of quality education: Challenges and opportunities. International Journal of Business and Social Sciences 2 (20), 203 – 214.

Igbafe, E. C. (2016). Emotional intelligence in coping with professional, academic and institutional challenges in Nigerian universities (Unpublished doctoral thesis), University of Pretoria.

Kamau, U.& Mberia, H. (2012). Retention of staff in public universities department of social sciences and humanities.Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.

Kipchumba, S. K., Zhimin, L.& Chelagat, R. (2013). Study on the sources of resources and capacity building in resource mobilization: Case of Private Chartered Universities in Nakuru Town, Kenya. Journal of International Education and Leadership. 3 (2) 2161-7252.

Kiplangat, H. N. (2017). Relationship Between leadership style and lecturers in institutions of higher learning in Kenya. Universal Journal of education research. 5(3)435-446

Makinde, A.& Adeoye, A. (2018). The Influence Of Motivation On Turnover Intention of Academic Staff in Some Selected Private Universities in South West of Nigeria. European Journal of Research and Reflection in Education Sciences. 6 (6)30-45.

Mutuma, M. K. & Manase, G. W. (2013). An evaluation of remuneration schemes in relation to staff turnover in Kenyan private universities: Case study of Kenya Methodist University. Journal of Poverty, Investment and Development – An Open Access International Journal. 6 (2), 12 – 24

Mwangi, C. I. (2011). Utilization of Emotional Intelligence and Transformational Leadership for Employee Engagement in Public Universities in Kenya (published doctoral thesis), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya.

Mwebi, B. & Simatwa, E. M. (2013). Expansion of Private universities in Kenya and its implication on quality and completion rate:

Ntarangwe, M., Asatsa, S., & Ndungu, E.M. (2021). Predictors of emotional intelligence among academic staff in selected universities in Nairobi County, Kenya. International journal of research and innovation in social sciences 5(8) 2454 – 6186

Omondi, J., Kiruhi, T., Okeyo, W., & Mwikya, J. (2022). Moderated Mediated Effect of External Environment and Strategy Implementation on Relationship between Strategic Leadership and Organisation Performance.

Rathakrishnan, T., Imm, N. & Kok, T. K. (2016). Turnover intentions of lecturers in Private universities in Malaysia. Journal of social sciences and humanities, 24 (5) 129 – 146.

Supriadi & Sefnedi. (2017). On the effect of Emotional Intelligence and Organizational Cynicism on Job Performance: The Role of Motivation as Mediator. IOSR Journal of Business and Management, 19, (3), 101-107.

Taye, G, T. (2021), Leadership practices, staff remuneration, labour demand and technical staff turnover intentions in Kenyan schedule operating passenger airlines (unpublished doctoral thesis) Management University of Africa, Kenya.

Too, E. K., Chepchieng, M, C.& Ochola, J. (2015). Effects of academic staff retention on quality education in private universities in Kenya. Problems of education in the 21st century, 64, 1822 – 7864.

Yamane, T. (1967). Elementary sampling theory. Communications for Statistical Applications and Methods, 16(4), 669-673




How to Cite

Makokha , N. S., Awino, Z. B., & Nyambegera, S. M. (2023). Emotional Intelligence and Turnover Intentions among Teaching Staff in Kenya’s Private Universities. Journal of Human Resource & Leadership, 7(4), 70–90. https://doi.org/10.53819/81018102t2197