Emotional Intelligence and Organizational Success

The concept of emotional intelligence has gone unnoticed in the field of educational psychology for a long time, due to the prevalent attention enjoyed by its counterpart, known as cognitive intelligence (Kunnanatt, 2004). Goleman was one of the few psychologists and researchers who paid sufficient attention to emotional intelligence and believed that it should given the same recognition and consideration as cognitive intelligence (Kunnanatt, 2004).

Fortunately, the interest of the psychological community on emotional intelligence has been piqued by suggestions that emotional intelligence could spell the difference between success and failure of a business or any other kind of organization (Kunnanatt, 2004). For example, there are studies that investigate the role of emotional intelligence in the training of sales personnel (Wilson & Farris II, 2002). Studies conducted on the topic gave birth to the growing number of studies relating emotional intelligence with leadership skills and successes (Carmeli, 2003).

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Goleman’s concept of emotional intelligence rejects the popular notion that success is directly proportional to the intelligence quotient of a person (Goleman, 1995). He thus searched for factors that could also explain success in life, aside from the intelligence quotient construct. In this endeavor, Goleman thought of a group of abilities, such as self-control, zeal, persistence, and the ability to motivate oneself, which are capable of being taught to children, and which could equip them with necessary skills to cope with the various challenges in life (Goleman, 1995).

Mandell, B. & Pherwani, S. (2003). Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Transformational Leadership Style: A Gender Comparison. Journal of Business and Psychology, 17(3). In the paper entitled Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Transformational Leadership Style: A Gender Comparison, authors Mandell and Pherwani looked into the predictive relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership style, particularly the gender relationships involved in such relationship in a specific population, namely, managers (Mandell & Pherwani, 2003).

Mandell and Pherwani first observed the existing literature in the study of emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. They noted the lack of adequate treatment of the concept of emotional intelligence in their paper (Mandell & Pherwani, 2003). They likewise observed that there has been a trend towards the search of other theories of intelligence, such as emotional and social intelligences (Mandell & Pherwani, 2003). They also briefly enumerated the various theories developed on emotional intelligence.

Mandell and Pherwani looked at theories of transformational leadership because, like emotional intelligence, the concept has a relation to the characteristics of individuals who found success in life (Mandell & Pherwani, 2003). The authors adopted the definition of transformational leadership formulated by Bass and Avolio in 1994, which states that it is “leadership that occurs when the leader stimulates the interest among colleagues and followers to view their work from a new perspective” (Mandell & Pherwani, 2003).

According to Mandell & Pherwani, theories on transformational leadership initially focused on trait and situational approaches, but they later shifted towards transformational and transactional approaches (Mandell & Pherwani, 2003). Theories on transformational leadership are also similar to theories on emotional intelligence because they focused on the behaviors and characteristics of effective leaders.

For example, Bass proposed that successful transformational leaders are those who possess multiple types of intelligence, such as social and emotional intelligence (Mandell & Pherwani, 2003). Thus, Mandell & Pherwani conducted a study to know whether transformational leadership style is determined by a person’s emotional intelligence. They also sought to understand the effect of gender differences in the relationship between the two concepts. In this effort, the authors conducted a hierarchical regression analysis and performed independent t-tests (Mandell & Pherwani, 2003).

The authors sent letters to volunteering organizations to explain the design and purpose of the study and to seek exemption with regard to employees who would be participating in the research, who consisted of 32 male and female managers or supervisors working in mid-sized to large organizations in the United States (Mandell & Pherwani, 2003). Thereafter, they applied two tests consisting of questionnaires to assess the leadership style and emotional intelligence of the participants.

The individuals’ leadership styles were assessed according to the Multi-Factor Leadership Questionnaire, while their emotional quotients were determined through the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory. These tests consisted of questionnaires and self-rating forms (Mandell ; Pherwani, 2003). After applying the hierarchical regression analysis, the researchers found a significant linear relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership style (Mandell ; Pherwani, 2003). The same kind of analysis, however, yielded no positive finding of a difference in effects based on the gender of the participants.

Nevertheless, the independent t-tests showed substantial difference in the emotional scores of female and male managers and none in transformational leadership scores (Mandell ; Pherwani, 2003). Given these findings, Mandell ; Pherwani concluded that there is a significant relationship between transformational leadership style and emotional intelligence (Mandell ; Pherwani, 2003). Emotional intelligence was found to be predictive of the transformational leadership styles of the managers. The authors thus adopted Goleman’s theory that high emotional intelligence makes a great leader (Mandell ; Pherwani, 2003).

Citing, Goleman, Bass, Burns, and Rose ; Offerman, Mandell ; Pherwani states that the characteristics of empathy, self-awareness, motivation, and self-confidence are common among good transformational leaders (2003). The work of Mandell ; Pherwani provided new information on emotional intelligence, since it established the relationship between the concept and transformational leadership.

This conclusion has particular relevance to business organizations, which could apply relevant tests to determine the potential of a person to be a good transformational leader. Meier, K. J. , Mastracci, S. H. , ; Wilson, K. (2006). Gender and Emotional Labor in Public Organizations: An Empirical Examination. Public Administration Review, 66(6), 899-910. Meier, Mastracci and Wilson’s research was a result of the acknowledgement of the importance of the construct of emotional intelligence in studies of gender in the work environment (2006). In particular, they worked on the theory that emotional labor has a particular role in the workplace, and that women are more likely to contribute emotional labor in an organization (Meier, Mastracci ; Wilson, 2006).

With these basic ideas in mind, the authors sought to understand the long term effects of emotional labor in the workplace (Meier, Mastracci ; Wilson, 2006). The concept of emotional labor, like that of emotional intelligence, has been neglected by researchers for a while. Old theories on organizations focused on the rational side of bureaucracy, carefully keeping close to the impersonal, informal and rational aspects of an organization (Meier, Mastracci ; Wilson, 2006).

However, there existed an alternative set of values that could provide relevant information regarding organizational productivity and client satisfaction (Meier, Mastracci ; Wilson, 2006). Emotional labor refers to “the projection of feelings and emotions needed to gain the cooperation of clients or coworkers, the ability to see another’s side of the issue and integrate that perspective into what the organization does (Meier, Mastracci ; Wilson, 2006). Meier, Mastracci and Wilson’s study focuses on the emotional labor of women.

They claim that while Goleman’s theories on emotional intelligence do not create gender differences, there are studies that overwhelmingly show a certain predisposition on the part of women to provide more emotional labor (Meier, Mastracci ; Wilson, 2006). To support the angle they have taken, the authors cited studies showing this tendency on the part of women in the field of family care responsibilities and police work (Meier, Mastracci ; Wilson, 2006). They also referred to literature of feminist theories on bureaucracy, which support the notion of the gendered nation of emotional labor (Meier, Mastracci ; Wilson, 2006).

The authors found the theories and literature on emotional labor challenging, and they endeavored to determine the relationship between the association of women to emotional labor and the productivity and success of an organization (Meier, Mastracci ; Wilson, 2006). Given the focus of the researchers, they no longer endeavored to provide basis for the theory that women are more likely to provide emotional labor; rather, they took such position as an assumption in order to move forward with the testing of the effect of their assumption in the performance of a bureaucracy (Meier, Mastracci ; Wilson, 2006).

The authors chose district schools as an ideal setting in examining the effect of emotional labor, since it is quite undisputed that teaching in schools has an emotional component (Meier, Mastracci ; Wilson, 2006). Furthermore, the authors are encouraged by the availability of numerous materials for assessment, such as school records and student tests. The study chose emotional labor client satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and organizational performance as the study’s four key theoretical variables.

On the other hand, they identified two sets of control variables, namely, resources and constraints on performance (Meier, Mastracci & Wilson, 2006). The former consists of class size, average teacher salary, and student expenses on education. On the other hand, the latter consists of the percentages of black, Latino and poor students (Meier, Mastracci & Wilson, 2006). Meier, Mastracci and Wilson utilized four measures of organizational outcomes in assessing the effectiveness of various school districts in Texas.

They likewise also looked into the results of a standardized test known as the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills or TAAS, to evaluate student performance (Meier, Mastracci & Wilson, 2006). Analyzing all the available data, the authors were able to detect a positive relationship between the presence of female teachers and student attendance (Meier, Mastracci & Wilson, 2006). They also noted that lower attendance is associated with black and poor students and uncertified teachers (Meier, Mastracci & Wilson, 2006).

Moreover, the authors found that female teachers also have a positive correlation with lower teacher turnover and higher overall organizational performance. Thus, they concluded that “emotional labor contributes to organizational productivity over and above its contribution to employee turnover and client satisfaction (Meier, Mastracci & Wilson, 2006). Aside from this conclusion, however, the authors failed to provide more information.

Nevertheless, their review of literature and suggestions toward the end would prove useful in pointing other researchers to the right direction in choosing their next subjects of studies. The authors provided several unanswered questions that could be subjects of other studies. Thus, even if their study failed to provide answers, they were able to point out fertile areas for research. Furthermore, they provided valuable basis to support a gendered approach at emotional labor.