You are on page 1of 4

Emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) is the capability

of individuals to recognize their own, and other people's emotions, to


discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use
emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage
and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one's
goal(s). Although the term first appeared in a 1964 paper by Michael
Beldoch, it gained popularity in the 1995 book by that title, written by the
author, psychologist, and science journalist Daniel Goleman. Since this
time Goleman's 1995 theory has been criticized within the scientific
community.

Job performance and emotional intelligence


Research of EI and job performance shows mixed results: a positive
relation has been found in some of the studies, while in others there was no
relation or an inconsistent one. This led researchers Cote and Miners
(2006) to offer a compensatory model between EI and IQ, that posits that
the association between EI and job performance becomes more positive as
cognitive intelligence decreases, an idea first proposed in the context of
academic performance (Petrides, Frederickson, & Furnham, 2004). The
results of the former study supported the compensatory model: employees
with low IQ get higher task performance and organizational citizenship
behavior directed at the organization, the higher their EI. It has also been
observed that there is no significant link between emotional intelligence and
work attitude behavior.
A more recent study suggests that EI is not necessarily a universally
positive trait. They found a negative correlation between EI and managerial
work demands; while under low levels of managerial work demands, they
found a negative relationship between EI and teamwork effectiveness. An
explanation for this may suggest gender differences in EI, as women tend
to score higher levels than men. This furthers the idea that job context
plays a role in the relationships between EI, teamwork effectiveness, and
job performance. Another interesting find was discussed in a study that
assessed a possible link between EI and entrepreneurial behaviors and
success.

Although studies between emotional intelligence (EI) and job performance


has shown mixed results of high and low correlations, EI is undeniably
better predictor than most of the hiring methods commonly used in
companies, such as letter of references, cover letter, among others.
Fortunately, more companies are turning to EI tests for recruitment and
training processes. By 2008, 147 companies and consulting firms in U.S
had developed programmes that involved EI for training and hiring
employees. Van Rooy and Viswesvaran (2004) showed that EI correlated
significantly with different domains in performance, ranging from .24 for job
performance to .10 for academic performance. These findings may
contribute organisations in different ways. For instance, employees high on
EI would be more aware of their own emotions and from others, which in
turn, could lead companies to better profits and less unnecessary
expenses. This is especially important for expatriate managers, who have
to deal with mixed emotions and feelings, while adapting to a new working
culture.Moreover, employees high in EI show more confidence in their
roles, which allow them to face demanding tasks positively.
Emotional Intelligence accounted for more career success than
IQ. Similarly, other studies argued that employees high on EI perform
substantially better than employees low in EI. This measured by selfreports and different work performance indicators, such as wages,
promotions and salary increase. According to Lopes an his colleagues
(2006), EI contributes to develop strong and positive relationships with coworkers and perform efficiently in work teams. This benefits performance of
workers by providing emotional support and instrumental resources needed
to succeed in their roles. Also, emotional intelligent employees have better
resources to cope with stressing situations and demanding tasks, which
enable them to outperform in those situations. For instance, Law et al.
(2004) found that EI was the best predictor of job performance beyond
general cognitive ability among IT scientist in computer company in China.
Another study was made with employees from a telecommunication
company in Pakistan. They tested the relationship between job
performance and the four components of EI: self-awareness, selfmanagement, social awareness and relationship management. They found
that job performance was positively associated with relationship
management and social awareness; and no significant association with
self-awareness and self-management.]Similarly, Sy, Tram, and OHara
(2006) found that EI was associated positively with job performance in
employees from a food service company.

In the job performance emotional intelligence correlation is important to


consider the effects of managing up, which refers to the good and positive
relationship between the employee and his/her supervisor. Previous
research found that quality of this relationship could interfere in the results
of the subjective rating of job performance evaluation.Emotional intelligent
employees devote more of their working time on managing their
relationship with supervisors. Hence, the likelihood of obtaining better
results on performance evaluation is greater for employees high in EI than
for employees with low EI. Based on theoretical and methodological
approaches, EI measures are categorized in three main streams: (1)
stream 1: ability-based measures (e.g. MSCEIT), (2) stream 2: self-reports
of abilities measures (e.g. SREIT, SUEIT and WLEIS) and (3) stream 3:
mixed-models (e.g. AES, ECI, EI questionnaire, EIS, EQ-I and GENOS),
which include measures of EI and traditional social skills. OBoyle Jr. an his
colleagues (2011) found that the three EI streams together had a positive
correlation of 0.28 with job performance. Similarly, each of EI streams
independently obtained a positive correlation of 0.24, 0.30 and 0.28,
respectively. Stream 2 and 3 showed an incremental validity for predicting
job performance over and above personality (Five Factor model)
and general cognitive ability. Both, stream 2 and 3 were the second most
important predictor of job performance below general cognitive
ability. Stream 2 explained 13.6% of the total variance; whereas stream 3,
explained 13.2%. In order to examine the reliability of these findings, a
publication bias analysis was developed. Results indicated that studies on
EI-job performance correlation prior to 2010 do not present substantial
evidences to suggest the presence of publication bias.
Despite the validity of previous findings, some researchers still question
whether EI job performance correlation makes a real impact on business
strategies. They argue that popularity of emotional intelligences studies is
due to media advertising, rather than objective scientific findings. Also, it is
mentioned that relationship between job performance and EI is not as
strong as suggested. This relationship requires the presence of other
constructs to rise important outcomes. For instance, previous studies found
that EI is positively associated with teamwork effectiveness under job
contexts of high managerial work demands, which improves job
performance. This is due to activation of strong emotions during
performance on this job context. In this scenario, emotional intelligent
individuals show a better set of resources to succeed on their roles.
However, individuals with high EI show a similar level of performance than

non-emotional intelligent employees under different job contexts. Moreover,


Joseph and Newman (2010)suggested that emotional perception and
emotional regulation components of EI highly contribute to job performance
under job contexts of high emotional demands. Moon and Hur (2011) found
that emotional exhaustion (burn-out) significantly influences the job
performance EI relationship. Emotional exhaustion showed a negative
association with two components of EI (optimism and social skills). This
association impacted negatively to job performance, as well. Hence, job
performance EI relationship is stronger under contexts of high emotional
exhaustion or burn-out; in other words, employees with high levels of
optimism and social skills possess better resources to outperform when
facing high emotional exhaustion contexts.