The Impacts of Emotional Intelligence on Organizational Success Introduction The emotional intelligence

The Impacts of Emotional Intelligence on Organizational Success
The emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) theory started to gain traction after Daniel Goleman published a book titled Emotional Intelligence – why it can matter more than IQ (1995). Following up his best-selling book, Goleman publishes an article in the Harvard Business Review in which, he determines that all effective leaders share the same quality: emotional intelligence. Goleman explains that leaders who exhibit emotional intelligence in the workplace have the ability to influence collaborators to accomplish company goals (1998).
When the senior management of Johnson & Johnson’s Consumer Companies (JJCC) caught wind of the theory, they decided to investigate further. JJCC wanted to know if high performing leaders at JJCC exhibited the competencies identified by Goleman and other EI theorists. JJCC’s study did reveal a strong relationship between EI competencies and high performing leaders. Based on findings from their study, JJCC went on to modify their own selection and performance management practices to include EI competencies that were previously ignored (Emotional Competence, 2001).
History of EI
Current environment
Fast-forward twenty odd years of research studies on EI, and even though EI is now a common competence required for most executive positions, the use of EI as a management best practice is not widespread. In fact, many CEO’s of the best performing companies are known to have poor soft skills and to not exhibit emotional intelligence competencies (i.e. Mark Zuckerberg). Moreover, it is still unclear what EI actually is and how it can be measured. Difficulties in measuring and disassociating EQ from IQ made theories difficult to adopt (find citation and develop). The theory of emotional intelligence (EI) has been “characterized by widely differing definitions and measurement approaches”(Walter, Cole, & Humphrey, 2011, p. 46). Indeed, the establishment of three different models of the EI theory along with different measurement tools for each one, evidently complicates its widespread adoption.
For the purpose of this research study, all models of emotional intelligence are considered (delve into different models of EI and explain them).
Emotional intelligence as a skill
(show link between emotional intelligence as a “skill” and performance).
Emotional intelligence as a skill rather than a moral quality can then be used by managers as an instrument to drive performance in employees.
To delve into subject, let’s first define emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence
In 1990, Salovey & Mayer defined emotional intelligence as follows: “we define emotional intelligence as the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” According to this definition, managers can certainly use their EI competencies to positively impact performance.
Emotional intelligence and performance
Regardless of its nature, EI can be extremely valuable to managers to positively impact performance. EI can help managers to elevate both their employees’ and their organization’s performance. According to Rosete and Ciarrochi, higher EI is strongly correlated to higher workplace performance outcomes of leadership effectiveness (2005). Furthermore, a study by Wong & Law suggests that higher EI amongst followers results in increased overall job satisfaction and job performance (2005). The same study suggests that higher EI amongst leaders positively affects their own job satisfaction and extra-role behavior (Wong & Law, 2005). These results are particularly interesting because they associate job performance to organizational citizenship attributes such as job satisfaction and even extra-role behavior.
What makes for organizational performance? (interpersonal trust between co-workers)
Even though interpersonal trust is not often listed as an organizational goal, McGregor’s Theory Y – referring to Maslow’s need for self-actualization – suggests that effective management strategies must support the development of trust. In fact, interpersonal trust is recognized as an attribute to organizational citizenship that influences performance levels positively (Paul & McDaniel Jr, 2004).
Impact of emotional intelligence on performance in the short-term
EI can influence organizational success (Mount, 2006). Nonetheless, organizational success indicators can be time-bound. As a result, to truly affect organizational success, managers need to be able to use EI to increase performance in the short-term. By establishing highly-motivational working environments, managers can stimulate short-term organizational success (Isaac, Zerbe, & Pitt, 2001). Motivating employees to assume leadership roles can benefit short-term performance (Isaac, Zerbe, & Pitt, 2001). The effective application of this model, namely Vroom’s expectancy theory (1964), transcends the general leader-follower stigma – redistributing leadership at all levels of an organization. Effective leaders can use EI to influence followers in adopting such theory.
Impact of emotional intelligence on performance in the long-term
According to Rezvani, Barrett, and Khosravi, the effective use of EI increases team performance and can also increase trust and reduce conflict in a team (2019). Interpersonal trust among co-workers is crucial to organizational performance. Indeed, to achieve organizational goals, co-workers must believe in each other’s intentions and abilities to effectively communicate and complete tasks (Geller, 1999).
Emotional intelligence as a counterproductive skill
EI can be a powerful skill in positively impacting performance. However, EI’s impact on performance is dependent of other variables such as organizational citizenship attributes previously discussed. In fact, EI is not always positively correlated to job performance. As per Farh, Seo, & Tesluk’s findings, emotional intelligence is negatively correlated to job performance under low managerial work demands due to its negative relationship with teamwork effectiveness (2012). These findings can begin to explain why EI has not been adopted by all organizations.
Performance management (reality check//findings from this research cannot be too important)
Many models are available for managers to achieve organizational performance. In fact, performance is not bound to a specific model. Instead, some models suggest that performance is the direct result of business strategy and operations. The goal setting theory by Locke, Shaw, Saari, & Latham indicates that goals can affect performance by directing attention, mobilizing effort, increasing persistence, and motivating strategy development (1981). Setting specific and challenging goals is linked to higher performance in 90% of studies (Locke, 1981). In the studies, subjects were assigned tasks, which ideally emulates the general leader – follower relationship. And, even though, the experimenters or managers were supportive, no other use of emotional intelligence traits were exhibited. Feedback was given to subjects, but only if it was related to goal attainment. According to Mayfield & Mayfield, constructive workplace performance feedback must follow an organizational strategy and serve a learning and development purposes to be considered best practice (2012). Since this holistic learning for organizational development, requires human resources with EI knowledge, it may not serve all organizations and even be counterproductive.
EI in ethical decision-making
EI can be found to have counterproductive consequences in situations where attributes or skills external to the core EI traits are required. For example, the lack of long-term perspective can negatively impact performance. The application of the aforementioned expectancy model can lead organizations to unethical practices due to the increased need for self-esteem over time (Fudge & Schlacter, 1999). By empowering employees with leadership responsibilities, decision-making abilities become goal oriented and fail to consider moral values even if employees’ intentions come from a healthy place (Fudge & Schlacter, 1999). As a result, long-term performance can suffer from such behavior.
The dark side of EI
If EI is used as a skill in the manager – employee relationship to stimulate performance in the short-term, can the theory negatively impact performance in the long-term?
A growing body of research is finding particular situations where higher levels of EI facilitate the development of negative personality traits and behaviors (Davis & Nichols, 2016). Not only do higher levels of EI reflect negatively in interpersonal relationships, but it also has negative repercussions on intrapersonal variables such as mental health (Davis & Nichols, 2016). But how does it all relate to management?
The dark side of EI from a managerial perspective
Individuals with high EI can use it as a skill to advance their own interest, even if it is at the expense of others (Kilduff & Menges, 2010). In observing the leader – follower relationship that exists in the manager – employee relationship, emotional intelligence in managers promotes interpersonal deviance through Machiavellianism (Côté, DeCelles, McCarthy, Van Kleef, & Hideg, 2011). Managers with high emotion-regulation knowledge showed strong association with Machiavellianism in the workplace, which can induce manipulative behavior or even bullying. According to Ashraf and Khan, managers with higher EI have little to no limitations in abusing employees with high EI because the latter can use said skill to mediate the negative impacts of bullying on performance (2014). In order to have a better understanding of the interpersonal deviance in the workplace construct, empirical research is necessary. Do all managers with higher EI abuse of the skill and to what extent?
Empirical research and apprehended results
As part of the empirical research, interviews were be conducted to study situations where managers used EI to stimulate short-term performance, which in turn deteriorated trust and job satisfaction and overall organizational citizenship amongst employees. Interviews were conducted on employees of large international banks. The banking sector is highly competitive – resulting in a high turnover in employees. Bankers often move from one organization to another, which makes it difficult for organizational citizenship to be sustained. It is then suspected to encounter situations where EI is used as a skill by managers to advance their own personal agenda over the organization’s.
The subjects interviewed in this study are all employees of large international banks and have between 1 and 5 years of professional experience. Subjects discuss relationships with managers
Interviews are expected to demonstrate a deterioration in the relationships between managers and employees over time. Interviews are also expected to give insights into the following questions:
Are positive relationships between managers and employees simply due to managers being effective leaders working to fulfill organizational needs?
Are positive relationships between managers and employees due to managers looking to gain advantages in performance for their own personal agenda?
Are negative relationships between managers and employees due to managers being completely detached from organizational citizenship?
Are negative relationships between managers and employees due to managers not being effective leaders?
Over time, do employees cover up abuse from managers? Do managers know and feel protected from the environment they are in?
Do employees experienced trauma?
Could EI then not only affect long term performance of employees for that organization but for future organizations and future job roles also?
Through this qualitative method, results are expected to enable the drawing of conclusions indicating that managers in large multinational organizations deliberately use EI as a skill for needs of achievement and self-esteem, and therefore placing selfish needs before organizational needs. Results are also going to indicate that through working with managers with high EI, some employees build a resistance to organizational citizenship.
The dark side of EI linked to results from empirical research
The link between EI and emotional trauma in the manager-employee relationship
Recommendations 1 (conclusion of empirical research)
Recommendations 2 (conclusion)
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