Academic journal article Business Renaissance Quarterly

The Need for the Integration of Emotional Intelligence Skills in Business Education

Academic journal article Business Renaissance Quarterly

The Need for the Integration of Emotional Intelligence Skills in Business Education

Article excerpt

Abstract

Since the concept of 'emotional intelligence' (El) was first introduced, it has been developed, adapted and embraced by the business world and more recently, by academics. El skills have been strongly associated with dynamic leadership, satisfying personal life experiences and success in the workplace. This has resulted in calls for the incorporation of El competencies in university curricula. This paper highlights the importance of El and demonstrates the recognized need for well-developed El levels in the workplace, and in particular for accountants. It outlines recent research studying emotional intelligence in relation to university students, and concludes with a call for university educators to integrate El skills in their courses.

Introduction

Since the term 'emotional intelligence' (El) was first coined by Salovey and Mayer in 1990, it has been developed, adapted and embraced by the business world and also by many educators. El skills have been strongly associated with both dynamic leadership (Emmerling and Goleman 2005; Goleman 1998a, 2000; Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee 2002; Kerr, Garvin, Heaton, and Boyle 2006; Rosete and Ciarrochi 2005) and satisfying personal life experiences (Goleman 1995; Marques 2006; Wing, Schutte and Byrne 2006). In addition, El has been recognized as important for success in the workplace (Goleman 1998b; Kirch, Tucker and Kirch 2001 ; Rozell, Pettijohn and Parker 2002) which has resulted in calls for the incorporation of El skills in university curricula (Chia 2005; Holt and Jones 2005; Low and Nelson 2005). However, the research that has been produced by academics in relation to El has focused on its measurement rather than its incorporation into university and college courses. Thus, the purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it aims to draw attention to this anomaly by highlighting the importance of El as recognized by business, particularly by the accounting profession, and the limited business education literature in the area. secondly, it is hoped that business educators, and in particular, those involved in teaching accountants, will promote El skills in their courses, or alternatively, share with the wider academic community what they are already doing to promulgate these skills by publishing in the area.

This paper begins by providing a brief history of El in relation to business and the researchers who have contributed to the field. The second section demonstrates the recognized need for emotional intelligence in the workplace, and in particular for accountants. Following this, attention is drawn to the literature investigating El and its relationship to education. The final section highlights the large number of studies measuring El as opposed to the limited papers published in relation to El skills in university courses, and urges business academics to do more to follow the recommendations of the professional bodies and incorporate El into their curricula.

A brief history of Emotional Intelligence

The concept of 'emotional intelligence' was first described as a form of social intelligence 'that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions' (Salovey and Mayer 1990, p. 189). Salovey and Mayer recognized the connection between two underlying components of personality, cognition and emotion. This relatively narrow definition of El, as the ability to understand how others' emotions work and to control one's own emotions, was widened by Goleman to include such competencies as optimism, conscientiousness, motivation, empathy and social competence (Goleman 1995, 1998b).

In two articles in the Harvard Business Review, Goleman extended the concept of El to the business world. First, from his research concerning almost 200 large, global companies, he reported that 'truly effective leaders are distinguished by high degree of emotional intelligence' (Goleman 1998a, p. …

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