Emotional Intelligence in the Occupational Settings: A Literature-Based Analysis of the Concept and Its Measurement

Article excerpt

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is an increasingly popular consulting tool. According to popular opinion and workplace testimonials, El increases performance and productivity in an occupational setting. However, there has been a general lack of independent, systematic analysis substantiating that claim. This article provides a critical review of the research field of EI and examines the usefulness of the construct in the occupational settings. A description of the three prominent models of EI and the measures used to assess each are outlined to facilitate a more thorough understanding of the concept. It also summarized the evidence linking EI to workplace performance. Overall, this review demonstrates that recent research has made important strides towards understanding the usefulness of EI in the workplace. It concludes by providing a number of practical guidelines for the development and implementation of EI measures within occupational settings.


The area of emotion has captured the imagination of researchers and a growing number of publications now deal with the researching of emotion in organizations. Research has demonstrated that emotion plays a key role in organizational life. It also demonstrated that an understanding of emotion, both our own and those of other people, plays an important part in organizational life, as how we communicate, and how we motivate others to do what we want. Despite the prevailing view of organization action and activities being based on rationality, logic and systems, it is obvious that work is an arena in which experience such as pleasure, sadness, jealousy, rage, guilt and bye are experienced and displayed to the same yarying leyels of intensity and frequency as elsewhere in our everyday Hfe Indeedi the HR perspective acknowledges that people work not only for money) but also for the social and emotional benefits that working with others provide. Emotional Intelligence (£1) also connects with several cuttingedge areas of psychological science, including the neuroscience of emotion, self-regulation theory, studies of metacognition and the search for human cognitive abilities beyond 'traditional' academic intelligence.

Since the publication of the best selling book Emotional Intelligence by Goleman (1995), the topic of EI has witnessed widespread interest. The popularity of the topic has led to a range of predominantly popular books and articles examining its applications and its development in the context both of individuals and of corporations. Corporate interest appears to be sttongly related to the continuing search for a way of securing sustainable competitive advantage which can be developed through attention to 'people issues' (Higgs, 1997). The concept of EI is stated to be based on extensive scientific and research evidence e.g. (Cooper, 1997; Cooper and Sawaf, 1997; and Goleman, 1998). However, little research has been conducted in an organizational context and existing research has been largely drawn from physiological research developments, educational-based research and developments in the therapy field e.g., (Goleman 1996; and Steiner 1997).

This papet aims to review the research field of EI to examine its usefulness in occupational settings. A description of the three prominent models of EI and the measures used to assess each are outlined to facilitate a more thorough understanding of the concept. Throughout, an attempt is made to bring to the reader's attention to the scant, and sometimes highly controversial, empirical evidence used to support the importance of EI in the workplace. This approach naturally indicates avenues that future research might probably explore. The paper concludes by presenting some practical guidelines for the development of EI measures for occupational selection purposes.


In the recent years, there has been considerable and growing interest in the concept of EI. …


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