Emotional Intelligence – Definition

Cite this article as:"Emotional Intelligence – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated December 1, 2018, last accessed August 7, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/emotional-intelligence-explained/.

Back to: Management & Organizational Behavior

Emotional Intelligence Definition

Emotional intelligence (EI), or Emotional Leadership (EL), refers to an individual’s capability to understand and comprehend their own emotions, emotions and feelings of others, manage emotional information, and manage those emotions to adjust according to the environment for achieving specific goals.

A Little More on What is Emotional Intelligence

The concept of emotional intelligence was first introduced in 1964 by Micheal Beldoch when he published it in a paper. It later on became more prominent and earned popularity when the journalist Daniel Goleman published the concept of emotional intelligence in a book in 1995.

When the term emotional intelligence (EI) is discussed, several concepts come into mind. But empathy is often linked to emotional intelligence (EI), as empathy is the concept that enables one to connect and compare one’s own life experiences with those of others. There are different methods used to measure the range of empathy. Goleman’s model may be considered a mixed model, as it combines both the ability and traits of a person’s emotional intelligence (EI).

The ability model enlists four types of abilities that those Emotional Intelligence have:

  • Perceive emotions – It is the ability to identify one’s own emotions and the ability to identify and detect voice, face and other things.
  • Using emotions – It is the ability to utilize emotions to solve issues and problems.
  • Understanding emotions – It is the ability to understand emotions and interconnection among emotions.
  • Managing emotions – It is the ability to manage emotions. An emotionally intelligent (EI) person can even manage negative emotions.

References for Emotional Intelligence

Academic Research on Emotional Intelligence

●      The relative importance of psychological acceptance and emotional intelligence to workplace well-being, Bond, F. W., & Donaldso-feilder, E. J. (2004). British Journal of Guidance & Counselling32(2), 187-203. This study compares psychological acceptance and emotional intelligence, in terms of their ability to predict various well-being outcomes (i.e. general mental health, physical well-being, and job satisfaction).

●      Emotional intelligence and its relationship to workplace performance outcomes of leadership effectiveness, Rosete, D., & Ciarrochi, J. (2005). Leadership & Organization Development Journal26(5), 388-399. This study seeks to investigate the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI), personality, cognitive intelligence and leadership effectiveness.

●      Emotional intelligence in the workplace: A critical review, Zeidner, M., Matthews, G., & Roberts, R. D. (2004). Applied Psychology53(3), 371-399. This paper critically reviews conceptualisations and empirical evidence in support of emotional intelligence (EI) and its claimed role in the occupational environment. Consideration is given to the purported status of EI in occupational and career assessment (with particular emphasis on personnel selection and placement), job performance, and satisfaction.

●      Emotional intelligence in the workplace: Exploring its effects on occupational stress and organizational commitment, Nikolaou, I., & Tsaousis, I. (2002). The International Journal of Organizational Analysis10(4), 327-342. The purpose of the present study is to explore the relationship between emotional intelligence and sources of occupational stress and outcomes on a sample of professionals in mental health institutions.

●      Applying emotional intelligence in the workplace, Cooper, R. K. (1997). Training & development51(12), 31-39. This paper explains the effect of the different emotional intelligence of individuals in their workplace.

●      Emotional intelligence: Implications for personal, social, academic, and workplace success, Brackett, M. A., Rivers, S. E., & Salovey, P. (2011). Social and Personality Psychology Compass5(1), 88-103. This article presents an overview of the ability model of emotional intelligence and includes a discussion about how and why the concept became useful in both educational and workplace settings.

●      Linking emotional intelligence, spirituality and workplace performance: Definitions, models and ideas for research, Tischler, L., Biberman, J., & McKeage, R. (2002). Journal of managerial psychology17(3), 203-218. This paper explores the impacts of emotional intelligence and spirituality on workplace effectiveness, presents several theoretical models examining possible linkages among these variables, and, finally, presents several ideas for future research deriving from the models.

●      Emotional intelligence in the workplace: Exploring its effects on occupational stress and health outcomes in human service workers, Oginska-Bulik, N. (2005). International journal of occupational medicine and environmental health18(2), 167-175. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between emotional intelligence and perceived stress in the workplace and health-related consequences in human service workers.

●      Connections between emotional intelligence and workplace flourishing, Schutte, N. S., & Loi, N. M. (2014). Personality and Individual Differences66, 134-139. This paper explores the relationship between emotional intelligence and workplace flourishing on the part of employees. Using responses from 319 working adults from Australia and the United States, the paper was able to show that higher emotional intelligence led to better work performance, as well as mental health.

●      Emotional intelligence and emotional leadership., Caruso, D. R., Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (2002). In Kravis-de Roulet Leadership Conference, 9th, Apr, 1999, Claremont McKenna Coll, Claremont, CA, US. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. This paper presents an overview of an ability model of emotional intelligence, and explores the role that emotional intelligence plays in effective leadership.

●      Workplace bullying: Responding with some emotional intelligence, Sheehan, M. (1999). International journal of manpower20(1/2), 57-69. This article outlines some of the signs indicating bullying in the workplace as a problem within contemporary organisations. Moreover, using evidence from recent Australian Court cases, the article mentions some of the costs organisations may be faced with if they fail to address the problem. It further suggests some solutions to countering bullying in the workplace.

●      Examining the relationship between leadership and emotional intelligence in senior level managers, Gardner, L., & Stough, C. (2002). Leadership & organization development journal23(2), 68-78. This study investigates whether emotional intelligence measured by the Swinburne University Emotional Intelligence Test predicted transformational, transactional and laissezfaire leadership styles measured by the multifactor leadership questionnaire in 110 senior level managers.

Was this article helpful?