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The application of emotional intelligence in the workplace is one of the most researched areas concerning the importance of application of emotional intelligence. Since the importance of EI first came into limelight in 1995, the construct of EI has gained stimulus in the applied and academic settings. Several programs have been designed and implemented to improve the EI of organizational leaders, while Universities throughout the U.S. have introduced courses in developing emotional intelligence (Mayer , Salovey,& Brackett, 2004, 45). However, many researchers have suggested that there is still need for more research to be done on this controversial topic. This research seeks to find out how the absorption of emotional intelligence affected the workplace in the recent years.  Throughout this section, the researcher reviews works done by other researchers in the past. This will aid the researcher to get a good foundation of information on the effects of emotional intelligence in the workplace in the recent years.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a term that was first used by Wayne Payne in his Doctoral thesis in 1985. The development of emotional intelligence was, in fact, started by Darwin’s work on survival where the second adaptation stressed on the significance of emotional expression. It is only in the 1900s that researchers began to realize the crucial roles of emotions in determining an individual’s intelligence (Goleman 1998, ).

What is really called emotional intelligence? There are many interpretations of this term and different researchers have come up with different definitions of it. The first description of the term, attributed to Peter and John Mayer, was developed in 1990. It defines emotional intelligence as “the capacity to reason about emotions, and emotions to enhance thinking, which includes the ability to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist, thought, in understanding emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth”(Mayer and Salovey, 1990; as quoted in 2004, 31). Daniel Goleman developed the idea in his book called Emotional Intelligence in 1995. Goleman (2001) defines it as the ability of one to recognize and regulate emotions in him or her and others. Today, the definition of EI has seen development into a more specific and complicated explanation, depending on the situational needs.

EI Models

To understand it, various people have developed different approaches together with theoretical models. One of them is Goleman’s who focused on four basic competencies namely: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skills. He argued that these competencies have an influence on the way people will handle themselves and relate to others (Goleman, 1998 p.24). Peter Salovey and John Meyer (2004, 31) perceive emotional intelligence as a cognitive ability, a form of pure intelligence. Reuven Bar-On regards EI as mixed intelligence that consists of personality aspects and cognitive ability.


Advanced EI is beneficial in many areas of life. However, the usefulness associated with its application is mostly documented in the area of professional workplace. According to Cherniss (2000), the workplace would be considered as a logical setting for the evaluation and improvement of emotional intelligence competencies for the following four reasons. First, EI competencies are vital for one to succeed in most jobs. Secondly, most of the adults join the workforce without the competencies essential to excel or succeed in a job. Thirdly, employers have already established motivation and means for providing the emotional intelligence training, and majority of the adults tend to spend most of their active hours at work. In the workplace setting, researchers have related emotional intelligence to increased success among employees of the same hierarchy level, for instance, senior managers. A strong importance of how emotional intelligence application, is crucial to separate the people involved into both the leaders or managers and the group members (Cherniss, 2000). In this section, the researcher discusses the impact of Emotional Intelligence on both the leaders and the group members.


The impact of emotional intelligence has been discussed in an aggressive manner since it was publicly introduced in 1995. Leadership is one of the highly ranked areas. Leadership is a crucial skill not only in everyday life but also in every organization. The literature on leadership has come up with countless theories outlining the characteristics that compose the most effective leaders. However, the current academic research in this area describes the two distinct types of leaders: transactional and transformational leaders. “The transformational leader stimulates interest among colleagues, inspires a different outlook on the work, generates awareness of the goals of the organization, develops others to higher levels of ability and motivates others to consider the interests of the group over their own interests” (Goleman, 2004). In the same line, transformation leadership is comprised of the following dimensions: inspirational motivation, idealized influence, individual consideration and intellectual stimulation. The transactional leader, alternatively, is one who rewards staff according to their performance. He emphasizes task completion, work standards and employee compliance and relies heavily on the organizational rewards and punishments for influencing employee performance(Fatima, A., Imran, R., & Awan, 2011, pp 1734-1743).

The employees

As seen above, EI has a significant effect on leadership in the workplace performance. Similarly, it is expected that the quality of emotional intelligence among group members results in poor synchronization, which directly affects the work performance. However, the impact of emotional intelligence on group members has not been discussed yet. It creates a gap for further research. According to Deutschendorf (2009, p.14), when employers are required to assess the top skills, they look up to prospective employees. People’s skills are always at the top of their list. Employees can be taught technical skills, but changing someone’s people-relationship skills or attitude is much more difficult. Today, businesses face huge challenges. Statistics and studies show that there are many companies that are far from the ideal workplace. About forty percent of employee turnover is stress related and millions are leaving their jobs for reasons linked to stress. A survey completed by the Yale School of Management found that 24% of the already working population admitted that they are chronically angry at work (Deutschendorf, 2009, 14). Goleman (1998, 14) in his study revealed that the results he got from a survey of U.S. employers showed that the employers struggle to get the right kind of employees. His study showed that 40% of employees depicted trouble relating with others and those that possessed the right discipline and work habit required for entry-level jobs were less than 20 percent.

Gender disparity

The issue of gender differences in the Emotional Intelligence draws controversy as such differences can currently be discovered or fail to, depending on the method used, either performance measures or self-report. Self-report or scale measures is the information provided by the subject about the perception he or she has on his or her own EI or others by responding to  set of questions through which someone estimates his or her levels of specific emotional skills. While some researches have found women to be more emotionally intelligent than men, other studies find a non-significant difference between the two. Performance measures or ability tests are traditionally cognitive intelligence or performance tests that subjects are given specific tasks to solve and then their response is compared to a pre set score criteria (Fatima 2011). Studies using self-report were very disparate. In some cases, there is no significant difference found among self-reported men and women. A research done by Fatima, Imran and Awan (2011, 1734-1743), found that there was no significant difference in the EI scores of male and female managers in the Pakistan hotel industry. Goleman (2004) found no significant disparity between men and women’s EI. In others, women emerge better while the opposite happens at other times. When performance indicators are used, such as Multifactor Intelligence Scale, clear differences are seen with women predominant when compared to men (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2002).In this regard, more research is essential.


Goleman (2004 p.88) defines motivation as “a passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status; a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.” In other words, motivation is one’s ability to remain optimistic and continue striving even when faced with barriers, setbacks and failure. Motivated persons display key indicators such as optimism even when it seems like they are about to fail, a strong drive to achieve and organizational commitment (Goleman, 2004). Salovey and Meyer mentioned motivation as part of emotional intelligence, but did not include it in 1997 presentation of their 4 branch model of emotional intelligence. On the other hand, Dan Goleman found a connection between motivation and EI. Goleman implies that someone with a high level of emotional intelligence has a higher motivation

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