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The concept of emotional intelligence: A critical analysis

Paper outline

Overview of the concept of emotional intelligence in management

The relevance of emotional intelligence in organisational management

Emotional intelligence and organisational performance
Emotional intelligence and employee retention
Emotional intelligence and sustenance of relationships in group tasks

Gender as a barrier to emotional intelligence in shaping organisational behaviour
Evaluation of literature backing and literature negating emotional intelligence


The concept of emotional intelligence: A critical analysis
Organisational behaviour is an important concept as it helps in understanding aspects that have an effect on the working of organisations. Organisational behaviour entails the understanding of behaviour of people who are the most important assets in organisations. Understanding people and their actions is critical to the management of organisations and it helps shape the behaviour of people thence their performance. Organisational behaviour and more the behaviour of individuals can be best understood through the adoption and practice of emotional intelligence in organisations (Krishnakumar, 2008). Emotional intelligence has become an important concept of managing the behaviour of employees in organisations amidst this modern era of management where organisations face numerous challenges. Emotional intelligence is a way of understanding and controlling employee behaviour thus enhancing performance. This paper critically discuses the concept of emotional intelligence in organisations. The paper analyses the concept and its relevance to management. The paper also argues about the benefits or essence of withholding this managerial practice in organisations. In addition, the paper looks at the arguments that are against this concept and their justifications.
Overview of the concept of emotional intelligence in management
Krishnakumar (2008) noted that emotional intelligence is a recent concept to be directly applied in management. Nonetheless, this concept is not very new, as it has been applied in behavioural sciences such as psychology during the study of human emotions. Emotional intelligence began gaining prominence among organisations in the early years of the 20th century where organisational development was critical in transforming economies. Organisations have discovered that emotional inclinations of their employees, which are generated at the workplace and out of the workplace, have a big influence on the input of employees. In turn, this affects the output of organisations. Therefore, organisational behaviour has coded this concept and included it in management. This is because of the many generative factors of emotions that prevail in external and internal environment of organisations.
Emotional intelligence aims at understanding organisational employees from two important perspectives. This includes the organisational perspective, which is also the internal perspective, and the external perspective that includes the home environment and the general society in which the employees reside (Ghuman, 2011). This is supported by the argument in social psychology that behaviours are highly influenced by the environment of an individual. This understanding gives organisational leaders a chance to predict behaviours and actions of employees. Thus, organisations have an easy time to control the behaviour of employees by launching programs that help in attending to the emotional needs of employees. Emotional intelligence has to resonate from the management of organisation and entail the training of the organisational managers on how to manage emotions within the organisation. Organisational leaders then set and roll emotional intelligence programs to help employees in the organisation (Krishnakumar, 2008).
The relevance of emotional intelligence in organisational management
Goleman (1998) observed that emotional intelligence has huge implications for organisational leadership and management. Researches on the effectiveness of organisational management have come up with findings establishing that organisational managers have a huge impact on entire organisational working (Jordan and Troth, 2011). Management skills of managers are important since managers carry organisational visions and missions as portrayed in organisational strategies. Emotional intelligence is among the notable skills that are needed by organisational managers. Emotional intelligence is one of the main qualities of organisational leaders since they are required to propel organisations through different situations. The concept of emotional intelligence in organisational behaviours resonates from this point. Emotional intelligence has been an ongoing practice in organisational management. It begins with organisational leadership and trickles down to organisational staffs. It is something that cannot be ignored at all in organisations since organisational leadership is itself moulded by emotional intelligence (Carmeli, 2003).
Krishnakumar (2008) observed that emotional intelligence brings about cohesiveness in creating the strategies of organisations by organisational leaders. Acceptance of varied opinions and agreeing on many issues in organisations all denote emotional intelligence (Carmeli, 2003). Emotional intelligence is seen as a tool that encourages the development of positive behaviours and attitudes on organisational tasks that encourage growth and development in organisations. Emotional intelligence directly or indirectly affects the abilities and personal traits of organisational leaders and their subordinates. When looked at from the outset, emotional intelligence is a competency that guides the development of positive attitudes amongst organisational members. In addition, better behaviours that prevail in the organisation are largely shaped by this competency (George, 2000).
Emotional intelligence and organisational performance
When it is fully captured in organisations, emotional intelligence raises the productivity of employees in different ways. It boosts interpersonal relations in organisations by helping employees to understand how to control their emotions, as well as the emotions of other employees within the organisation. This works well for employees who work on dependent tasks in different organisations and organisational sectors where the behaviour of a single employee has an elusive impact on the entire sector (Thi and Kirby, 2002). The implementation of emotional intelligence in organisational behaviours equips employees with skills that help them in distinguishing and pacification of their own feelings and feelings of others. Therefore, positive work relations are easily developed in organisations because of the continued use and enforcement of emotional intelligence (Sahdat, Sajjad, Farooq and Ur Rehman, 2011). With emotional intelligence, employees become quite diversified in the sense they develop quick adaptability to diverse organisational environments. This is helpful because of the dynamic nature of organisations due to organisational change and other external and internal pressures (Rahim, and Malik, 2010).
The pressures that are generated from these forces bring about stress amongst organisational members. When organisational members become increasingly stressed, they lose track in the performance of their respective tasks within organisations thus lowering productivity. Emotional intelligence has increased the rate and the ability of organisational members to adapt to stressful conditions common in organisations (Goleman, 1998).
O’Boyle, Humphrey, Pollack, Hawver and Story (2011) observed that emotional intelligence is a comprehensive management exercise that has to be implemented on a continuous or sustainable basis. Thus, organisational sustainability requires the implementation of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence entails the ability of managers to control their emotions. It also entails the detection and control of the emotions of employees. In addition, it assists in chanting a good course of action. Emotional intelligence is dependent on many other actions in the organisations, which determine its worthiness. This process includes the desire of an organisation to embrace change, self-reflection of organisational managers and staffs, and the willingness to understand the feelings of other people. Other steps in the process are the development of emotional control and the urge to learn in order to understand emotions. Emotional intelligence is thus not an easy practice to achieve in management. It bases on the wish and the entire process can be derailed by emotions (Goleman, 1998).
In some scenarios, emotional intelligence fails to auger well with organisational management. This often happens in small and immature organisations. In such organisations, using emotional intelligence tactics can be mistaken and result to serious drifts that threaten the existence of organisations. Emotional intelligence is misconceived in such organisations thus barring its workability (Goleman, 1998). In addition, emotions cannot be easily quantified and can be manipulated in different ways by individuals in organisations. In this case, organisational leaders have trouble while implementing emotional intelligence within organisations (Jordan and Troth, 2011).
Emotional intelligence and employee retention
As earlier noted, the employees are argued to be one of the most vital assets in organisations. They are the propellers and controllers of organisational activities. Performance in organisations squarely lies with organisational employees. Therefore, there is a need to understand employees should be a priority for organisational managers. Understanding employees entail the understanding of their behaviours and the motivators of such behaviours thus the relevance of emotional intelligence (Côté and Miners, 2006). Research shows that organisations that have embraced emotional intelligence in their management often record positive outcomes. Such organisations are also argued to reduce the rate of employee turnover in organisations. They are able to attract and retain talents and skills thence the performance of organisations are enhanced (Jordan and Troth, 2011). Employees feel good when they know that the managers are listening to them and specifically when they feel that their emotional needs are being addressed (Griffeth, Hom and Gaertner, 2000).
Emotional intelligence and sustenance of relationships in-group tasks
Relationships in organisations are becoming vital because of increased integration of organisational functions. However, building and sustaining work relationships is not an easy exercise because of human behaviours. Organisational inventions and innovations are used in increasing the competitiveness of organisations in economies. Therefore, organisational leaders are forced to establish and ensure that they have established working teams in organisations (O’Boyle, Humphrey, Pollack, Hawver and Story, 2011). Groups work best depending on the physical and emotional orientation of group members. Managing these groups involves managing the emotions of members that form these groups so that cohesiveness is attained for enhanced group outcomes (Jordan, Ashkanasy, Ha¨rtel and Hooper, 2002). According to Rapisarda (2002), group relationships in organisational projects are sustained by virtue of applying emotional intelligence within the group and project management in organisations. Emotional intelligence promotes the existence and survival of teams or groups in organisations by encouraging what is known as pro social tendencies in groups.
Emotional intelligence enables group members to cope with the personal characters and behaviour of individual members in groups enabling group members to work together (Rapisarda, 2002). Emotional intelligence also encourages interpersonal sensitivity in-group tasks. Organisational members become responsive and receptive to differing opinions and behaviours. All these aspects of emotional intelligence have been found to favour organisational effectiveness thus leading to positive organisational outcomes. Apart from individual projects, teams, groups or organisational members perform many organisational tasks. The aspect of integration in organisations can hardly be attained without leaning through emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is thus a big factor in team performance within organisations. Therefore, organisational leaders have to factor this aspect in organisational leadership. This is meant to form positive outcomes in-group tasks within organisations (Lopes, Salovey, Coˆte´ and Beers, 2005).
Gender as a barrier to emotional intelligence in shaping organisational behaviour
Hsu, Chen, Wang, and Lin (2010) observed that organisations are becoming engendered. Many organisations are working on modalities of balancing gender rations in organisations because of laws governing gender. As of today, the number or women in organisations is increasing steadily. This is regarded to be a positive sign to gender inclined management that is encouraged by many organisations. However, this bars the practice of emotional intelligence in organisations (Hsu, Chen, Wang, and Lin, 2010). From psychology, it is observed that the needs of men and women vary and shape the behaviours of both genders. It is easy to achieve a common ground on issues resonating from a problem of a given gender is that is the main gender in organisations. With the variations of needs in organisations resulting from the diverse behaviours and needs of different genders in the organisation, the applicability of emotional intelligence becomes a misnomer. However, it remains debatable, as experts in organisational behaviour have devised more models of applying emotional intelligence in such setups (Lewis, 2000).
Evaluation of literature backing and literature negating emotional intelligence
Arguments that back the concept of emotional intelligence observe it from the outset and are backed by the benefits of the concept as it is applied to organizational performance. Many people support the application of emotional intelligence by arguing that it shapes the behaviour of people in organizations thereby enhancing positive behaviours and performance. On the other hand, the literature that negates the concept base on the difficulties in applicability and workability of the concept. Critics of emotional intelligence in organizational behaviour bas on psychology to explain the difficulties of controlling emotions amidst many challenges like gender parities. However, opponents of the concept do not gain substantive arguments to dismiss it as it has gained wide acceptance and usage in organizational management.
Emotional intelligence remains to be an important concept and component of organisational leadership and management as has been found in the paper. Emotional intelligence helps in positive shaping of behaviours of both organisational leaders and subordinates. This enhances positive relations thus a healthy organisation leading to positive performance. Issues of applicability in different organisational setups mainly affect emotional intelligence.


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