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An Examination of the Relationship Between Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Practices

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TITLE: An Examination of the Relationship Between Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Practices
 
RESEARCHER: Barbara A. Alston
School of Business and Entrepreneurship
Nova Southeastern University
Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation: April 2009

OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this research is to examine the relationship of emotional intelligence to leadership amongst human resource professionals.

METHODOLOGY
The sample population included 225 professionals in human resources from a Fortune 500 corporation, of which 147 participated (65% response rate). Respondents completed the Leadership Practices Inventory, the Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence Test (Schutte et al., 1998), and provided demographic information. The typical respondent was female (60%), between the ages of 26 and 45 years (70%), with “Some College” and “Bachelor’s Degree” educational levels (82%), and between 3 to 15 years of leadership experience (62%). Exploratory factor analysis failed to yield five leadership dimensions on the LPI so the items were incorporated into a single leadership scale (Cronbach alpha = 0.92).

KEY FINDINGS
All four emotional intelligence dimensions were significantly and positively correlated with leadership (ranging from 0.24 to 0.34). Regression analysis reveals that about 25 percent of the variation in leadership practices is explained by variations in the emotional intelligence dimensions and the demographic variables. Only one of the emotional intelligence factors, the appraisal of emotion in self or others, was significantly related to leadership and only one demographic variable, years of supervision, was significantly related to leadership. The author concludes: “The results of this study suggest that emotional intelligence has a significant effect on leadership; therefore, higher levels of emotional intelligence could help improve leadership performance and leadership effectiveness” (p. 74).

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