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Academic Deans’ Emotional Intelligence: A Quantitative Study Exploring the Relationships between Academic Deans’ Emotional Intelligence and Their Leadership Effectiveness.

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TITLE Academic Deans’ Emotional Intelligence: A Quantitative Study Exploring the Relationships between Academic Deans’ Emotional Intelligence and Their Leadership Effectiveness.
RESEARCHER Christy Tabors
College of Human Sciences and Educational Study
Hardin-Simmons University (TX)
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: May 2019

The purpose of this study was to establish whether emotional intelligence plays a role in determining academic deans’ leadership effectiveness.

From a population of 38 public four-year universities in Texas, 12 were randomly selected and eight agreed to participate, yielding 21 academic dean participants (40% response rate). Respondents completed the Leadership Practices Inventory, the Genos Emotional Intelligence Inventory (Gignac, 2010), and provide demographic information. The sample include 14 men and 7 women; 8 Baby Boomers, and 13 Gen Xers; and 12 had been in their positions for less than four years, seven for 5-10 years, one for 11-15 years, and one for 16-20 years. Leadership effectiveness was defined as the sum of responses to all five leadership practices.

Enable and Encourage were the leadership practices reported being used most frequently, followed by Model, Challenge, and Inspire. The scores on Enable fell into the 60th percentile on the Kouzes Posner normative data base, while the scores on the other four leadership practices were all above the 70th percentile.

Total emotional intelligence was significantly correlated with all five leadership practices. All five leadership practices were significantly correlated with Emotional Self-Awareness; Encourage was significantly correlated with Emotional Expression all but Inspire were significantly corrected with Emotional Awareness of Others and Emotional Reasoning; Enable and Encourage was significantly correlated with Emotional Self-Management; Challenge was significantly correlated with Emotional Self-Control; and none of the leadership practices were significantly correlated with Emotional Management of Others.

Multiple regression analysis, with leadership effectiveness as the dependent variable, revealed that gender, age, position duration and total emotional intelligence was significant, explaining 52 percent of the variance. The researcher tested each of the emotional intelligence components separately to control for multicollinearity and found that four emotional intelligence components (emotional self-awareness, emotional awareness of others, emotional reasoning, and emotional self-control) were statistically significant predictor variables.

While Generation X academic deans scored higher than Baby Boomer academic deans on leadership effectiveness, the differences in scores were not statistically different. Similarly, while female academic deans scored higher than males on total leadership effectiveness scores, the differences in the scores were not statistically significant. Academic deans with five to ten years of experience scored significantly higher than academic deans with less than four years of experience.

The author notes:

The data derived from this research study aligns with available literature, indicating that a relationship exists between emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness (Côte´ & Miners, 2006; Côte´ et al., 2010; Dabke, 2016; Hayashi & Ewert, 2006; Higgs, 2002; Higgs & Aitken, 2003; Palmer et al., 2001; Parrish, 2015; Rosete & Ciarrochi, 2005; Sosik & Megerian, 1999; Tang et al., 2010) (p. 90).

The evidence from this sample regarding the influence of emotional intelligence on leadership effectiveness calls for university administrators to provide training and development opportunities for academic deans to strengthen their emotional intelligence skills, which aligns with recommendations from previous research on academic deans (Bystydzienski et al., 2017; Morris & Laipple, 2015; Wepner et al., 2014; Wepner et al., 2015; Wolverton et al., 2001; Wolverton et al., 1999) (p. 92).

University administrators should also focus on developing faculty who may possess the capacity to fill academic dean positions in the future based on their ability to recognize their own and others’ emotions, utilize emotions in problem solving and decisionmaking, and control their own emotions, as the academic dean population is aging. Additionally, the data suggest that prospective academic deans focus on increasing their awareness of emotions and strengthening their overall emotional intelligence skills before pursuing an academic dean position (pp. 92-93).


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