Psychology Paper: Emotional Intelligence

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Justification of the Research Question

The following essay is the analysis and critique of two articles. The topic will revolve around the relationship between the emotional intelligence of employees and their performance in the workplace. Specifically, the essay will concentrate on the question of personal interest and choice: Do emotionally intelligent employees perform better in the workplace compared to the less intelligent employees?

Emotional intelligence refers to an individual’s ability to realize personal and other people’s emotions. It also entails a person distinguishing different emotions and sorting them in a proper manner. In effect, such an individual can respond to various emotional reactions appropriately. Job performance refers to the productivity of an employee in relation to the individual’s qualification and the roles assigned. Most people have the assumption that highly intelligent people are more productive than less intelligent ones. However, it would be interesting to determine the credibility of the statement by using proven studies and scientific concepts. The relationship is also necessary for employers. Organizations can determine to improve the performance of their employees by enhancing the latter’s emotional intelligence if there is a positive correlation. The hypothesis of the relationship is that people with high emotional intelligence tend to perform better in their workplaces. Moreover, numerous studies have been conducted to show that other factors enhance employee productivity apart from remuneration-related factors. For this reason, it is a vested interest to determine whether emotional intelligence is another factor that improves performance.

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Research Summary on the Question

The Conduct of the Research

When it comes to the conduct of the research, Nell & De Villiers (2004) used the survey method. The study used the sampling method, with 135 participants taking part. The partakers came from a number of call centers of an insurance company in South Africa. Random stratified sampling was applied to select the participants. The latter was involved in a range of services, with 33% coming from the sales section, 34% from the administrative section, and 33% from the environment section (Nell & De Villiers, 2004). The research also ensured that the partakers had a service period of one year. 75% of the participants had a grade 12 qualification, with 22% having diplomas. The rest 3% had a Bachelor’s degree. The sampled survey group represented several ethnic identities, with 70% being Afrikaans, 23% being English, and the rest 7% being Xhosas (Nell & De Villiers, 2004).

Lopes et al. (2006) also used a survey to observe the relationship between the two variables. The research involved 44 participants from the finance department of the Fortune 400 insurance firm. The age range of the participants was between 23 and 61 (Lopes, Grewal, Kadis, Gall, & Salovey, 2006). The group was comprised of 86% females, 93% being white, 2% being African-American, and the rest 4% represented the other ethnic groups. 64% of the sample size occupied junior positions, while the rest 36% were middle-level employees (Lopes, Grewal, Kadis, Gall, & Salovey, 2006). 16% had attained a college education, and 16% had acquired only a high school education.

Nell & De Villiers (2004) measured emotional intelligence by using the Emotional Competency Inventory (ECI) that used self-assessment questions to evaluate the emotional awareness of the employees. The research relied on the employers’ ability to assess the performance of their employees. Lopes et al. (2006) used the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test to measure emotional intelligence. It entailed having eight tests for the participants to complete. The research evaluated the performance of the employees by complementing the employer’s rating with other factors such as trends in the salary increase.

The two research methods employed nearly similar approaches. However, they used different emotional intelligence measurement methods. The sampling methods were different from Lopes et al. (2006) opting to use the employees from the finance department only. On the other hand, Nell & De Villiers (2004) engaged participants from different departments in a single organization. Based on the approaches, the study by Nell & De Villiers (2004) was more representative because it involved different departments in an organization. For this reason, the study was more credible.

Answer to the Question

Lopes et al. (2006) observed that emotional intelligence had a positive correlation with the merit of the employees on the basis of the company rank and the increase in productivity. The researchers discovered that the relationship between emotional intelligence and job performance was 0.92. The figure shows that the two variables are highly related. Nell & De Villiers (2004) also observed that the two variables were positively correlated. However, their correlation figure was 0.534, confirming a moderate correlation between emotional intelligence and job performance.

The two results show a positive relationship between emotional intelligence and the performance of the employees. However, the extent of the relationship is different. The research by Lopes et al. (2006) indicated a higher correlation of 0.92 compared to their counterparts, Nell & De Villiers (2004), whose figure was 0.534. The difference in the relationship may be explained by their sampling methods. Lopes et al. (2006) used a smaller number of participants from the same department in an organization. The fact that the participants came from the same department means that there was a high probability of the participants showing similarities in behavior and emotional capability. However, it also means that the research was not representative enough of the whole organization. Due to the diversity, there is a high probability of a high correlation figure. On the other hand, Nell & De Villiers (2004) used more participants, specifically 135. Moreover, the participants were from different departments in an organization and also represented various ethnicities and places of origin. In this case, the research accommodated the differences between a range of employees. The incorporation of diversity was the primary reason as to why the correlation was lower. This makes the research by Nell & De Villiers (2004) more credible because it was more representative of the sample size under study.


Apart from the major results, an interesting observation from the research by Lopes et al. (2006) attracted attention. One of the emotional competencies examined was the salary in relation to emotional intelligence. The researchers discovered that there was no evidential relationship between the two variables. One would expect an increase in salary to correlate positively with emotional awareness. However, the findings of the research display that other factors usually contribute to salary increment.

Reaction and Critique

Research Limitations

After a close analysis, both research methods possess a high probability of biases. The first type is a self-report bias. The situation occurs when respondents answer questions without external interferences. The questions that may lead to bias include personal feelings and belief issues. In both studies, the measurement of emotional intelligence entailed the respondents answering personal questions independently. For this reason, there was a high probability that the respondents may not have answered the questions truly. There is also the possibility of demand bias. The situation occurs when the researchers disclose the objectives of the study to the participants before the conduct of the research. Lopes et al. (2006) disclosed the details of their study to the participants by advertising the study to the whole population. The researchers made the information available to all the staff of the finance department in the organization. In this case, the provision of the prior information may have compromised the responses of the participants. Nell & De Villiers (2004) avoided this bias by only involving team managers in the generation of questionnaires and the conduct of the research.

There is also a high probability that the research by Lopes et al. (2006) was not representative of the whole population. Normally, the sample size should be representative of the entire population. Assuming that the population is an organization, it means that the research should have had participants representing all the departments. However, the study concentrated on the finance department. In effect, it is possible that the responses to emotional intelligence did not represent the opinion of all types of employees in the organization. Both studies used multiple emotional competencies, meaning that there is a low probability of a possible third variable explaining the relationship. Specifically, Lopes et al. (2006) used 32 emotional competencies, while Nell & De Villiers (2004) used 20. The high number was representative of all factors affecting the emotional intelligence of the employees.

Practical Implications

Despite some weaknesses associated with the studies, the conclusions and recommendations can be applied in real life. Modern organizations demand talents with a high rate of productivity to remain competitively viable. The studies can form a basis for training employees in a bid to develop their emotional competencies. The training programs should aim to make employees more aware of their self and external environment and appropriately respond to each situation. The organization should have particular guidelines to have effective emotional learning programs. The reason why the guidelines are essential is that emotional learning is usually more complex compared to other types of learning such as a cognitive one. With appropriate training programs, the organizations can achieve efficiency and maintain their competitiveness in the process.

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