October 21, 2010, Updated September 13, 2012

According to a new study from Israel, employees with a high level of Emotional Intelligence are more dedicated and satisfied at work, compared to other employees. They are also better able to handle organizational politics. These were the findings of research undertaken at the University of Haifa.

“This study has shown that employees with a higher level of emotional intelligence are assets to their organization. I believe it will not be long before emotional intelligence is incorporated in employee screening and training processes and in employee assessment and promotion decisions,” states Dr. Galit Meisler, who conducted the research.

Indeed, in some companies, EQ (or EIQ as it is sometimes called) is already an important consideration in human resources planning, job profiling, recruitment interviewing and other corporate fields.

Previous studies have shown that for various reasons and thanks to a wide range of abilities, people with high emotional intelligence tend to be more successful in life than those with lower EQ even if their classical IQ is average.

Study wins Outstanding Doctorate Award

For decades, much emphasis was placed on a person’s IQ, which comprises aspects of intelligence such as logical reasoning, math skills, spatial skills, verbal skills, etc. And yet, while IQ could predict academic performance to a significant degree and, to some degree, professional and personal success, some of those with fabulous IQ scores were faring poorly in life.

Intrigued by this apparent paradox, psychologists in the 1970s and ’80s at Harvard, Yale and New Hampshire universities developed an Emotional Intelligence theory. The concept became popular in 1995 when psychologist Daniel Goleman published a book about EQ principles, entitled Emotional Intelligence. It was on The New York Times bestseller list for 18 months, more than 5,000,000 copies are in print worldwide in 30 languages, and the book has been a best seller in many countries.

The behavioral model based on the EQ principles provided a new way to understand and assess people’s behaviors, interpersonal skills and potential. EQ links strongly with concepts of love and spirituality, compassion and humanity and to Multiple Intelligence Theory which measures the range of capabilities that people possess.

The Haifa University study surveyed 809 employees and managers in four organizations – two public sector organizations and two private companies. It was carried out by Meisler under the supervision of Prof. Eran Vigoda-Gadot and it won the Outstanding Doctorate Award from the Israeli Political Science Association.

Employees with high EQ are more loyal

Meisler examined the effects of emotional intelligence on aspects of organizational politics, on employees’ work attitudes, on formal and informal behavior, feelings of justice, burnout and similar work-related factors.

Her results show that those employees with a high level of emotional intelligence perceive organizational justice as higher than other employees do. Furthermore, employees with a high level of emotional intelligence are more satisfied with their jobs and more committed to their organizations. In addition, undesirable work attitudes, such as burnout, intention to leave and negligent behavior, are lower for those employees.

According to Meisler, the effects of emotional intelligence are not limited to employees’ work attitudes alone, but also have an impact on various aspects of organizational politics. For example, employees with a higher emotional intelligence level perceive the organizational politics at their workplace as less severe than their colleagues do.

Likewise, better political skills were demonstrated by employees with a higher emotional intelligence level. “We also found that employees with a higher emotional intelligence level were less likely to use forceful and aggressive forms of persuasion while attempting to persuade their supervisors. Those employees tended to use much softer influence tactics,” the researcher notes.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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