Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

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Volume 90 Issue 2 (June 2017), Pages 129-279

A meta‐analysis of emotional intelligence and work attitudes (pages 177-202)

Our meta‐analysis of emotional intelligence (EI) demonstrates that: First, all three types of EI are significantly related to job satisfaction (ability EI: ρ ^  = .08; self‐report EI: ρ ^  = .32; and mixed EI: ρ ^  = .39). Second, both self‐report EI and mixed EI exhibit modest yet statistically significant incremental validity (ΔR2 = .03 for self‐report EI and ΔR2 = .06 for mixed EI) and large relative importance (31.3% for self‐report EI and 42.8% for mixed EI) in the presence of cognitive ability and personality when predicting job satisfaction. Third, we found mixed support for the moderator effects (i.e., emotional labour demand of jobs) for the relationship between EI and job satisfaction. Fourth, the relationships between all three types of EI and job satisfaction are mediated by state affect and job performance. Fifth, EI significantly relates to organizational commitment (self‐report EI: ρ ^  = .43; mixed EI: ρ ^  = .43) and turnover intentions (self‐report EI: ρ ^  = −.33). Sixth, after controls, both self‐report EI and mixed EI demonstrate incremental validity and relative importance (46.9% for self‐report EI; 44.2% for mixed EI) in predicting organizational commitment. Seventh, self‐report EI demonstrates incremental validity and relative importance (60.9%) in predicting turnover intentions.

Practitioner points

  • Employees with higher emotional intelligence (EI) have higher job satisfaction, higher organizational commitment, and lower turnover intentions.
  • Adding EI measures to the set of personality and cognitive measures currently being used can improve the ability to assess employee job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover intentions.
  • EI improves job satisfaction by helping employees reduce negative feelings, by increasing positive feelings, and/or by improving job performance.
  • To produce productive and satisfied workers, organizations should incorporate EI in employee recruitment, training, and development programmes.

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