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Emotional Intelligence and Leadership in the UAE Research Paper

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Updated: Aug 7th, 2020

Abstract

Emotional intelligence is one of the most critical aspects of the modern understanding of leadership. This concept plays a role in many different spheres of life, and its significance in business cannot be understated. The goal of this paper is to determine whether emotional intelligence has an impact on the effectiveness of leadership. Thus, one of the objectives is to determine whether high MSCEIT scores among the top and middle managers in the United Arab Emirates have a positive impact on employee satisfaction. The literature review reveals that emotional intelligence includes cognitive and intellectual components, which can be employed to enhance the efficiency of decision-making.

In this case, 45 middle and top managers of companies in the United Arab Emirates were asked to participate in the research to understand their level of emotional intelligence and its influence on the overall efficiency of the leadership. MSCEIT’s mean results and employees’ satisfaction ratings (on a scale of 1 to 10) were the independent and dependent variables of the research study, respectively. Linear regression analysis and correlation coefficient were used to highlight the relationship between these variables.

The results reveal that the mean values are almost similar but that the ranking among the employees is different. However, high scores do not guarantee the development of favorable conditions in the workplace. The results also demonstrate that middle managers have a greater impact on employee satisfaction with r=0.8629. The same value among the top managers is insignificant (0.0303). This finding provides clear answers to the research questions and points to the fact that middle managers play a pivotal role as intermediaries in the organization.

In the end, despite the geographical limitation of the outcomes, they can be actively used as a basis for future research in different regions around the country and the world. At the same time, the revealed positive relationship between emotional intelligence and effectiveness of leadership suggests the need to introduce emotional intelligence development programs in organizations and educational institutions.

Introduction

Being an effective leader is a major challenge in the modern business world. Several characteristics shape the personality of a successful manager. Provisioning, being a role model, and maintaining order in the organization are several important traits of an effective leader. Thus, one cannot underestimate the significance of emotional intelligence for the rational decision-making process (Batool 85).

Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability of an individual to recognize and understand the feelings and intentions of others and use them to resolve any issues that arise (Batool 85). Emotional intelligence is often viewed as a crucial aspect of effective leadership and a determiner of employee motivation and commitment (Batool 85). Due to the novelty of this concept, this phenomenon has not yet been studied profoundly, which is one of the chief reasons for researching this sphere.

The primary goal of the paper is to analyze the concept of emotional intelligence and measure its impact on the effectiveness of leadership. Acquiring a background of leadership theories and their connection with emotional intelligence will assist in defining the principle components of a leader’s effectiveness. At the same time, gathering empirical data with the assistance of questionnaires will help underline the importance of emotional intelligence and its influence on indicators of leadership effectiveness among the middle and top managers of companies in the United Arab Emirates. In the end, conclusions are drawn to summarize the principal findings of the paper and to emphasize its new insights, and recommendations are offered regarding the implications and future steps of the research.

Theoretical Framework and Topic Statement

Emotional Intelligence and Its Importance

As mentioned above, the idea of emotional intelligence is gaining popularity in the business world (Batool 84). The proposed framework is relatively new, as “linking emotions and intelligence” first became a concept in 1993 (Brackett, Rivers, and Salovey 88). A person who is said to have high emotional intelligence can analyze the emotions and feelings of other people and utilize them in practice to find solutions to issues in a group or organization (Batool 85).

According to Brackett, Rivers, and Salovey, emotional intelligence consists of attributes such as cognition and logic and considers managing, understanding, using, and perceiving emotion as gradually important (92). The psychological framework used in emotional intelligence defines the following steps and underlines the complexity of this concept.

Emotional intelligence is especially important because it is believed to have a critical impact on other intelligence, as there exists a positive correlation between high MSCEIT (the Mayer-Salovey-Curaso emotional intelligence test used to measure emotional intelligence) and SAT scores (Brackett, Rivers, and Salovey 94). In this case, the ability to control and analyze emotions and feelings is one of the definers of one’s talent and academic performance. Moreover, emotional intelligence has a positive impact on a person’s mental and physical condition and wellbeing. For instance, research has found that MSCEIT scores were inferior among patients with major depressive disorder (Brackett, Rivers, and Salovey 94).

This fact implies that patients with high MSCEIT scores may not be exposed to mental illnesses due to their emotional stability. Furthermore, emotional intelligence has an advantageous impact on performance at the workplace, as representatives with higher scores have a higher resistance to stress (Brackett, Rivers, and Salovey 94). Based on the factors identified above, the paramount importance of emotional intelligence in leadership and everyday activities cannot be understated. These aspects explain the reasons behind the rising popularity of this psychological phenomenon and the need to conduct more profound research in this sphere.

The Rising Trends in Leadership

At the same time, it is critical to analyze and discuss the popular trends in leadership to identify their connections with emotional intelligence. Globalization and the international orientation of modern business operations affect the conceptualization of leadership and make it more complicated (Chuang 1). Working in diverse environments and facing continuous changes require leaders to be flexible and resolve issues in multicultural teams (Chuang 3). This matter underlines the involvement of emotional intelligence in the leader’s decision-making processes.

Indeed, significant changes in the global business world point to the fact that modern leaders have to be able to develop a global mindset, support the career development of the workers, and build a trusting communication network (Chuang 14). The significance of these factors cannot be underestimated, as they are believed to have an impact on the effectiveness of managerial strategies and employee commitment. A combination of these practices emphasize the long-term and international orientation of the leader’s actions and highlight the need for evaluating one’s emotions, cultural background, and feelings to ensure an encouraging work environment.

In turn, there are many rising challenges associated with the tendencies described above. Unethical leadership is a common consequence of globalization (Lasakova and Remisova 319). This leadership failure occurs when the manager is unable to adapt to the continuous changes in the working environment and instead chooses to act in a self-centered or egoistic manner (Lasakova and Remisova 324).

The development of this trend is linked to social and economic conditions, which affect the attitude and mindset of the leader (Lasakova and Remisova 324). Thus, these aspects underline the fact that the leader has to be flexible and take advantage of emotional intelligence to become a part of a successful team in the global context.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Leadership

Leadership is a social phenomenon with well-established concepts and theoretical frameworks. Nonetheless, researchers experience difficulties when defining the factors that measure their effectiveness. Thus, the practitioners were able to introduce the particular indicators that have an impact on the effectiveness of the leadership.

According to House et al., leadership effectiveness can be measured by examining the company’s financial performance, levels of employee commitment and satisfaction, and its success in achieving organizational goals (246). These indicators must be assessed simultaneously to evaluate the effectiveness of the leader’s actions from several different angles.

Employee satisfaction and commitment are some of the primary definers of the effectiveness of leadership. This factor is particularly crucial because employees are the most important assets of the company (Abiodin 37). Their satisfaction with their jobs affects the quality of the provided services, which in turn leads to customer loyalty and increased customer retention (Abiodin 37). Consequently, the ability to maintain a friendly atmosphere in the organization is one of the critical characteristics of a leader, and the employees’ satisfaction reflects its degree of effectiveness. In the context of the presented case, the satisfaction of the workforce will be the dependent variable affected by the independent variable of the leader’s emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence and the Effectiveness of Leadership

The analysis of both theory and practical research conducted above reveals the fact that emotional intelligence has a strong link to the effectiveness of leadership. In recent years, the connection between these two concepts has been under research, and this theory was appealing to the top managers of the firms (Anand 65). It is believed to have a critical impact on the working atmosphere within the organization when designing a “compelling vision” for the working groups (Anand 70). In this case, emotional intelligence has a positive impact on the development of favorable working conditions and the achievement of organizational objectives.

It must also be mentioned that emotional intelligence contributes to the advancement of personal skills and competencies. Exploiting this concept assists leaders in analyzing and conceptualizing information to present in a logical manner (Anand 71). In this case, managers become role models with magnetism and enthusiasm (Anand 71). This unique set of qualities contributes to the establishment and preservation of a friendly atmosphere and alignment with the corporate culture. As a result, the application of these concepts enhances the overall organizational performance.

Lastly, one cannot disregard that emotional intelligence has a positive impact on employees’ satisfaction (Kerr et al. 265). With the assistance of the MSCEIT, it was revealed that in the majority of the cases, high test results correspond to high levels of employee satisfaction (Kerr et al. 265). It could be said that this research underlines the independence of the concepts mentioned above, but the research limitations—such as shortage of participants—restrict the application of the findings. Consequently, a combination of these factors is the primary reason for continuing research.

Topic Statement and Research Questions

The literature review reveals that emotional intelligence is a highly important component of contemporary leadership styles. Therefore, it is one of the most critical characteristics of leadership effectiveness. Consequently, based on the factors provided above, the research questions can be formulated as the following:

  1. Is emotional intelligence important in corporate leadership?
  2. Does it have a connection with the effectiveness of the leadership?
  3. Does it correlate with the employees’ satisfaction? Does positive emotional intelligence determine high employee satisfaction levels?
  4. Does emotional intelligence among middle managers have a higher impact on the satisfaction of the workforce?

Methodology

The initial goal of the paper is to measure whether emotional intelligence has a relation to the effectiveness of company leadership and employee commitment and motivation in companies in the United Arab Emirates. In this case, the literature review reveals the background information about emotional intelligence and its reflection on the leading trends. At the same time, it underlines that employees’ satisfaction could be defined by this economic concept.

To gather empirical data, the right participants must be selected to answer the proposed research questions. In this case, the sample will consist of 45 managers (25 middle managers and 20 top managers) from commercial firms and well-known businesses in the United Arab Emirates. Particular criteria will be applied to ensure the right assortment of participants.

For instance, the employees will be required to have three years of work experience in a managerial position, be between 25 and 60 years old, and express interest in participating in the research. Both males and females will be able to participate in the research study. However, the voluntary nature of sampling will not define gender as the main factor of research.

Despite the well-defined participation criteria, there are several limitations to this research study. The primary limitations are the sample size and geographical coverage of the report, both of which largely stem from the use of the voluntary sampling approach. However, this research is the first step to understanding the impact of emotional intelligence on the leadership of companies in the United Arab Emirates. Consequently, even using a limited number of participants will assist in finding the general trends in the selected field of study.

To analyze the data, linear regression analysis will be used to understand whether emotional intelligence (independent variable) can predict changes in leadership efficiency (dependent variable). In this instance, the MSCEIT will be applied to assess the emotional intelligence of the selected middle managers and top managers. The mean value of scores from all sections will be used to measure the level of emotional intelligence among leaders.

At the same time, to evaluate the effectiveness of supervisors from the employees’ point of view, a satisfaction survey will be given. One hundred subordinates of the participating managers will participate in the survey, and their participation will be voluntary. The survey will require respondents to evaluate the performance of the managers on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.

Two to three participants will be responsible for evaluating one manager. One of the determinants of their involvement is being in a subordinate-supervisor relationship with the managers who will also take part in the interview. It has to be mentioned that the participation of all managers and employees will be kept confidential, and no personal information will be revealed.

In this case, applying the method of linear regression will assist in identifying the interdependence between the selected variables. This analysis will be applied to both groups of participants (middle and top managers).

This approach will help answer the research question of whether or not emotional intelligence among middle managers has a higher impact on the satisfaction of the workforce. Using the correlation coefficient will assist in determining which of the groups has a higher influence on the overall effectiveness of the leadership. The findings will be measured by comparing the results presented with the assistance of the regression analyses.

The methodology described above will help find the answers to the selected research questions. At the same time, using these research methods will contribute to a clear understanding of the relationship between the selected dependent and independent variables. Eventually, it will emphasize the significance of emotional intelligence and its impact on the effectiveness of company leadership.

Results and Discussion

With the assistance of the methodology described above, it was possible to analyze and interpret the results. In the first place, it was critical to calculating the mean scores of all participants of the survey. The second step was to find the correlation between the managers’ MSCEIT scores and satisfaction ratings of the employees with the assistance of linear regression.

To interpret the results successfully, top and middle managers were divided into categories to ensure the reliability of the research. In this case, Figure 1 presents the relationship between employee satisfaction and the emotional intelligence of supervisors among middle managers. The independent variable is emotional intelligence (x-axis), and the dependent variable is employee satisfaction (y-axis).

Linear regression graph: Employees’ satisfaction and middle-class managers.
Figure 1. Linear regression graph: Employees’ satisfaction and middle-class managers.

In this case, the linear regression graph portrays a positive interdependence between the variables (see Figure 1). The mean score of emotional intelligence among middle managers is 79.6. This factor implies that the majority of the participants should improve their levels of emotional intelligence (Brackett, Rivers, and Salovey 94). The mean of the y value (employees’ satisfaction score) is 6.92.

Table 1 presents the full dataset of this sample. The first value stands for emotional intelligence mean score, and the second value represents employees’ satisfaction ratings. Nonetheless, it could be said that the primary purpose of this regression line is to determine whether a high MSCEIT score has a positive impact on the satisfaction of the employees. In this case, the graph clearly shows that the average score of 110 corresponds to a rating of 10 on the employee satisfaction scale. At the same time, scores below 70 imply low values in the dependent variable, such as a rating of 2 or 3.

90/9 73/6 92/10 85 8 76 7
83 8 74 7 76 6 81/7 65/3
85/8 56/2 94/8 110/10 76/7
65/5 86/7 80 6 76 6 71 6
85/8 82/9 78/5 79/8 76/7

Table 1. Employees’ satisfaction and MSCEIT scores of middle-class managers.

In turn, Figure 2 provides similar results but refers to the correlation between the levels of employee satisfaction and the MSCEIT scores of top managers. In this case, the mean value of y is 6.7. However, the MSCEIT scores are rather high and have an average of 95.95. Table 2 portrays the mean values of the scores of both subordinates and top managers. The first numerical value is the level of emotional intelligence, while the second numerical value is the employee satisfaction rating. The graph reveals that no trend is reflected, as managers with high MSCEIT scores might have a low rating among the employees. From this analysis, it could be said that the satisfaction of the workforce and the effectiveness of the leadership is less dependent on the emotional intelligence of top managers.

Linear regression graph: Employees’ satisfaction and top managers.
Figure 2. Linear regression graph: Employees’ satisfaction and top managers.
90/9 100/6 92/10 80/8 100/7
110/8 98/7 98/6 81/7 89/3
85/8 93/2 94/8 110/10 87/7
100/5 100/7 120/6 96/4 90/6

Table 2. Employees’ satisfaction and MSCEIT scores of top managers.

The analysis of both datasets provides a profound understanding of the correlation between the satisfaction rating of the workforce and the measurement of managers’ emotional intelligence. Thus, using the correlation coefficient will help clarify whether the middle managers have a higher impact on employee satisfaction than do the top management of the company.

In this case, the dataset concerning the top managers has an r-value of 0.0303, meaning that the association between the selected variables is insignificant. On the other hand, the correlation coefficient in the first dataset (middle managers) has a value of 0.8629. In this case, the r-value signifies a strong correlation between the variables. When comparing the r values of middle managers and top managers, it becomes clear that middle managers have a higher level of influence on the employees’ satisfaction than top management of the firm (0.8629>0.0303). This finding provides a clear answer to the research questions highlighted above.

There may be several reasons for the occurrence of the results. The higher power distance could be viewed as one of them. The middle managers are involved in more day-to-day interactions than the top administration of the firm (Todlem and Macleod 86). In this instance, the middle managers ensure alignment with the goals of top management and play the role of a mediator between supervisors and employees (Todlem and Macleod 86). Consequently, a higher correlation coefficient among the middle managers is reasonable, as it corresponds to this theory.

Despite the importance of the power distance, the gravity of the limitations of the research study cannot be underestimated. Generalizing results from such a small number of participants might create bias. At the same time, the research study does not take into account external factors and individual preferences that might affect employees’ satisfaction. Nonetheless, it could be said that the conducted research provides enough data to identify the general trends and highlights the importance of emotional intelligence in organizational decision-making and the quality of the provided services.

Conclusion

Initially, this research study was designed to find a correlation between the effectiveness of leadership and emotional intelligence among the different classes of managers in the United Arab Emirates. Simultaneously, it was critical to reveal whether the middle managers’ levels of emotional intelligence could affect the satisfaction of the employees. To highlight the importance of emotional intelligence and determine the potential scales to be used, a review of the literature was conducted. It depicted the connection between leadership effectiveness and emphasized MSCEIT as one of the most reliable instruments to assess emotional intelligence.

To gather the empirical data, 45 managers of different levels participated in the survey, and 100 employees working under the supervision of these managers responded to the short satisfaction survey to evaluate their job satisfaction. Linear regression analysis and correlation coefficient reveal that the middle managers have a greater impact on the employees’ satisfaction (0.8629>0.0303). These findings answered the research questions directly and highlighted the significance of emotional intelligence in the effectiveness of company leadership.

Notwithstanding the clarity of the findings, the limitation of the research study such as geographical coverage (the United Arab Emirates) can affect the validity of the information. At the same time, individual preferences and particular attitudes towards the selected managers might influence job satisfaction among the employees from the top management dataset. Furthermore, the researchers were not able to consider externalities, which can call into question the validity of the data. Nevertheless, the research was able to provide a general image of trends associated with emotional intelligence and offer a basis for subsequent research studies.

Recommendations

It remains evident that conducting future research on emotional intelligence in the workplace is essential. The primary limitation of the study is its geographical coverage, as it focused on a limited number of managers from the United Arab Emirates. Thus, the presence of this aspect might create bias, especially because different countries have dissimilar business cultures. Consequently, expanding the research coverage will help gain a more profound understanding of the topic. At the same time, expanding the number of participants and employing a randomized trial will enhance the overall validity of the outcomes and advance the research’s contribution to leadership theory.

Beyond just the business world, the findings of research into emotional intelligence can also be applied in the context of educational and professional spheres. In this case, emotional intelligence development programs can be introduced into companies and institutions to enhance the understanding of this phenomenon and its influence on performance and leadership. In this case, the educational objectives of the programs will be aimed at improving MSCEIT scores among students and young professionals. Employing these concepts will have a positive impact on the decision-making in the organization and contribute to finding more effective solutions to various issues.

Lastly, the primary finding of this research study—that middle managers have a greater impact on employee workplace satisfaction—can revolutionize current managerial practices. The findings of this research reveal that middle managers are essential to ensuring the alignment of the corporate strategy. In this case, paying more attention to this managerial group and improving their levels of emotional intelligence will advance employee satisfaction. At the same time, finding ways to improve the interactions between top management and different levels of subordinates will also be beneficial for the overall organizational performance.

Works Cited

Abiodun, Raimi. Leadership Behavior Impact on Employees’ Loyalty, Engagement, and Organizational Performance. Bloomington: Author House, 2010. Print.

Anand, Radhakrishnan. “Emotional Intelligence and Its Relationship with Leadership Practices.” International Journal of Business and Management 5.2 (2010): 65-76. Print.

Batool, Bano. “Emotional Intelligence and Effective Leadership.” Journal of Business Studies Quarterly 4.3 (2013): 84-94. Print.

Brackett, Marc, Susan Rivers, and Peter Salovey. “Emotional Intelligence: Implications for Personal, Social, Academic, and Workplace Success.” Social and Personality Psychology Compass 5.1 (2011): 88-103. Print.

Chuang, Szu-Fang. “Essential Skills for Leadership Effectiveness in Diverse Workplace Environment.” Online Journal for Workforce Education and Development 6.1 (2013): 1-24. Print.

House, Robert, Peter Dorfman, Mansour Javidan, Paul Hanges, and Mary Luque. Strategic Leadership across Cultures: The Globe Study of CEO Leadership Behavior and Effectiveness in 24 Countries. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 2013. Print.

Kerr, Robert, John Garvin, Norma Heaton, and Emily Boyle. “Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Effectiveness.” Leadership and Organization Development Journal 27.4 (2009): 265-279. Print.

Lašáková, Anna, and Anna Remisova. “Unethical Leadership: Current Theoretical Trends and Conceptualization.” Procedia Economics and Finance 34 (2015): 319-328. Print.

Todnem, Rune, and Calum Macleod. Managing Organizational Change in Public Services: International Issues of Challenges and Cases. London: Routledge, 2009. Print.

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