Strategic Use of Emotional Intelligence in Organizational Settings: Exploring the Dark Side

Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 30, pp. 129-152, 2010

Mays Business School Research Paper No. 2012-3

26 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2012

See all articles by Martin Kilduff

Martin Kilduff

University College London, Department of Management Science and Innovation

Dan S. Chiaburu

Texas A&M University - Department of Management

Jochen I. Menges

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Emotional intelligence (EI) comprises a set of abilities related to detecting, using, understanding and managing emotion. Research and discussion of EI has disproportionately focused on prosocial outcomes and has neglected the possibility that individuals high in EI may use their skills to advance their own interests, even at the expense of others. Just as the cognitively smart person may be able to understand options and draw conclusions quickly and competently, so the emotionally intelligent person may be able to assess and control emotions to facilitate the accomplishment of various goals, including the one of getting ahead. We suggest that high-EI people (relative to those low on EI) are likely to benefit from several strategic behaviors in organizations including: focusing emotion detection on important others, disguising and expressing emotions for personal gain, using misattribution to stir and shape emotions, and controlling the flow of emotion-laden communication. In addressing self-serving benefits, we reveal the dark side of EI and open new areas for research.

Keywords: Emotional intelligence, Competition, Getting ahead, Interpersonal relations, Dyadic exchange, Organizational outcomes

Suggested Citation

Kilduff, Martin and Chiaburu, Dan S. and Menges, Jochen I., Strategic Use of Emotional Intelligence in Organizational Settings: Exploring the Dark Side (2010). Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 30, pp. 129-152, 2010; Mays Business School Research Paper No. 2012-3. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1991300

Martin Kilduff (Contact Author)

University College London, Department of Management Science and Innovation ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Dan S. Chiaburu

Texas A&M University - Department of Management ( email )

430 Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4218
United States

Jochen I. Menges

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom

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