Strategic Use of Emotional Intelligence in Organizational Settings: Exploring the Dark Side
Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 30, pp. 129-152, 2010
26 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2012
Date Written: 2010
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
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