Research and valid practice in emotional intelligence (EI) have been impeded by lack
of theoretical clarity regarding (a) the relative roles of emotion perception, emotion
understanding, and emotion regulation facets in explaining job performance; (b) conceptual
redundancy of EI with cognitive intelligence and Big Five personality; and (c) application
of the EI label to 2 distinct sets of constructs (i.e., ability-based EI and mixed-based
EI). In the current article, the authors propose and then test a theoretical model
that integrates these factors. They specify a progressive (cascading) pattern among
ability-based EI facets, in which emotion perception must causally precede emotion
understanding, which in turn precedes conscious emotion regulation and job performance.
The sequential elements in this progressive model are believed to selectively reflect
Conscientiousness, cognitive ability, and Neuroticism, respectively. "Mixed-based"
measures of EI are expected to explain variance in job performance beyond cognitive
ability and personality. The cascading model of EI is empirically confirmed via meta-analytic
data, although relationships between ability-based EI and job performance are shown
to be inconsistent (i.e., EI positively predicts performance for high emotional labor
jobs and negatively predicts performance for low emotional labor jobs). Gender and
race differences in EI are also meta-analyzed. Implications for linking the EI fad
in personnel selection to established psychological theory are discussed.
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