The influence of emotional intelligence theory on contemporary leadership theories

Lombaard, Winnie (2002-12)

Mini study project (MBA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The modern business environment is volatile, fast moving and complex, bringing new challenges for leadership. Many new theories on leadership were therefore developed, including emotional intelligence theory. The study focused on the question whether emotional intelligence theory has influenced the other contemporary leadership theories or not. Emotional intelligence theory propagates that there is a wide spectrum of intelligences that include emotional intelligence, which is defined as the person's capacity to recognise his own feelings and those of others, for motivating himself and for managing emotions in himself and in his relationships. Emotional intelligence falls within four domains, namely self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Each of these domains can be broken down into specific emotional intelligence competencies needed for superior performance. Most traditional leadership research can be classified into one of four approaches, namely the trait approach, behavioural approach, power-influence approach and situational/contingency approach. Some traditional theories fall outside of this classification, while others cut across two or more approaches. Contemporary leadership theories tend to have a more human approach and a stronger focus on soft skills. A comparison was done to establish whether there were any notions similar to the emotional intelligence competences in the traditional or contemporary leadership theories and whether these notions have become more important in contemporary theories than they were in traditional theories. It was found that the competencies of self-assessment, service orientation and change catalyst are new concepts that were not found in traditional leadership theories, while competencies such as emotional self-awareness, self-control, trustworthiness, adaptability, initiative, empathy, visionary leadership, communication, building bonds and teamwork have gained popularity to some extend in modern leadership theories. The other competencies either carried the same weight in traditional theories than in contemporary ones or no specific conclusion could be reached. Although there are definite differences between the importance of certain competences in traditional and contemporary leadership theory, it is not possible to conclude that these changes are due to the influence of emotional intelligence. It should rather be hypothesised that these modern theories developed side-by-side due to the changes in the modern business environment, which provided new challenges to organisations and leaders, necessitating the development of new theories. The theories might even have cross-pollinated each other, but it is not possible to stipulate a direct influence of one on the other.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die moderne besigheidsomgewing is wispelturig, vinnig-bewegend en kompleks met talle nuwe uitdagings vir leiers. Baie nuwe leierskapsteorieë is dus ontwikkel, onder andere die teorie van emosionele intelligensie. Hierdie studie het gefokus op die vraag of emosionele intelligensie teorie die ander kontemporêre leierskapsteorieë beïnvloed het, al dan nie. Emosionele intelligensie teorie propageer 'n wye spektrum intelligensies wat emosionele intelligensie insluit. Emosionele intelligensie word gedefinieer as die persoon se kapasiteit om sy eie en ander mense se gevoelens to herken, om homself te motiveer en om sy eie emosies en die emosies betrokke in sy verhoudings te bestuur. Emosionele intelligensie kan verdeel word in vier domeine, naamlik self-bewustheid, self-bestuur, sosiale bewustheid en verhoudingsbestuur. Elkeen van hierdie domeine kan verder verdeel word in spesifieke emosionele intelligensie vaardighede wat nodig is vir voortreflike prestasie. Meeste tradisionele leierskapsteorieë kan geklassifiseer word onder een van vier benaderings, naamlik die eienskap benadering, gedrags benadering, mag-invloed benadering en die situasie I gebeurtenis benadering. Sommige tradisionele teorieë val buite hierdie klassifikasie, terwyl ander weer oor twee of meer benaderings strek. 'n Vergelyking is gedoen om vas te stelof daar enige neigings soos die emosionele intelligensie vaardighede in die tradisionele of kontemporêre leierskapsteorieë voorkom en of the neigings meer belangrik geword het in kontemporêre teorieë as wat hulle in tradisionele teorieë was. Dit is bevind dat vaardighede soos self-waardasie, diensorïentasie en veranderingskatalisator nuwe konsepte is wat nie in die tradisionele leierskapsteorieë gevind is nie, terwyl vaardighede soos emosionele self-bewustheid, self-beheersing, betroubaarheid, aanpasbaarheid, inisiatief, empatie, verbeeldingryke leierskap, kommunikasie, die bou van bande en spanwerk 'n mate van populariteit gewen het in moderne leierskapsteorieë. Die ander vaardighede het óf dieselfde gewig gedra in tradisionele teorieë as in kontemporêre teorieë, óf daar kon tot geen spesifieke gevolgtrekking gekom word nie. Alhoewel daar definitiewe verskille is tussen die belangrikheid van sekere vaardighede in tradisionele en kontemporêre leierskapsteorieë, is dit nie moontlik om tot die gevolgtrekking te kom dat die veranderinge as gevolg van die invloed van emosionele intelligensie teorie is nie. Daar kan eerder gepostuleer word dat hierdie moderne teorieë sy-aan-sy ontwikkel het as gevolg van die veranderings in the moderne besigheidsomgewing wat nuwe uitdagings vir organisasies en leiers gestel het en dus die ontwikkeling van nuwe teorieë genoodsaak het. Die teorieë kon mekaar selfs gekruiskontamineer het, maar dit is nie moontlik om In direkte invloed van een op die ander te stipuleer nie.

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