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This paper is a brief critical review of Nicholas Clark's research paper "Emotional intelligence abilities and their relationship with team processes", published in Emerald team performance management journal. The main purpose of the article revolves around the identification of relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and team processes with respect to transition, action and interpersonal team processes in an organization. This study is a helpful contribution toward the current ambiguities of above mentioned topic and creates an understanding towards the practicality in team effectiveness. The main research question in this paper is to find out that is there a relationship between emotional Intelligence (which is according to Mayer & Salovey (1997) the ability to perceive accurately, appraise and express emotions) and team processes with relation to Team working and organizational performance? An attempt has been made to evaluate such claims by touching upon certain questions such as: is the writer justified in underlying the major areas, contributing to the interpersonal team processes and transition, if yes what possible aspects he identifies in this area. Furthermore, how the writer approaches to the issue and is the main argument well supported by a focused hypothesis, sampling techniques and appropriate research methodology?
It is worth mentioning that the concept of Emotional Intelligence has become a crucial part of today's decision making in organizations and help leaders meet significant challenges they face. Unlike mental or cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence focuses on understanding our emotions and feelings and those of others. It is generally believed that it was David Goleman that coined and substantially aroused the interest of social scientists in the term "emotional intelligence" in his book - Emotional Intelligence:
Why It Can Matter More Than Intelligent Quotient (IQ), which was first published in 1995. However this concept was further explained by a large number of researchers. This journal paper studies the relationship between emotional intelligence abilities and team building processes like team effectiveness. As apparent from the journal several studies have been conducted by different authors on the basis of which different EI models have been developed, each used a different approach of measurement. According to the writer EI can be related to team building in a way that each team member or an individual processes a unique intelligence (way of problem solving abilities) that is tacit in nature and transferring or measuring it is difficult if not impossible.
Emotional intelligence is today's business scenario especially in the service industry, is considered to be the backbone for the organizational success and team effectiveness the ability to understand emotion, integrate them and manage them accordingly. Emotions have the potential to get in the way of our most important business and personal relationships. According to John Kotter of Harvard Business School: "Because of the furious pace of change in business today, difficult to manage relationships sabotage more business than anything else - it is not a question of strategy that gets us into trouble; it is a question of emotions."
The above mentioned research paper is contributing towards the existing literature which suggests EI as an important factor observed in workplace settings while planning task oriented activities within teams. It has been related to increased success among the people as awareness among team member emotions lead towards the understanding of individual needs and team bonding requirements. Research paper deals with the hypothesis which is based on the theoretical basis of ability model of EI by Mayer & Salovey and its implication for team processes, by considering the limitations of previous studies.
The first section gives a brief introduction of the article and it's author credibility to justify the chosen journal, the second section discusses and highlights the strengths of the article, the third section talks about the weaknesses of the article and the last section finally concludes with the views , advised areas of opportunities or proposed improvements and any possible threats.
Mr. Nicholas Clarks is working as a senior lecturer of organizational behavior at the University of south Hampton school of management. He also has an experience of extensive research in the field of workplace learning and emotional intelligence with respect to team work, which clearly provide evidence for the knowledge and experience of the author of this article in the field of EI and his credibility as author of this article .It also answers any questions on the validity and reliability of this article and the research findings.
The above mentioned research was conducted with the help of a sample of 68 students, forming 13 randomly assigned teams of four to six members. The teams were asked to provide the a collective report on organizational performance affected by the intervention of change management, and also team has gone through the pencil and paper performance based test of emotional intelligence before going for the team report. 14 weeks later team members had to perform peer rating to demonstrate team work behaviours consistent with transition, action and interpersonal team processes. Following measures were used to ensure the existence of relationship:
Transition, action and interpersonal team processes
General mental ability
On the broader spectrum the main subjects of EI, Team working, Team performance and interpersonal relations were focused for the identification of hypothesis. The author has focused on teamwork behaviours affected by emotional intelligence. Furthermore this paper has covered the current changes in the concept of teamwork and interpersonal relations of an employee with reference to EI. Author has mainly addressed the ability model of Mayor & Salovey EI Concept; however he also focused on the previous research work done by other researchers with regards to emotional intelligence impact on the teamwork processes. This paper is an effective effort to draw our attentions towards the relationship of EI with work transition and interpersonal abilities. The structure of the article is presented in a scientific manner, as initially author highlights the concept of emotional intelligence backed by in-depth previous literature. While talking about the above mentioned aspects of teamwork author also comments on the previous research based on the argument of ability model and its linkage with teamwork. In this research paper author has identified that Emotional Intelligence is positively associated with transition team processes, action team process, and interpersonal team processes. This further leads to the development of personality traits of motivation and conflict management affecting goal settings and monitoring.
Another argument of the article revolves around concept of collectivist orientation which covers both concepts of emotional intelligence and willingness of an employee to utilize his abilities which further leads to interpersonal effectiveness. The results of the research has indicated a positive and significant relationship between team level measures of ability EI and team processes. However only three individual branches of EI were found to be of any significance and there was a failure to find any relationship in the transition processes and EI abilities as it is considered to be most important in contributing towards team behaviour. It was further identified that the team members who are more aware and active can easily engage themselves effectively in team behaviours including task setting and achievement. Two EI abilities, using emotion to facilitate thinking and managing emotions were considered to be the main support in interpersonal team processes. Research has also identified that there is no relationship between EI abilities and action team processes which was quite surprising with respect to the previous studies which have suggested a possible link between both.
Strengths and usefulness of the article
The literature review of the paper presents a wide variety of different perspectives not only on emotional intelligence but also on the areas affecting team processes linked with emotional intelligence. This paper shows a combination of wide range of information into one document and the references are also current and up to date with the relevance on the topic. The hypothesis which is the"positive relationship of emotional intelligence and teamwork processes" is argued and backed by the previous literature and author's own study. The research area addressed by the author is worth to be researched on due to increased ambiguities and overlaps of previous research and it increased the validity and worth within current research work. The structure of the article also presents the information in a scientific manner with the help of previous literature. This research paper addresses academics as well as the corporate audience on the basis of practicality of EI in the field of teamwork and interpersonal skills.
The findings of the above mentioned research paper could be a valuable contribution towards the current literature as it negate certain aspects being affected by the emotional intelligence abilities. e.g. in previous theoretical arguments it was suggested that EI abilities might be positively related to action team processes and transition but the finding of this paper proved this wrong as it fails to find any relation with both these aspects. The study objectives are also apparent and the need for doing this study has been identified by the author when he focuses and acknowledges the fact that there are inherent problems in generalizing the findings from the prevailing models of EI and that a more focused approach specifically examining emotional intelligence abilities and team effectiveness is needed. The study involved a sample that consisted of a healthy mix and balance of diverse culture, sex and age group which rules out any possible criticism of the study being biased and based on a particular group.
Since the research participants (team members) were ensured that the responses would be anonymised, it increased the chances of them giving honest responses, that otherwise could not be ensured and it helped making the research findings more reliable. In order to maximize validity as well as reliability, respondents were told that their responses would be confidential. Since the research participants (team members) were ensured that the responses would be anonymised ensuring confidentiality, which increased the chances of them giving honest responses, that otherwise could not be ensured and it helped making the research findings more reliable and valid.
The study was well designed keeping in mind the flexibility for the respondents because it gave them the options to use a range of data sources and undertakes their own primary research as part of the team project and Each team was given enough time (14 weeks) to produce a team report detailing how they would undertake a specific change management intervention in order to improve an organization's performance that was also of their own choice.
Weaknesses of the article
This journal discusses many models of EI, though there are a few similarities however a limited extent of overlap between these different models creates a potential problem for the user to make a selection from various models each suggesting different measures of EI and are likely to offer varying degrees of predictive power in explaining the association of a variance in any behavioural variables associated with team effectiveness. Though the article lacks a logical flow and order of the information at the beginning and looks like a mere database of references, however, becomes more focussed and the sense can be derived as the reader reads through it.
A considerable part of the article talks about the various studies conducted to find a relationship between EI and team performance. Though the results from these studies show a number of statistically significant and positive relationships between team level measures of emotional intelligence, however since all the different studies were conducted in different environments, using different situation exercises, using different measures for example some used self assessed EI scores whereas the others used peer assessment and in many instances the scales associated with WEIP failed to show any significant relationships with the measures of team effectiveness therefore a theory of emotional intelligence and team effectiveness based on these results would lack generalizability.
Author's selection of Mayor & Salovey model as a yardstick raises question even though he appreciated the work of other theorists too. However it raises a question into the mind of the writer that what are the reasons which made author to consider ability model rather than mixed model. One of the researcher of EI, Goleman has worked extensively on the workplace success and its relation with emotional intelligence as he claims that people who demonstrate these characteristics are more likely to be successful in senior management, citing research from various sources that suggests senior managers with a higher emotional intelligence rating perform better than those without. However this paper only talks about initial work on the model by Daniel Goleman and neglects the other aspects of the researcher's four domains of emotional intelligence as a predictor of workplace success. (Goleman, D. 1995)
As a result of the study EI was found to explain direct and unique variance in Transition and Interpersonal team processes which are considered to play an important role in team effectiveness however since the measures used in this study were context free and collected from group of MBA's who were put together in a team only for the duration of a particular mission of this study, which Devine (2002) categorised as commissions meaning teams formed for specific projects within a brief work cycle and there was far less opportunity for the team members to engage in transition behaviours. (Higgs et.al, 2005)
Therefore it is unlikely that the study would give synonymous results if conducted on the individuals who have been together in a team for a while in an actual work environment because team member's collective orientation and team's overall effectiveness may also differ depending upon factors like whether they have joined a team voluntarily or they've been compelled to do so. As this paper says at one place "Fourteen weeks later, members of each team rated each team member in their team excluding them and Team members were asked to rate as honestly as possible and told responses would be subsequently anonymised". in studies like this people give out their value judgement rather than the facts though it was purely intended to increase the validity of the research however clearly demonstrates the possible biasness in the responses due to many reasons and would affect the outcome of the study.
As the study conducted refers to the team performance in the working environment within different organizations the sample selection for the study undertaken in this paper which is a group of 68 MBA students, can be questioned on the grounds of whether it is a true representative of the research population, which doesn't look like to be typically impressive.
The study or the research yields better results if it's focussed. With all due respect of the author's intentions to discover a relationship between the 2 variables namely EI and team performance, the study looks vague and lacks focus due to having 4 different hypotheses in the same research though very closely related to each other.
Emotional intelligence will be positively associated with action team Processes
Emotional intelligence will be positively associated with interpersonal team processes.
Emotional intelligence will be positively associated with transition team processes.
The relationships between emotional intelligence and action, transition and interpersonal team processes are likely to be stronger for those individuals with a higher collectivist orientation. The methodology selection looks inappropriate for the nature of the study which involves human behaviour and emotional intelligence which is far more qualitative in nature than the techniques used like questionnaire and the author fails to back his methodology selection with sufficient reasoning.
Though the study findings are claimed to be theoretically consistent with the view that using emotional information contributes to a better cognitive analysis of the issues and subsequent prioritisation of planning and tasks that the team faces, however, the practical application of this theory is very subjective in nature and complex for the managers to practically implement it in their respective organizations and diverse working environment/culture. Neither does the paper nor any available literature gives any evidence of these EI models being practically applied in any work scenarios
This article, as apparent is intended for the academics and corporate audience and therefore must act as a point of reference in order to justify the time and resources employed to complete the study, which this paper does to an extent. This paper does highlight the relationship that exists between emotional intelligence and specific team behaviours using the ability model of EI and is a useful contribution to the available literature on the subject. This article apart from establishing these above said relationships also helps to close the knowledge gaps that existed in the available literature. The specific learning from this article is mentioned in the form of the hypothesis of the study undertaken and is as follows:
Emotional intelligence is positively associated with transition team processes.
Emotional intelligence is positively associated with action team processes.
Emotional intelligence is positively associated with interpersonal team processes.
The relationships between emotional intelligence and action, transition and interpersonal team processes are stronger for those individuals with a higher collectivist orientation.
Though there was a variance discovered in case of H2 and H4 where the study revealed no significant relationship between any individual branches of emotional intelligence or the total EI scores and the Action team processes, nor was there any interaction effects found between collectivist orientation and emotional intelligence and any of the sets of team processes studied.
However the overall result confirmed the H1 and H3 therefore the article can be said to serves its intended purpose. The discovered relationships between the two variables EI and Team processes are theoretically consistent and contributes to the existing literature on the subject and the writer would recommend it to the intended audience for referencing proposes however the weaknesses of this paper discussed must be kept in mind before the application of the derived knowledge from this paper and any models of Emotional intelligence.
The author Mr. Nicholas Clarke has cautiously based his research paper on the foundations of previous conceptualizations on emotional intelligence. The proposed relationship of emotional intelligence has been analysed with the help of four components of ability model of Mayor & Salovey. At the same time author has also made references to the other theories of emotional intelligence. Author's effort to identify the relationship and impact of EI abilities on team effectiveness, are valid and authentic as this concept was taken into account by other researchers too. Previous researchers of this area has suggested the positive relationship of above mentioned components although there are issues of varying measurement techniques and differing aspects of personality traits which needs to be taken into account.
Author has identified the issue of generalising in the literature review and tried to cover a wide range of research material for the identification of EI abilities' impact on team effectiveness. Previous research also helped the author to look into the direct affects of EI abilities rather than concentrating on the personality traits which are secondary in terms of affecting team performance. On the basis of previous literature this paper has suggested initially a positive association between emotional intelligence and transition teamwork processes, action teamwork processes, and interpersonal teamwork processes. However the outcome of the study based on the sample of randomly assigned teams brought somewhat surprising results. After the factor analysis of team process measures, it was found that all four branches of EI ability model have positive correlation however there isn't any relationship between emotional intelligence and action team processes as well as transition team processes. The failure to find any major relationships between transition processes and the other EI abilities shows that this particular emotional ability is the most important in contributing to team behaviours. An individual's ability to perceive and accurately appraise emotions is considered to be the most significant. It is their active recognition and then consideration of their own and others' emotional states in the team, that then contributes to higher quality goal setting and task planning. It is also mentioned by the author that the generalizing issues of previous literature on which this paper was based, the types of teams used as sample and the variation of teamwork behaviour creates further room for future research. As a authentic piece of information it provides a reader, complete picture of the topic area with context to the previous work and data derived from the current research.