Emotional Intelligence Home Page


Frustration with the field of EI

I am frustrated with a couple of things. For example, I just read this:

This study investigated the relationship between emotional intelligence, personality, cognitive intelligence and leadership effectiveness. Senior executives (N = 41) completed an ability measure of emotional intelligence (MSCEIT), a measure of personality (16PF) and a measure of cognitive ability (WASI). Leadership effectiveness was assessed using an objective measure of performance and a 360 assessment involving each leader's subordinates and direct manager (N = 149). Correlational analyses revealed that higher emotional intelligence was associated with higher leadership effectiveness. In contrast, neither IQ nor personality was related to effectiveness. We discuss the implications of these findings for selecting and training leaders.

First, why are so many people interested in using the concept of emotional intelligence to study business managers and executives. Most of these business people are not making the world a better place. They will not stop the violence in the world. They will not stop the materialism. They won't stop what many politicians call "terrorism".

Why aren't more people interested in how the idea of EI can be used to really improve society? Why are they studying children and teenagers and rotten teachers and incompetent parents and power-hungry school principals and directors?

I know why and so do you. Because there is money in studying business managers and so called executives. But I am not impressed with these executives. Not in the least.

Are they encouraging young people to think for themselves? To leave school, to get out of the system and go travel? To get away from the cultures where they have been indoctrinated? To start their own businesses? To live on small farms and grow their own food? No. To go do volunteer work that is not part of some bureaucratic or religiously based NGO? No.

Why not? Because there is no money in such things for these executives.

Also, I feel more and more skeptical of any test which claims to measure emotional intelligence. The only test I would recommend at all is the MSCEIT, but I have complaints about that one too.

So I am frustrated by people saying things like:

"Correlational analyses revealed that higher emotional intelligence was associated with higher leadership effectiveness."

This was from a study by a PhD student. He is assuming the MSCEIT test is a real measure of what this thing called emotional intelligence is. He doesn't say, "emotional intelligence as it is defined and measured by Mayer, Salovey and Caruso." He says "emotional intelligence" as if he can be sure that they are measuring it with their MSCEIT test.

I like the work of these Mayer, Salovey and Caruso. I believe they have a high level of integrity. Much higher than Goleman or Bar-On, for example. But I am not convinced they have the final word in what emotional intelligence is or how to measure it or what it importance is to the human species.

S. Hein
Quto, Ecuador
May 15, 2005