Emotional Intelligence & Shared Leadership: Moderating Role of Task Interdependence.

AuthorLyndon, Shiji


Research in the area of shared leadership has grown in the last two decades. There are several reasons for the increasing interest in the concept of shared leadership. First, many organizations are shifting to team-based structures (Salas et al., 2008) and the traditional understanding of leadership may not be the best way to deal with organizations which have team-based structures. Traditional leadership style focuses primarily on top-down approach, while, shared leadership is more fluid and includes lateral influence (Pearce & Conger, 2003). Another reason for the wide interest in research in shared leadership is because of its usefulness in predicting other important organizational outcome variables such as employee performance (Carson, Tesluk & Marrone, 2007), team learning (Liu, Hu, Li, Wang & Lin, 2015), task satisfaction (Serban & Roberts, 2015), and team satisfaction (Serban & Roberts, 2015).

The research pertaining to antecedents of shared leadership is primarily limited to various team level factors such as internal team environment, external team coaching (Carson, Tesluk & Marrone, 2007), task cohesion (Serban & Roberts, 2015) etc. However, there is a dearth of research investigating the factors at individual level which influence shared leadership in teams. The objective of the current study is to examine emotional intelligence as an antecedent to shared leadership in teams. The study also aims to investigate the moderating role of emotional intelligence in authenticity--shared leadership relationship.

The study aims to make several contributions. First, existing literature does not succinctly answer the questions pertaining to the individual characteristics of members which would have an impact on the degree of shared leadership in teams. This is an important gap to be addressed because research about individual level of antecedents will give insights regarding what characteristics to look for, while designing teams which has to operate with shared leadership. This study proposes authenticity as a key antecedent of shared leadership. Second, it is important to study various underlying mechanisms which influence shared leadership. Our study makes unique contributions in terms of investigating authenticity as an antecedent and task interdependence as a moderator in shared leadership phenomenon.

Emotional Intelligence

The interest in the area of emotional intelligence began with research findings that employee success in organizations is not just a result of traditional cognitive abilities such as IQ but there are other strong predictors of success at work such as social intelligence and emotional intelligence (Bar-On, 1980). Thus, the concept of emotional intelligence was born. The concept of EI is not contrary to the concept of IQ, instead it is an extension of human potential to succeed in a people-oriented environment (Stein & Book, 2001: 6).

Salovey and Mayor (1990) coined the term emotional intelligence. With the onset of research in emotional intelligence, different researchers defined it from different perspectives such as it being a skill, trait or ability (Bar-on, 2000; Goleman, 1995; 1998; Mayer & Salovey, 1997). Thus, there are several theories pertaining to emotional intelligence.

The first major theory was given by Bar-On (1998). He coined the term emotional quotient which referred to the ability to effectively deal with environmental demands. Bar-On's measure of emotional intelligence comprised five domains i.e. intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, adaptability, stress management and general mood. The second theory of emotional intelligence was given by Mayer, Caruso and Salovey (1998) who developed a Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (MEIS). Initially, Salovey and Mayor (1990) proposed that emotional intelligence consists of three dimensions i.e. appraisal and expression of emotion, regulation of emotion to deal with problems. Appraisal and expression of emotion refers to ability to detect emotions in self and others. Second dimension refers to regulation of emotions in self and others. The third dimension of utilization of emotions refers to planning, creative thinking and motivation to utilize the emotion. In 1997, Salovey and Mayor (1990) revised the model of emotional intelligence and proposed four components of emotional intelligence i.e. perception, appraisal and expression of emotion, emotional facilitation of thinking and reflective regulation of emotions. This revised model primarily focused on the cognitive dimension of emotional intelligence. Unlike the EQ-I test developed by Bar-On (1997) which is based on self-report, MEIS was developed as a test of ability. MEIS test was later revised by Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT, Mayer, Salovey, Caruso & Sitarenios, 2003).

The third theory of emotional intelligence was given by Goleman (1998). He used the term emotional competence which refers to "a learned capability based on emotional intelligence that results in outstanding performance at work". According to Goleman, there are four areas of emotional competence i.e. self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and...

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