Emotional intelligence is a concept that has fast gained popularity in the corporate world. Where once, Intelligence Quotient or IQ was given predominance when judging a person’s leadership ability, today, Emotional Quotient or EQ is considered to be equally important for one to be a good leader. Wechsler defined intelligence as “the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment” . Emotional intelligence, earlier referred to as social intelligence, is associated with the relationships that one develops with the constituents of one’s environment. To date, the most widely accepted definition was provided by Thorndike which states that social intelligence is the “ability to perceive one’s own and other’s internal states, motives and behaviours, and to act toward then optimally on the basis of that information . Further, instead of social intelligence, Gardner has used the term personal intelligence, segregating it further into inter and intra personal intelligence .
There has been a renewed interest in the subject of emotional intelligence as surveys regularly reveal that people’s perception of intelligence includes factors such as the ability to accept diversity and difference in others, knowledge that goes beyond one’s immediate purview and being able to recognize and acknowledge one’s own shortcomings. Salovey and Mayer conducted a research of several psychological studies that provided scattered but relevant material that proved to be guidance in understanding emotional intelligence . Through their research, they were able to identify three key steps a process that defines emotional intelligence. The steps are: a) expressing, evaluating, developing emotions of one’s self as well as other, b) controlling and managing these emotions, and c) utilizing these emotions in an adaptive manner. While this basic process remains the same for everyone, each individual shows a varying degree of ability to execute these steps effectively. Further, the acquisition of skills that enhance mental health also differs from person to person.
In short, it can be said that while mental ability is crucial in solving problems, conflict resolution also requires a person to be emotionally intelligent. In order to be emotionally competent, a person would need to identify, control and manage their individual emotions as well as those of others with whom them interact, and utilize this knowledge and skill to optimally deal with problems. A leader with high emotional intelligence will be able to face problems and resolve internal as well as external conflicts in an efficient manner, thereby greatly improving the success rate and profitability of an organization.
2 Critique of Literature Review
While the literature review amply covers major aspects of the research, it is faced with a challenge in providing sufficient data on the existing or past situation in the Arab world, which is the focus of the current study. This can be mainly attributed to the fact that there has been limited research on the topic of emotional intelligence in the context of Arab nations. However, the authors could have attempted to provide an overview of the current economic and cultural environment of at least the country being studied, if not different Arab countries. This would have allowed the reader a better understanding of the relevance of the study to this particular geography.
3 Critique of Methods
As in the case of the literature review, the methodology too suffers from the problem of limited coverage. Although the study conducts extensive research within the business community in the United Arab Emirates, addressing the three most developed and economically advanced emirates of the country, it does not include other Arab countries that are different levels of economic and cultural development. The UAE cannot be considered to be a representative of the entire Arab world. As such, the validity and applicability of the research to the entire region cannot be verified based on the current study.
4 Critique of Findings and Discussion
5 Strengths and Weaknesses
The biggest strength of the article is the originality of its context. The Arab world has emerged as a major global economic influencer. While the OPEC countries in the Middle East, including two of the world largest oil producers – Saudi Arabia and Iraq – have been in the foray of global trade for decades, trade and tourism among other Middle Eastern and Arab countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Qatar have recently evolved to become major economic players in the region. This has inadvertently led to the development of the services sector as well as a more sophisticated and complex corporate world that is increasingly becoming a part of the global business sector. As such, the existing perceptions of emotional intelligence in this fast developing trade zone needs to be studied in order to be understood. This understanding will empower thought leaders in the region to adopt approaches and methods that will be best suited for international business. Emotional intelligence has received very limited academic attention thus far and hence, this study could prove to be highly beneficial in the field.
On the downside, the authors have focused their research to a single country – the United Arab Emirates. While the country is one of the economic strongholds of the Middle East, limiting their study to this nation presents several drawbacks to the validity and applicability of the findings of the research. The Arab consists of countries located in different continents and having a greatly varied degree of economic development. As a result, the corporate world of each nation is at an evolved state that is different from the others. While Saudi Arabia has witnessed a sustained economic growth due to its position as the world’s leading oil producer, the United Arab Emirates, particularly its emirate Dubai, as well as neighbouring countries such as Qatar have seen substantial growth in FDI, commerce and trade activity in the past two decades. At the same time, there are countries such as Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait and countries in the North Africa geography that have been on the threshold of an economic boom for years. Hence, the Arab world has a complex mix of economies that lay great emphasis on individual cultures.
While the method used to evaluate the hypothesis has been apt for the country of choice and the topic being studied is novel and valuable for future research, the United Arab Emirates alone cannot be considered to represent the entire Arab world. It is one of the more economically developed nations and hence the perception and applicability of emotional intelligence among the work force will be different from levels among lesser developed countries. The nature of the economy, whether it is oil based or trade based will also have an impact on the perception. Finally, the culture of the country being studied will also have a tremendous impact on the degree of creativity and innovation prevalent in industries.
Gardner, H., 1983. Frames of Mind. New York: Basic Books.
Salovey, P. & Mayer, J. D., 1990. Emotional Intelligence. New Haven, CT: Baywoon Publishing Co., Inc.
Suliman, A. M. & Al-Shaikh, F. N., 2007. Emotional intelligence at work: links to conflict and innovation. Employee Relation, 29(2), pp. 208-220.
Thorndike, E., 1920. Intelligence and its uses. Harper’s Magazine, Volume 140, pp. 227-235.
Wechsler, D., 1958. The measurement and appraisal of adult intelligence. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins.