From Emotional Intelligence to Emotional Competences in Management

From Emotional Intelligence to Emotional Competences in Management

Jesus Barrena-Martinez (University of Cadiz, Spain)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5781-4.ch002
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Emotions can affect the daily behavior and decisions of managers. In an international environment where the context, culture, and values can be very different among individuals, it is important to understand and interpret the different kinds of emotions. Contributions from human behavioral sciences have shed light on the extent to which the control of emotions by companies and managers is crucial to extract the best individual and collective results. This chapter examines the management of emotions from an international perspective. Specifically, the chapter analyzes the concept of emotion, its dimensions, the basic theories and framework of emotions, the use of emotional intelligence, and how its evolution has led to the development of emotional competences for managers. Finally, the chapter presents a case study, in order to discuss traditional management and the consideration of emotions as a new practical and valuable paradigm in management.
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When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion. (Dale Carnegie).

People feel. The comprehension of people’s feelings is essential in the international managerial field. In the current competitive work environment in which personal and professional interaction is increasingly important, and with employees suffering from the pressure to achieve organizational goals, the appropriate management of emotions becomes an indispensable tool for any manager.

The first question that a manager should ask himself is, what are emotions? According to Hockenbury & Hockenbury (2007, p. 117) emotions are “a complex psychological state composed of three different parts: a subjective experience, a physiological response, and a behavioral or expressive response.” In other words, they are reactions that we all experience and which can vary greatly. For example, happiness, sadness, astonishment or fear.

It is necessary to emphasize that the emotions that are experienced depend on many factors, as will be seen throughout this chapter. Some of them, on a personal level, depend on the individual him/herself –personality, attitude, etc.–, and others on an environmental level, depend on the country and the culture in which the individual is involved (Goleman et al., 2013). The context that surrounds us affects the way in which we understand and control the emotions. In Japan, for example, people tend to mask demonstrations of fear or disgust in the presence of a figure of authority such as a manager. Therefore, the importance of this chapter lies in showing managers and future managers the relevance of managing emotions, both in a domestic and also in an international context.

While it is important to understand that emotions can be classified in different ways, in order to clarify this complex area in the context of management, Boyatzis (2009) classification will be considered: (a) self-awareness, (b) self-management, (c) social awareness and (d) relationship management. Understanding these emotions at the individual level and others –Emotional Intelligence (EI) – has become crucial. Therefore, some practical examples will be provided in the chapter.

From a professional perspective, an increasing number of companies are investing money in emotional intelligence workshops aimed at improving the cohesion between employees, their relationships and their collective aims. This means that companies are aware of the potential of emotional intelligence as a new tool to improve the relationships between workers and their performance. The idea of understanding our emotions and identifying the emotions of our partners (customers, suppliers, colleagues, shareholders, etc.) in order to satisfy their needs is essential for achieving the current mission of any company and ensuring its long-term survival. The benefits of an adequate management of the emotions could be evident in the development of more resistant and resilient workers, who are valuable to companies facing crisis periods and needing to solve a range of problems, in a domestic context, but above all, internationally.

Extrapolating the analysis to an international scope, it is clear that ‘managing international business means dealing with differences in national, local, and organizational culture at the same time’ (Hofstede, 1994, p. 1). This means that emotions and culture are correlated and that emotional behavior can be expected to change from country to country. A good example is the comparison between Eastern and Western cultures made by Lim (2016, p. 106). According to this writer, people in Western cultures tend to experience emotions in an independent way and consider the individual the basic unit of society. On the other hand, Eastern cultures are considered collective, and the group is the core unit of society. In this kind of culture, individuals try to modify their behavior and not to influence others, in order to fit in with the groups they are part of.

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