Examining the relationships of trait emotional intelligence and leadership style for professional engineers

by Hertwig, Ronald W., Jr., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2016, 138 pages; 10168371


Engineers often are unable to make the transition from being an engineer to leading engineers. Most practicing engineers argue that engineers are hired for their technical skills, fired for their lack of people skills, and promoted for their leadership and management skills. Two key concepts in organizational leadership are who the leader is (trait emotional intelligence) and how the leader interacts with the organization (leadership style). The purpose of this quantitative explanatory study was to assess the relationship, if any, between trait emotional intelligence and leadership style. The Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (Petrides & Furnham, 2003) and the Multifactorial Leadership Questionnaire (Avolio & Bass, 1991) as well as demographic questions were completed by 125 registered professional engineers from the Society of American Military Engineers. Variable relationship was demonstrated through multiple linear regression analysis. The first regression indicated that the emotional intelligence factors significantly explain transformational leadership style, suggesting that 43% of the variability in the transformational leadership scores were explained by the trait emotional intelligence factors. The following regressions found a significant relationship between the trait emotional intelligence factors with transactional and passive/avoidant leadership styles. The results suggest that 38% and 62% of the variability in the transactional and passive/avoidant leadership styles, respectively, were explained by the trait emotional intelligence factors. The key finding of this study is that trait emotional intelligence, or personality by inference, significantly explains transformational, transactional, and passive/avoidant leadership style in professional engineers. Limitations include a single focus on trait emotional intelligence, the sample, and the self-reporting method. Recommendations for further study include comparison with different theories, experimental and longitudinal research, and broader sampling.

AdviserGail Ferreira
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Organizational behavior
Publication Number10168371

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