Q1. What is emotional intelligence, and does it have a role in selection?
Emotional intelligence (EI) pertains to the ability to recognise, understand, manage, and effectively utilise emotions within oneself and others (Mayer et al., 2008). This multifaceted concept encompasses various skills, including self-awareness, empathy, self-regulation, and social aptitude. Emotional intelligence is integral in fostering healthy interpersonal relationships, enhancing decision-making processes, and promoting overall psychological well-being (Goleman, 2020 [1995 reprint]).
Emotional intelligence is essential for specific job roles in performance and selection, particularly collaboration, leadership, or customer interaction (Zeidner et al., 2009). Empirical evidence suggests that individuals possessing high EI levels are more likely to excel in such roles as they demonstrate a superior ability to navigate intricate social dynamics, develop robust relationships, and adapt to evolving circumstances (O'Boyle et al., 2011).
Consequently, incorporating EI assessments within the selection framework can enable organisations to identify candidates with the requisite technical proficiencies and exhibit the emotional capabilities essential for thriving in the professional environment (Joseph et al., 2015). By integrating EI evaluation into the selection process, employers can identify candidates better equipped to handle workplace challenges, maintain productive relationships, and contribute positively to the organisational culture (Côté, 2014).
- Côté, S. (2014). Emotional intelligence in organisations. Annual Review of Organisational Psychology and Organisational Behaviour, 1(1), 459-488. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-031413-091233
- Goleman, D. (2020 [1995 reprint]). Emotional Intelligence: 25th Anniversary Edition. Bloomsbury.
- Joseph, D.L., Jin, J., Newman, D.A., & O'Boyle, E.H. (2015). Why does self-reported emotional intelligence predict job performance? A meta-analytic investigation of mixed EI. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(2), 298-342. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037681
- Mayer, J.D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D.R. (2008). Emotional intelligence: New ability or eclectic traits? The American Psychologist, 63(6), 503-517. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.63.6.503
- O'Boyle Jr, E.H., Humphrey, R.H., Pollack, J.M., Hawver, T.H., & Story, P.A. (2011). The relation between emotional intelligence and job performance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 32(5), 788-818. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.714
- Zeidner, M., Matthews, G., & Roberts, R.D. (2009). What We Know About Emotional Intelligence: How it Affects Learning, Work, Relationships, and Our Mental Health. MIT Press.
Q2. What is the 'inverted U' relationship sometimes found in the relationship between personality and performance?
The "inverted U" relationship, also known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law, describes the phenomenon wherein an individual's performance is maximised at an optimal level of mental activation or stress (Yerkes & Dodson, 1908). Within the context of personality and performance, this suggests that certain personality traits can positively influence performance up to a specific point, after which the relationship turns negative (Barrick & Mount, 1991).
To elaborate, as the intensity of a particular personality trait increases, performance may improve up to a certain threshold (Judge & Bono, 2001). However, when that threshold is surpassed, any further increase in the trait level could result in a decline in performance (LePine, 2003). When visualised on a graph, this relationship generates a curve resembling an inverted U shape, with performance plotted on the vertical axis and the level of personality traits on the horizontal axis (Matthews et al., 2009).
This relationship highlights the importance of balance when considering the role of personality in performance. Overemphasising specific traits might be counterproductive, and organisations should consider the optimal levels of these traits when designing selection processes and performance management systems (Salgado & Tauriz, 2014). This approach ensures that individuals are not pushed beyond their optimal level of performance, preventing potential declines due to excessive emphasis on certain personality traits (Furnham & Fudge, 2008).
- Barrick, M.R., & Mount, M.K. (1991). The big five personality dimensions and job performance: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 44(1), 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.1991.tb00688.x
- Furnham, A., & Fudge, C. (2008). The five-factor model of personality and sales performance. Journal of Individual Differences, 29(1), 11-16. https://doi.org/10.1027/1614-0001.29.1.11
- Judge, T.A., & Bono, J.E. (2001). Relationship of core self-evaluations traits-self-esteem, generalised self-efficacy, locus of control, and emotional stability-with job satisfaction and job performance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(1), 80-92. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.86.1.80
- LePine, J.A. (2003). Team adaptation and post-change performance: Effects of team composition in terms of members' cognitive ability and personality. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(1), 27-39. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.88.1.27
- Matthews, G., Deary, I.J., & Whiteman, M.C. (2009). Personality, performance, and information processing. In Personality Traits (3rd ed., pp. 357-391). Cambridge University Press.
- Salgado, J.F., & Tauriz, G. (2014). The Five-Factor Model, forced-choice personality inventories and performance. European Journal of Work and Organisational Psychology, 23(1), 3-30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2012.716198
- Yerkes, R.M., & Dodson, J.D. (1908). The Relation of Strength of Stimulus to Rapidity of Habit-Formation. Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology, 18, 459-482. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cne.920180503