Date of Conferral
William B. Disch
Researchers have reported mixed findings on the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and transformational leadership, leading many to suspect the presence of moderating variables. This study was conducted to address the problem by analyzing the moderating effect that affect intensity may have upon this relationship. Based on a theoretical framework consisting of ability-based EI and the full-range theory of leadership, it was hypothesized that EI would be positively correlated with transformational leadership. In addition, based upon the arousal regulation theory of affect, it was hypothesized that affect intensity would be a statistically significant moderator of that relationship. A convenience sample of leaders (N = 142) working in the hospitality industry completed the Mayer Salovey Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire form 5X, and the Affect Intensity Measure. Pearson's Product-Moment correlational analysis revealed that, consistent with expectations, total EI scores and the managing emotions branch scores of EI were positively correlated with transformational leadership; however, the branch scores for perceiving, using, and understanding emotion were not. Contrary to expectations, affect intensity was not a statistically significant moderator in this sample. Findings from this research support the proposition that EI may best predict transformational leadership within service-based environments where employees face intense emotional labor demands. A thorough understanding of the ways in which EI predicts leader behavior will not only help organizations improve leader selection and development, but also help to improve vital social outcomes, such as employee job satisfaction, engagement, and well-being.