Many organizational problems are poorly defined, emotionally laden, and ambiguous. These types of problems rarely have one right answer and the criteria for evaluating the appropriateness of solutions is likely to be context dependent. Further, although cognitive skills are important to effective problem solving, the nature of these problems may also require emotional skills as well. This chapter presents a study which set out to determine whether emotional intelligence as an ability contributes above and beyond cognitive intelligence to the quantity, flexibility, and quality of solutions generated to ill-structured problems. Although support was not found for the notion that emotional intelligence explains the indices of solution generation beyond that of cognitive intelligence, the findings did show that emotional intelligence was a significant predictor of one of the solution metrics, namely the average resolving power of solutions across the two problems. The findings demonstrate that emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence are separate constructs and suggest that caution be used in proposing the pervasive effects of emotional intelligence. In particular, the results of this study suggest that emotional intelligence may not equally influence all activities, highlighting the need to investigate which steps of the problem-solving process it does indeed impact.
Herman, A.E. and Scherer, L.L. (2008), "Chapter 3 The effect of emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence on the solutions generated to ill-structured problems", Zerbe, W.J., Härtel, C.E.J. and Ashkanasy, N.M. (Ed.) Emotions, Ethics and Decision-Making (Research on Emotion in Organizations, Vol. 4), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 57-81. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1746-9791(08)04003-0
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