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Emotional intelligence, moral reasoning and transformational leadership

Niroshaan Sivanathan (School of Business, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada)
G. Cynthia Fekken (Department of Psychology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 1 June 2002


Using university residence staff as our leaders of interest, we explored the association of emotional intelligence and moral reasoning to leadership style and effectiveness. A total of 58 residence staff completed questionnaires assessing their emotional intelligence and moral reasoning. Subordinates (n=232) rated the residence staff’s leadership behaviours and effectiveness. Residence staff’s supervisors (n=12) also provided similar effectiveness ratings. Analysis showed that leaders who reported higher levels of emotional intelligence were perceived by their followers as higher in transformational leadership and more effective. Interestingly, having high emotional intelligence was not related to supervisor’s ratings of effectiveness. Supervisors associated greater job effectiveness with higher moral reasoning. Theoretical implications and practical applications of these findings are discussed.



Sivanathan, N. and Cynthia Fekken, G. (2002), "Emotional intelligence, moral reasoning and transformational leadership", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 198-204.




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