Emotional intelligence and leader member exchange

Peter J. Jordan (Work Organization and Wellbeing Research Centre, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia)
Ashlea Troth (Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Publication date: 10 May 2011



The purpose of this paper is to examine the mediating effect of leader member exchange (LMX) on the relationship between followers' emotional intelligence and the outcomes of turnover intention and job satisfaction.


Using a longitudinal design, survey data were collected from 579 employees within a private pathology company. Measures of emotional intelligence and LMX were collected at Time 1 and employee turnover intentions and job satisfaction were collected at Time 2.


The results show the quality of LMX mediates the relationship between follower emotional intelligence and both turnover intention and job satisfaction.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation is the use of a self‐report measure of emotional intelligence. While this published measure has been shown to be valid and reliable, there are debates over the validity of self‐report measures of emotional intelligence.

Practical implications

The authors contend that encouraging more emotionally intelligent responses in employees may enhance the quality of LMXs and improve employee attitudes.


Although the relationship between emotional intelligence and LMX has been theorized, the study described in the paper is the first to use a workplace sample to empirically test the relationship between emotional intelligence and measures of turnover intention and job satisfaction with LMX from a follower's perspective as a mediating variable. As such, this study enables us to explore the tension between an organization's interest in the efficient use of time to focus on core activities and the followers' desire to maintain high‐quality relationships with their leaders (a time consuming process).



Jordan, P. and Troth, A. (2011), "Emotional intelligence and leader member exchange", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 260-280. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437731111123915

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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