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Emotional intelligence: theory and description: A competency model for interpersonal effectiveness

James Thomas Kunnanatt (Department of Business Administration, College of Business and Economics, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 24 October 2008




Despite the crucial role that emotional intelligence (EI) could play in improving individuals' performance and career prospects in organizations, employees, executives and career professionals across the world are still in search of practical frameworks for understanding the concept. This is because EI research outputs from academics still remain mostly as correlations, co‐variations and associations between EI and other variables. This paper seeks to provide a practical framework that could help executives, employees and career advisors understand what EI competencies people need to acquire and how these could be developed through EI training.


The approach is to develop a competency‐based model of EI based on inputs from academic research and feedback from EI training specialists. An attempt is made to incorporate the role of brain theory in EI. Exploration is also made into the progressive stages and dynamics involved in typical EI training programs.


The paper brings out current research insights and highlights the strategic significance of EI as an augmenter of job performance and career advancement. The competency‐based model provides comprehensive understanding of the psychological configuration, inner mechanisms, and organization and operation of EI in human beings.


While the model holds many of the classic components of EI intact, a new sub‐competence called social influence is introduced, with cautions about the difficulty in acquiring this sub‐competence solely through EI training. Going beyond the popular literature, the paper explains the role of brain theory in EI – a dimension often ignored in EI discussions. Finally, the paper provides an abbreviated coverage of the progressive stages and the dynamics involved in typical EI training programs.



Kunnanatt, J.T. (2008), "Emotional intelligence: theory and description: A competency model for interpersonal effectiveness", Career Development International, Vol. 13 No. 7, pp. 614-629.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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