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Emotional intelligence, conflict management styles, and innovation performance: An empirical study of Chinese employees

Su Juan Zhang (Department of Construction Management, College of Management of Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)
Yong Qiang Chen (Department of Construction Management, College of Management of Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)
Hui Sun (Department of Construction Management, College of Management of Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 12 October 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the relationship among emotional intelligence (EI), conflict management styles (CMSs) and innovation performance, and test the mediating effects of various types of CMSs. Innovation is playing a more and more critical role in the survival and development of companies. EI is assumed to be an antecedent of employees’ innovation performance. Conflict is an inevitable phenomenon in organizations, and different CMSs have different impacts on individual performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Research data were obtained from 159 employees in the construction industry in China. SPSS 19.0 was used to test and verify the hypotheses concerning the relationship among EI, CMSs and innovation performance. The authors also conducted a 500-times bootstrapping to verify the mediating roles of different CMSs.

Findings

Results indicate that EI is positively and significantly associated with integrating, compromising and dominating styles, as well as innovation performance in the construction industry. In addition, the integrating style has a significantly positive relationship with innovation performance. This research also confirms the mediating effect of integrating style on the relationship between EI and innovation performance.

Practical implications

The authors recommend that managers, especially in the construction industry, who are willing to maintain high levels of innovation performance of employees can provide EI training programs. In addition, to improve innovation performance, companies should provide employees with appropriate training emphasizing the importance of conflict management strategies, especially the integrating style.

Originality/value

Limited research has focused on the antecedents of conflict management strategies or the relationship between EI and innovation performance. A framework integrating EI, CMSs and innovation performance is put forward and empirical evidence of the relationship between EI and employees’ innovation performance is provided. This research helps to have a better understanding of the relationship between EI and innovation performance by introducing the integrating style as a mediating variable.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge funding support from the key project of National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project Number 71231006) and project of National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project Number 71271143). The authors also highly appreciate the efforts from all of the respondents to the questionnaire survey.

Citation

Zhang, S.J., Chen, Y.Q. and Sun, H. (2015), "Emotional intelligence, conflict management styles, and innovation performance: An empirical study of Chinese employees", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 450-478. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-06-2014-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited