Emotional intelligence and authentic leadership: a meta-analysis

Chao Miao (Department of Management and Marketing, Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland, USA)
Ronald H. Humphrey (Department of Leadership and Management, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK)
Shanshan Qian (Department of Management, College of Business and Economics, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Publication date: 2 July 2018



Authentic leadership is a popular leadership construct that stimulates considerable scholarly interest and has received substantial attention from practitioners. Among different individual difference variables, there has been a growing interest in studying the connection between emotional intelligence (EI) and authentic leadership; nevertheless, most of the existing literature on this relation was atheoretical and the results for this relation were mixed. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to clarify the relation between EI and authentic leadership.


A meta-analysis was conducted to examine the relation between EI and authentic leadership and the moderators that affect this relation.


The results of the present study indicated that: EI is significantly and positively related to authentic leadership (overall EI: ρ ¯ ˆ = 0.49 ; ability EI: ρ ¯ ˆ = 0.08 ; self-report EI: ρ ¯ ˆ = 0.52 ; mixed EI: ρ ¯ ˆ = 0.49 ); self-report EI and mixed EI have larger associations with authentic leadership than ability EI has; and the relation between EI and authentic leadership does not differ between male-dominated and female-dominated studies.


The present study couches the relation between EI and authentic leadership in theories and identifies important moderators for this relation which explain the heterogeneity in effect sizes for this relation across studies.



Miao, C., Humphrey, R. and Qian, S. (2018), "Emotional intelligence and authentic leadership: a meta-analysis", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 39 No. 5, pp. 679-690. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-02-2018-0066

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