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Emotional Intelligence as a Moderator of Emotional Responses to Leadership

Emotions and Leadership

ISBN: 978-1-83867-202-7, eISBN: 978-1-83867-201-0

Publication date: 26 August 2019



This study seeks to examine how follower’s emotional intelligence influences their emotional reactions to leadership.


Data were collected at two points in time. First, I assessed the emotional intelligence of 157 participants in a laboratory setting. Then, a few weeks later, an experiment manipulating leadership behavior was conducted with same participants. After viewing the leader, the participants’ emotional reactions to their attributions of the leader’s behavior were assessed.


In line with expectations, emotional intelligence was associated with different emotional responses to attributions for the leader’s behavior. Specifically, participants lower on emotional intelligence had more extreme emotional responses to the leader than their more highly emotionally intelligent counterparts.

Research Limitations/Implications

Although emotional intelligence has received a lot of scholarly attention with regard to predicting performance and leadership emergence, we need to learn more about how it influences emotional responses at work.

Practical Implications

If emotional intelligence helps promote less extreme emotional reactions at work, emotional skills should be developed in employees.


This study is the first to examine emotional intelligence as a moderator of emotional reactions to attributions of leadership charisma and intent.



Dasborough, M.T. (2019), "Emotional Intelligence as a Moderator of Emotional Responses to Leadership", Emotions and Leadership (Research on Emotion in Organizations, Vol. 15), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 69-88.



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