Research Article: 2021 Vol: 25 Issue: 3
Ahmad Fathi Alheet, Al-Ahliyya Amman University
Yacoub Hamdan, Al-Ahliyya Amman University
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand and recognise emotions in oneself and in others. At the workplace, it helps preserve a healthy work environment through better collaboration among workers. This research study examines the link between emotional intelligence and job performance of employees working in the Jordanian retail industry. Using the data of 120 employees of different age, gender and work experience, the study finds are a significant relationship between emotional intelligence and employees’ work performance. It is also observed that emotional intelligence differs with respect to employees’ experience but not with gender or age. The study recommends Jordanian organisations to introduce emotional intelligence development programs for existing staff to improve their performance at work.
Emotional Intelligence, Work Performance, Demographic Factors, Jordan Retail Industry
Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to identifying and managing own’s emotions, as well as of other people (Peter, 2010). EI is generally associated with three types of skills. Firstly, the ability to name and identify one’s own emotions (Neubauer and Freudenthaler, 2005). Secondly, to apply own emotions on activities such as brainstorming and problem-solving (Holt & Wood, 2016). Lastly, to regulate own emotions and also helping others to control theirs (Sinha, 2014). EI is important in the workplace as it helps preserve a healthy work environment by better collaboration among workers (Donaldson-Feilder & Bond, 2004). Studies by Munshi & Hanji (2015); Shukla & Srivastava (2016) have established a positive relationship between EI and the employees in the retail industry. This study aims to understand and evaluate the impact of EI on job performance in the retail industry.
Job performance is a measure of how well employees are doing their duties (Jacobs, Hellman and Markowitz, 2013). It is one of the key indicators related to the success of an organisation (Haddadi & Yaghoobi, 2014). To determine job performance KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are used, where different industries have different KPIs (Parmenter, 2015). The retail industry has a range of KPIs, which may include sales per employee, customer satisfaction and inventory turnover (Anand & Grover, 2015). Job performance and emotional intelligence have a significant relationship as mentioned by previous researchers (Munshi & Hanji, 2015; Shukla & Srivastava, 2016). Moreover, in the retail industry due to the high level of customer interaction, the EI plays a big role.
Retail is the course of selling goods to the customers via multiple mediums of distribution (Pantano, 2014). The most common sources of distribution in the retail industry include supermarkets, general stores, online merchants, franchise shops, and department stores among others (Raju et al., 2014). The retail industry under focus in this study is the one based in Jordan, which is considered vital for the country’s economic growth (ELSamen & Hiyasat, 2017). The retail growth in the country is impressive. Over the past two years, the industry has grown steadily at 7%. It is expected that the annual growth rate would touch 10.5%, recording $1.5 billion of revenues by 2021 (Portell et al., 2019). Therefore, given the importance and growth of the retail sector in the country, the present study analyses the association between emotional intelligence and job performance in the context of the Jordanian retail industry. There have been studies to understand the impact of emotional intelligence on job performance. However, concluding evidence with respect to the retail or supermarket industry of Jordan is still lacking (Shukla & Srivastava, 2016; Munshi & Hanji, 2015; Sony & Mekoth, 2016; Haddadi & Yaghoobi, 2014; Hembree, 2018). Therefore, the present study contributes to existing scholarship on EI at the workplace by evaluating the Jordanian retail perspective.
In this section, the definitions of the variables are given and the relationship between emotional intelligence and job performance is established with the help of previous literature. Furthermore, the theoretical framework of the study is also provided.
Two leading psychologists, Peter Salovey & John D. Mayer on the topic of Emotional intelligence (EI) define it as the ability to understand and recognise emotions in oneself and in others. Moreover, the ability also involves the correct utilisation of the skills in order to solve problems, make effective decisions, and communicate with others (Derksen et al., 2002). Therefore, Salovey & Meyer (1993) state that there are four levels of EI i.e. perceiving emotions, reasoning with emotions, understanding emotions and managing emotions. Perceiving emotions refers to the ability of a person to identify and recognise emotions in others (Grewal & Davidson, 2008). Whereas, reasoning with emotions refers to the cognitive process through which a person believes something is true despite the evidence (Lorini and Schwarzentruber, 2011). Understanding emotions is the capability of a person to understand the different kinds of emotions that they feel or others feel (Spackman et al., 2006). Lastly, managing emotions level refers to the person being in control of their emotions and reacting to a situation in an appropriate manner by keeping their emotions in check (Morris & Feldman, 1997).
Emotional intelligence is a valued asset in the workplace (Cherniss & Goleman, 2001). According to a survey conducted in 2011 in the US by Harris Interactive, it was revealed that 75% of the managers valued an employee's Emotional Quotient (EQ) more than their Intelligence Quotient (IQ) (CB, 2019). EI is recognised broadly as a valuable ability, which helps in the improvement of management, relationships, communication, problem-solving in the workplace (Donaldson-Feilder & Bond, 2004). Researchers also believe EI is a skill which can be improved with practice and training (Cherry, 2019). A difference between a high emotionally intelligent workplace and the low emotionally intelligent workplace is defined in the Table 1 (Source: Hwa & Amin (2016)) below:
|Table 1 Difference Between a High EQ and LOW EQ Workplace|
|High Emotional Intelligence||Low Emotional Intelligence|
|Solving problems more easily and making better decisions.||Not taking responsibility for actions leading to a
|Not panicking under pressure.||Letting the pressure get to you and making
|Resolving conflicts with ease.||Having aggressive or passive styles of
|Having a great form of empathy.||Refusal to work as a team.|
|The ability to listen, reflect and respond appropriately to constructive criticism.||Being harsh in the criticism and not being open to the idea of
It has been established in the passages above how EI is vital in the workplace. The following passage discusses how to become more emotionally intelligent. The first step towards being emotionally intelligent is to be more self-aware (Cherniss & Goleman, 2001). Selfawareness includes the ability to be more aware of your feelings and emotions. To increase selfawareness a person has to recognise the emotional strengths and weaknesses that he or she possesses (Cherniss & Goleman, 2001). The second step is self-regulation; this involves the management of your emotions after the recognition (Vohs & Baumeister, 2016). Individuals who have good self-regulation have the capability to adapt to changing situations. To increase selfregulation, an individual must find ways to release workplace stress such as exercising or having other hobbies outside of work (Cherry, 2019). Also, to increase self-regulation, a person should be able to control their emotions in a stressful situation such as conflict with a fellow employee; furthermore, an individual should be able to think of the consequences of their decisions (Schunk, 2008). The third step for being emotionally intelligent for an individual is by increasing social skills so that the ability of a person to communicate with others is established (Wu, 2008). The fourth step is having more empathy for others (Grewal & Davidson, 2008). While the last step is being motivated in your work and also possessing the ability to motivate others (Christie et. al, 2007).
Emotional Intelligence and Socio-Demographic Variable
The earlier literature and studies have explored the influence of demographic variables on the emotional intelligence of people. A number of researchers have acknowledged a positive relationship between age and EI with old age people found to have higher EI (Schutte et al. 2007; Chamorro-Premuzic et al., 2007). Fariselli et al. (2008), noted that American research involving respondents from the age of 20-70 observed that EI increased with age. There are researches that have found women to higher skills as compared to men (Petrides & Furnham, 2000). According to Humpel & Caputi (2001), Australian research examines EI of nurses and work stress and observed that female nurses had lower EI and less experience with mental health. However, it was the opposite in the case of a male. Gur et al. (2002) elucidate that EI is high among women due to social and biological factors. In terms of biological factors, women have large brain areas for processing emotions, as compared to men. The social factors are linked to learned or innate behaviours of women and men, where women are encouraged and taught to empathetic and men are more hardened. In addition, scholars have noted that higher levels of EI in women maybe because of nurturing and influencing roles between mother and child (Lopes, Salovey and Straus, 2003).
According to Stami et al. (2018), level of employment and age were recognised as global EI predictors. It was observed that education level and genders were key predictors of the emotionality dimension of EI. Also, education level and employment level were also key predictors of the EI sociability dimension. Sergio et al. (2015) highlighted that common demographic variable of EI include but are not confined to educational qualification, gender, age, marital status, job position and work experience. In relation to gender as a demographic variable, Jorfi et al. (2011) pointed out that women as compared to men are more socially skilful, and there is a big difference in EI between the two genders.
The research on polytechnic lectures in relation to age by Kumar & Muniandy (2012) established that EI increases with age and likely to drops as the subjects grow ahead of 50 years. Jorfi et al. (2011) also supported this positive link between EI and age in their research on educational administration.
With work experience as EI demographic variable, Jorfi et al. (2011) mentioned that the work experience of employees is positively correlated with EI, indicating that the EI increases with the time an employee serves in the organisation. Kumar & Muniandy (2012) supporting this finding by identifying the EI significantly differs from the teaching experience of lecturers. In a similar context, Pooja & Kumar (2016) highlighted that the value of EI increases with a number of years an employee work in a company and EI reaches a zenith when the employee has completed or serve around 20 years in a company. However, more working experience may cause a decline in the EI value for the employees.
On the other hand, Marembo & Chinyamaurindi (2018) studied the impact of EI demographic variables among career academics. Based on the ethnic background of participants, a significant difference in the EI level was noted. Nevertheless, no noticeable difference could be found in EI levels based on the work experience, age and gender of the respondents. To conclude, different demographic variables have can have an impact on the EI level, however, the impact can differ in terms variables like age, gender, ethnicity, educational background etc.
Emotional Intelligence impact on Job Performance
The evidence about the relationship between job performance and emotional intelligence (EI) is very clear; however, there is a lack of consensus regarding what factor of EI creates a difference in job performance. In the present time, the very idea of EI has become an important subject in the studies of Psychology and has been drawing much attention from scholars (Barbey et al., 2012). The introduction of EI is the knowledge or capacity to deal effectively with emotions and the ability to foresee job performance (Pekaar et al. 2017).
According to Lopes et al. (2006), EI has turned out to be an interesting subject for discourse among scholars for years. It is usually defined as a fragment of social intelligence comprising of the ability to see the emotions of others, can distinguish these kinds of emotions, and assess the emotions on the basis of received information as guidance to react and to think (Mayer et al., 1990; Wong, 2015). On the contrary, Poon (2002) has defined EI as the capability to identify the feelings of own and others to inspire one-self and rightly deal with the emotions in a relationship. On the other hand, Ones et al. (2015) highlighted that job performance is a significant concept in organisational research and practice as it acts as a key role in the decision making of personnel, i.e. retention and promotion of workforces, merit-based compensation etc. EI has the ability to clearly elucidate that workplace performance of the general population. On which it was stated by Boyel et al. (2011) that EI creates inventiveness and innovation in employees, and therefore, aids in changing and influencing the job performance of individuals. Rosete & Ciarrochi (2005) further explained that workforce with higher EI are found to have improved working relationship with their managers and employee and show higher integrity, as they can increase positive and better communications which eventually results in improved performance (Wong, 2002; Dhani et al., 2016). In terms of job performance, Lopes et al. (2006) pointed out that job performance helps in increasing communication and collaboration in a company which another capacity of EI. The EI is helpful in altering endeavours, performance and training and management viability of a company inside the company.
Earlier research published in the Applied Psychology Journal examined the outcomes of number studies into the association between job performance and self-reported EI, using the data of more than 2000 plus adult employees. It was observed that there exist 7 traits of EI that made a key difference to job performance which include; cognitive ability, ability EI, extraversion, emotional stability and conscientiousness (Bailey, 2015).
In a similar context, Higgs (2004) examined the associated between performance and EI and found a strong relationship between the two variables. Nel & De Villiers (2004), examined the same variables in the context of the call centre environment, and they also observed a strong association of EI with job performance. However, it was noted in the study of Gryn (2010) that there was not statistically noteworthy link between job performance and overall EI. In a similar context, Shamsuddin & Rahman (2014), attempted to assess the link between EI and job performance in the environment of a call centre with the focus on call centres situated at Kuala Lumpur, involving more than 100 respondents. The outcome of the research pointed out that there was a significant link between job performance and EI. In addition, the two dimensions of EI significantly increased to job performance; use of emotion and regulation appraisal emotion. Likewise, Gryn (2010) also examined the association between job performance and perceived EI in the context of inbound call centre leaders. The outcome of the research revealed that there was a lack of a statistically significant link between job performance and EI among the leaders of the call centre. The researcher recommended that as self-management arose as a key element impacting job performance, therefore it the skills of self-management can be crucial for leadership to influence organisational and employee performance.
On the other hand, Mohamad & Jais (2016) addressed the gap in the research by investigating the role of EI in the job performance of teachers. The research examined the association between EI comprising four dimensions such as social skill, self-motivation, selfawareness, self-regulation and job performance. The questionnaire survey was used to collect the data and a significant relationship between noted between job satisfaction, performance and EI. It was recommended in the study that organisations need to identify the noteworthy role of EI in developing human capital that results in high-performance of employees.
Han et al. (2019) investigated the relationship between job performance and EI across male and female executives. Around 162 executives were considered for the research and it was revealed that even though female executive have usually higher EI as compared to male executives, their dispassionate emotion abilities were not considered by their leaders, not it positively added to the leader’s rating of their existing job performance and even when their leaders observed their emotional abilities. On the other hand, it was noted that the ability of the male executive to assess emotions were not only identified by their leaders but also positively added to their job advancement potential and performance rated by their leaders. Therefore, indicating that emotional abilities and emotions can be one of the significant areas in which strong prejudices and gender-based stereotypes happen to produce and enlarge the gender differences in the organisation.
Also, Dhani et al. (2016) examined the association between job performance and EI. It was noted by the researchers that higher EI creates superior working relationships in the organisation. The outcome of the study was in tandem with the earlier findings and was observed that employees having higher EI are more efficient in their teamwork, are competent, accurate and punctual as compared to the ones having low EI.
Therefore, on the basis of above-mentioned empirical evidence, it can be fair to assert that EI has a positive and significant association with job performance. However, comprehensive research with more evidence is required to establish concrete results as to what extent EI plays a role in impacting job performance. In this regard, the present study will be helpful in addressing this gap.
The idea of EI comprises five components that were introduced by best-selling author and a psychologist, Daniel Goleman. Cherry (2019) mentioned those five components of EI; self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy and motivation. The early theory of EI was described in 1990 by Salovey and Mayer explaining that the components of EI are the social intelligence perspective presented by Howard Gardner (2012). In terms of models, Faltas (2017), mentioned that there are 3 key models of EI; (A) EI performance by Goleman; (B) Bar-On’s EI competencies model and (C) EI ability model by Mayer, Salovey and Caruso.
As per the performance model of Goleman, EI comprises a group of competencies and skills which are emphasized on four capabilities such as social awareness, relationship management, self-regulation and self-awareness (Ololube, 2016; Cassady & Eissa, 2008). Further, these capabilities constitute the basis of subscales of EI which include; emotional selfcontrol, emotional self-awareness, positive outlook, adaptability, achievement orientation, inspirational leadership, teamwork, empathy, coaching and mentoring, influence, conflict management and organisational awareness (Craig, 2019).
In accordance with Bar-On’s EI competencies model, EI is the mechanism of interconnected behaviour that emerges from social and emotional competencies. It has been argued that these competencies impact behaviour and performance. This model of EI also comprises of five scales which include; stress management, decision making, interpersonal, selfexpression and self-perception (Craig, 2019). On the other hand, the EI ability model by Mayer, Salovery & Caruso (2004) advocates that information from managing emotion and perceived comprehension of emotions are used to assist for guidance and thinking in decision making. Just like other models of EI, the ability model of EI is also categorised into four branches; perceive emotion, use emotion to facilitate thought and managing and understanding emotion (Faltas, 2017).
To summarise, the characteristics or markers identified in the aforementioned models of EI which are assembled by scientific experts and psychologists can be awoken in people with the right coaching. In this regard, the successful managers readily emphasise on request assistance and feedback when required. Also, the understanding of people’s emotions can help to improve relationship skills, and hence the ability to communicate and influence others. By understanding the emotions of people, it will be easy for managers and leaders to proceed with team-building exercises, coaching and training in networking and negotiation.
In this section, the research methodology applied in this present study is explained. The research methodology is the specific techniques used within a study, to identify, select, process and analyse the collected data.
Research Approach and Design
The research approach is the procedure or plan of the overall research (Quinlan et. al, 2019). There are two main types of research approaches i.e. quantitative and qualitative (Sekaran & Bougie, 2016). This research is based on a quantitative approach since the researcher assumes a positivist philosophy. This approach is selected within an aim to use structured tools and gain statistical evidence (Kaur, 2016; Manning & Stage, 2015). It is preferred over the qualitative approach since the research uses numerical data for statistical analysis rather than performing indepth research via open-ended questions (Teherani et al., 2015; Bryman, 2017). For performing quantitative analysis, the data source would be primary; this form of data is collected is first hand by the researcher for analysis (Neelankavil, 2015).
The research design of the present study is descriptive and correlational. A descriptive research design is the one that describes the sample population in the most accurate way (Stangor & Walinga, 2019). Descriptive research design may be observational; based on a survey; or a case study (BTL, 2018). In the present study, the survey method is used. Whereas, Correlational design is used to examine relationships between the variables (Curtis, Comiskey and Dempsey, 2016). More specifically, the correlational design is also used in the present study to determine the link between emotional intelligence and job performance.
Sampling and Data Collection
A sampling technique is a method for selecting the respondents (Etikan et al., 2016). There are multiple types of sampling techniques such as systematic, convenience and random (Palinkas et al., 2015). The sampling technique used in the present study is convenience. The convenience method involves collecting data with a preference for proximity and accessibility (Etikan et al., 2016). The data collection instrument chosen is a questionnaire survey. Through this method, the researcher is able to obtain first-hand and the latest knowledge regarding the topic. The sample population are staff working in Jordan’s retail sector, while the sample size of the study is 120. The sample size could be termed as adequate since previous studies on a similar topic had around the same number of respondents (Grewal & Davidson, 2008; Vohs & Baumeister, 2016).
Ethical considerations in researches are essential as it represents the values of the author (Wolgemuth et al., 2015). Therefore, the ethical considerations are made on three fronts. Firstly, the respondents were shown the utmost respect and none of the respondents was forced to fill the survey, thus full consent was taken. Secondly, all the authors whose material or ideas were used have been properly cited and referenced. Lastly, no demographic data of the clients was disclosed to any third party.
Findings and Analysis
In order to assess the relationship between the emotional intelligence and job performance of employees working in the retail sector of Jordan, different statistical tools have been applied to the gathered information from the questionnaire survey.
Out of 120 respondents of the current study, the frequency results revealed that 66.7% of males took part in the study. Furthermore, in the case of age group, the larger percentage of respondents were seen to lie in less than 30 years of age group while 33.3% indicated to be between 40 – 49 years of age. Moreover, very few were found to be aged among the other age groups. In addition, when asked about the work experience of these employees 45.8% had 1-2 years of experience, 22.5% had 3 to 4 years of experience while 21.7% indicated to have less than 1 year of experience in the organization. Only 10 percent of the respondents had more than 4 years’ experience (Table 2).
|Table 2 Gender, Age and Experience|
|Less than 30 years||42||35|
|30 – 39 years||22||18.3|
|40 – 49 years||40||33.3|
|50 – 59 years||11||9.2|
|More than 59 years||5||4.2|
|Less than 1 year||26||21.7|
|between 1 to 2 years||55||45.8|
|between 3 to 4 years||27||22.5|
|between 5 to 6 years||9||7.5|
|7 years and above||3||2.5|
Emotional Intelligence Measures
Emotional Intelligence is measured using the constructs under Goleman five capabilities model (Cherry, 2019). Each of the five variables was asked to the respondents through a range of items. These responses are then averaged to formulate one item for each construct. For example, five items of self-awareness have been averaged to form one variable. These variables are then assessed on the basis of descriptive analysis. The result from the same shows that on average the employees have strongly agreed (above 4.5 means) that they find themselves emotionally selfaware. While they have also agreed to have self-control over their emotions, self-motivated, have empathy for others and are good at people’s skills (Table 3).
|Table 3 Data Analysis|
|Valid N (listwise)||120|
Work Performance Measures
In the case of Work Performance, the overall construct has been measured using three constructs of workload, work stress and salary. The overall descriptive findings from the same indicate that employees from the retail sector of Jordan agree to perform well under workload (4.2), work stress (4.42) and current salary and benefits (4.33) (Table 4).
|Table 4 Work Experience Analysis|
|Valid N (listwise)||120|
Emotional Intelligence and Demographic Variables
For assessing the mean difference in emotional intelligence between gender groups, an independent sample t-test has been performed. The results from the same indicate that overall test results are insignificant at 0.05 level and there lies no significant difference in the EI of male and female employees in the retail sector of Jordan. Furthermore, it must be noted that this particular finding contradicts the findings of Gur et al. (2002); Lopes et al. (2003), which reflected that women tend to have more emotional intelligence than their male counterparts (Table 5 & 6).
|Table 5 Group Statistics|
|Table 6 Independent Samples Test|
|Levene's Test for Equality of Variances||t-test for Equality of Means|
In the case of age groups, one-way ANOVA has been performed to evaluate the mean difference in emotional intelligence between different ages. The results from the same also indicate an insignificant mean difference between different age groups since the sig value is greater than 0.05 level of significance. Based on this result it can be said that the current findings from the retail sector of Jordan, contradicts the findings of Kumar and Muniandy (2012) and Jorfi et al. (2011) which supported a positive link between EI and age (Table 7).
|Table 7 ANOVA|
|Sum of Squares||df||Mean Square||F||Sig.|
In the case of work experience groups, the ANOVA results indicate that there lies a significant mean difference in the emotional intelligence of different work experience groups. The test results are significant at the 0.05 level of significance. These findings are also supported by Jorfi et al. (2011), Kumar & Muniandy (2012); Kumar & Muniandy (2012) who found that the value of emotional intelligence increases with the rise in experience of the employees within a company (Table 8).
|Table 8 ANOVA (2)|
|Sum of Squares||df||Mean Square||F||Sig.|
Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Job Performance
For evaluating the significant relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and job performance (JP), the following correlation analysis has been performed. The five constructs of EI and the three constructs of JP have been averaged to one variable each. These two variables’ correlation results revealed that there lies a significant positive relationship between them. The test results are found to be significant at the 0.01 level. Moreover, the findings are aligned with the findings of Boyel et al. (2011); Wong & Law (2002); Dhani et al. (2016); Higgs (2004) (Table 9).
|Table 9 Correlations|
|Emotional Intelligence||Job Performance|
|**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).|
Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Job Performance
In order to determine the influence of emotional intelligence among employees and their overall performance towards their jobs, the linear regression analysis has been performed. The results from the same indicate that the fitted model is significant at 0.01 level and overall explains 15.3% variation in job performances due to changes in EI.
The beta coefficient of the model reflects that the individual impact of emotional intelligence is significant at 0.01 level and 8.31% variation in performance of the employees is expected with a 10% change in emotional intelligence (Table 11).
|Table 10 Model Summary|
|Adjusted R Square||Std. Error of the Estimate|
|Model||Sum of Squares||df||Mean Square||F||Sig.|
|a. Dependent Variable: Job Performance|
|b. Predictors: (Constant), Emotional Intelligence|
|Table 11 Coefficientsa|
|Model||Unstandardized Coefficients||Standardized Coefficients||t||Sig.|
|a. Dependent Variable: Job Performance|
The findings of this regression model are aligned with the findings from past literature whereby suggesting a positive influence of all constructs of emotional intelligence on work performance (Boyel et al., 2011; Wong & Law, 2002; Dhani et al., 2016; Higgs, 2004).
Considering the aim of this research on evaluating the link between emotional intelligence and job performance of employees working in the retail sector of Jordan, both literature and current research findings indicated a positive association between two variables. Furthermore, for understanding the relationship between emotional intelligence and different demographic variables, mean difference tests indicated that no significant relationship exists with age and gender. However, work experience significantly affects emotional intelligence level of employees. More specifically, senior employees score higher than a less experienced employee in emotional intelligence. Moreover, the correlation and regression analysis confirmed the positive association and influence of emotional intelligence on the work performance of the employees of Jordan retail sector. Based on the current findings, certain recommendations can be made. Firstly, the companies in Jordan must incorporate emotional intelligence testing while recruiting new employees. Secondly, it is also suggested that companies can introduce emotional intelligence development programs for existing staff to improve their performance at work. Lastly, for future researchers, it is suggested that different sectors of Jordan must be considered with a relatively larger sample and individual impact of each construct of emotional intelligence can be tested on the employee’s job performance. Moreover, the inclusion of cross-country analysis is also recommended.
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