The Effects of a Leader's Emotional Intelligence on Employees' Trust in Their Leader and Employee Organizational Citizenship Behavior
Victoria L. Sitter
The purpose of this study was to examine the behaviors associated with emotional intelligence (EI) and determine if there were specific dimensions of a leader's EI that would predict the development of an employees' trust in their leader and an employee's willingness to perform Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB). It was hypothesized that there would be a positive relationship between a leader's EI and an employees' affect-based trust in their leader and an employee's OCB. It was also hypothesized that an employees' trust in their leader would be predictive of an employee's OCB, as found in previous studies
(Konovsky & Pugh, 1994; Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Moorman, & Fetter, 1990).
A nonexperimental, quantitative research design was used to test the hypotheses. The level of analysis was the dyad consisting of a leader and their direct report(s). The independent variable, emotional intelligence, was measured using a self-report EI scale developed by Wong and Law (2002). The two dependent variables, an employees' affect-based trust in their leader and employee organizational citizenship behavior, were measured using self-report scales developed by McAllister (1995) and Podsakoff et al. (1990), respectively. Using stepwise regression, data from 215 dyads were analyzed. The results revealed that a leader's self-appraisal of emotion accounted for 21.5% of the variance in an employees' affect-based trust in their leader. Use of emotion was found to marginally contribute to an employee's performance of OCB (2.9%). The data did not support the hypothesized relationship between an employees' affect-based trust in their leader and total OCB, contrary to previous studies. The results indicated that, in this organization, a leader's ability to appraise and express emotion was instrumental in the development of an employees' affect-based trust in their leader. Although a leader's ability to use emotion contributed to an employee's OCB, the variance it accounted for was small suggesting that other factors predicted employee OCB in this organization. Suggestions are offered as to why a leader's EI may not have been more predictive of employee OCB and why an employees' trust in their leader is not predictive of employee OCB. The implications of the study, as well as the limitations of this study and recommendations for future research are presented.
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