Increasing awareness of emotional intelligence in a business curriculum-an emerging collective human ability to identify, and manage emotions to improve student team relationships.

Increasing awareness of emotional intelligence in a business curriculum

The demand for intrapersonal awareness and interpersonal communication skills is higher than ever in today’s global corporate climate, 

where “bigger is better.” 

To meet this need, business schools are being urged to devote more time and resources to teaching students how to communicate effectively. 

There has been a request for a greater emphasis on communication, leadership, 

and interpersonal skills in the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Management Education Task Force’s April 2002 report (Doria, Rozanski, & Cohen, 2003). 

Business schools across the country are responding to feedback from employers, alumni and

executive advisors by teaching students the soft skills that distinguish exemplary managers 

from their typical peers and enhance their ability to negotiate,

the “interpersonal dimension” of work life (Alsop, 2002, pp. R11–12) (Muir, 2004).


A person’s technical competence may influence their capacity to acquire, interpret, analyze, 

and react to data, but their emotional intelligence governs their ability to receive, interpret, analyze, 

and respond to signals from others and from inside (EI). Expertise in self-awareness and self-monitoring might be defined as EI.

The authors would like to express their gratitude to the journal reviewers for their constructive criticism, 

which improved the quality of this paper. 

We’d like to extend a special thanks to Theresa Moran, who provided some excellent editing input.

(Volume 68, Number 1, March 2005 44-51 Business Communication Quarterly 10.1177/1080569904273753 is the DOI.)

More people are becoming aware of the existence of EI 45 thanks to Myers and Tucker.

EI assessment

An EI assessment and short book on the topic are the first steps in the project, 

which is followed by the creation of an individual plan for improving intrapersonal and intergroup communication, 

as well as weekly diary entries detailing progress toward the plan’s objectives.

During an EI workshop in class, students use what they’ve learned about EI and tie it to their own personal goals via role-playing and discussion. 

An interview and analysis of communication helps students to learn more about emotional intelligence (EI) by interviewing people,

in the business sector who can provide insight into the application of what they’ve learned in class to the “real world.”

Understanding EI requires looking at the theory’s development and examining the model’s components.

EI Theory Development

When Edward Lee Thorndike first coined the term social intelligence in 1920, 

he defined it as the capacity to “understand and mature men and women and to behave sensibly in human relationships” (p. 228). 

Other researchers have refined this to the “ability to get along with others” (Moss & Hunt, 1927, p. 108) 

and the “ability to get together with people in general; social methodology or ease in society;

understanding of social matter; vulnerability to stimuli from those other members of a group; 

and also depth of understanding into the space – time moods or underpinning personal characteristics of strangers” (Vernon, 1933, p. 44). 

Among the several intelligences Gardner (1983, 1998) listed were linguistic intelligence, rational intelligence, 

musical intelligence, physically kinesthetic intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, and interpersonal intelligence (46 Business Communication Quarterly, March 2005).

Types of intelligence

In 1985, 1986, and 1990, Wagner and Sternberg (1985, 1986, 1990) distinguished between “school smarts” and “street smarts,” two types of intelligence. 

Theories such as these were antecedents to the idea of EI.

In 1990, Salovey and Mayer attributed with constructing the EI con struct, 

which is described as “the ability to perceive accurately, appraise, and express emotion; 

the ability to access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought; 

the ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and the ability to regulate emotions,

to promote emotional and intellectual growth” (Mayer & Salovey, 1997, p. 10). 

This encompasses “the verbal and nonverbal evaluation and expression of emotion, 

The management of emotion in self or others, 

The usage of emotional content in problem solving” by Mayer and Salovey (Mayer and Salovey, 1993, p. 433).

EI Model Components

When it comes to the intrapersonal and interpersonal dimensions, 

Weisinger’s (1998) EI model identifies three specific talents. 

It is important to be conscious of one’s own feelings and motivate oneself in order to improve one’s EI.

  • Self-awareness—To be more successful, self-awareness involves keeping track of one’s own behavior, acting on what one sees, and changing what one sees.
  • Managing emotions—Awareness of one’s emotions and utilizing that understanding to cope with events successfully rather than repressing them is an important part of managing emotions.
  • Self-motivation—Understanding and utilizing primary and secondary sources of inspiration to work through potential and adversity is a key component of self-motivation. Self-talk and self-coaching are part of that system.

Interpersonal dimensions of EI

  • Relating well—Relationship development requires excellent communication abilities as well as successful communication habits. 


  • Emotional mentoring—assisting others in bettering their own emotional control, communication, problem-solving, and performance.x

Weisinger devised a 45-item scale based on this theoretical model of EI to give a concrete 

and tested conception of EI. In two separate studies involving college students, 

the reliability of this scale’s results was shown (Tucker, Yost, Kirch, Cutright, & Esmond-Kiger, 2002; 

Yost, Tucker, & Barone, 2001). Copy of this scale may be found in Weisinger’s work, 

Emotional Intelligence at Work (1998, pp. 213-214).

EI theory for employee

Those who have a high level of emotional intelligence and a proven ability to work well,

with others are the most sought-after workers, according to EI theory. 

Employers (such as American Express, AT&T, Ford, and Johnson & Johnson) are increasingly,

turning to the EI theory for employee training and development in the last decade. 

Students’ EI and cognitive abilities, as well as their technical competence, 

must be improved if business schools are to teach students in ways that support the need for improved interpersonal communication. 

EI theory may be included into the curriculum by business communication instructors.

Incorporating EI Theory in the business communication curriculum

Research on EI shows that, unlike IQ, which is thought to be largely fixed and immutable, 

it may be increased via education (Cherniss & Goleman, 1998; Goleman, 1995). 

This student-centered learning assignment can be used with minimal class time to increase student learning.

 (a) through self-assessment, analysis, and a projected improvement plan; 

(b) by role-playing and group discussion; and 

(c) with a “real-world” communication interview of a business professional and the development of a case study. 

As a result of completing these activities, students are better able to retain and put their newly acquired knowledge of EI,

to use in the real world. Students are required to perform an emotional intelligence (EI) 

self-assessment, read Weisinger (1998), and keep a weekly notebook as part of their first assignment.


Assignment 1: EI Self-Assessment and Journaling

Here are the suggested steps: 

  1. Make EI a part of the course goals.

 2. To complete the course, students must purchase Hendrie Weisinger’s (1998) book (about $12).

  1. Use the self-assessment scale at the end of the book to have students reflect on their strengths and areas for improvement, and then assign them to read Weisinger’s (1998) book and write a short report memo (about two to three single-spaced pages with headings) outlining a strategy for improving their EI. The focus is on developing a strategy that integrates ideas from Weisinger’s book as well as a precise schedule.
  2.  Require students to submit a weekly diary entry through email to their teacher. As part of their improvement strategy, each entry should detail how they’re progressing.

 5. Memos and written deliverables should be formatted and produced in accordance with corporate         communication standards.

Assignment 2: In-Class Role-Practice and Discussion

Groups of students discuss events from the workplace as a foundation for role-playing in the classroom. 

Students use the EI construct to deconstruct the given situation while working in small groups. 

EI ideas are used to help students develop a better understanding of the dynamics of the situation,

and to enhance the outcome of the situation via role-playing. 

In order to enhance communication outcomes, students take on the roles of “Sam” and “Pat” and use EI tactics. 

Two students serve as coaches, if required, to provide advice or critiques of the conversation. 

There are role-plays and discussions with the following scenario:

Despite the fact that Sam and Pat work in the same office, they have different roles. 

They both report to the same person in charge. 

There are few visible conflicts between the two, 

But recently Pat has felt that Sam has taken over the discussion by talking about Sam’s personal troubles. 

As opposed to Pat’s opinion, 

Sam thinks that Pat is disrespectful of the workplace space by dumping papers, 

file folders, and other personal stuff all over the place while they are in use. 

Although none has spoken to the other, the atmosphere at work, which was once friendly, has turned tight.

In order to raise awareness of EI 49, Myers, Tucker

Sam’s sales contacts per week have decreased somewhat despite his history of strong performance.

A strict timekeeper, Pat, has shown up to work late many times in the last several weeks, which is unusual for him. 

Sam and Pat’s coworkers have observed the tension and talk is spreading. 

The supervisor of Sam and Pat phoned on Friday to set up a meeting for Monday afternoon with the two of them.

After their encounters with the supervisor, Sam and Pat return to their houses, 

shaken and more enraged. 

It’s Monday morning, and both of them have a goal of “getting to the bottom of things.”



Sam’s sales contacts per week have decreased somewhat despite his history of strong performance.

A strict timekeeper, Pat, has shown up to work late many times in the last several weeks, 

which is unusual for him. Sam and Pat’s coworkers have observed the tension and talk is spreading.

The supervisor of Sam and Pat phoned on Friday to set up a meeting for Monday afternoon with the two of them.

After their encounters with the supervisor, Sam and Pat return to their houses, 

shaken and more enraged. It’s Monday morning, 

and both of them have a goal of “getting to the bottom of things.”


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