EQ and Work Success

"It has been demonstrated that the ability of the EQ-i to predict job performance ranges from .47 to .56"


TORONTO, ON/ BUFFALO, NY, January 6th 1998 --

The first study ever comparing emotional intelligence (EQ) and cognitive intelligence (IQ) as measures of work performance has been completed at a major Asian bank. It has scientifically demonstrated that EQ is actually more important in predicting success in the workplace than IQ. While the importance of emotional intelligence in job success has been the subject of speculation over the past few years, there have been no previous studies that have directly compared workers' IQ and EQ scores with objective measures of performance.

Dr. Steven Stein, President of Multi-Health Systems Inc. (MHS), reports that "this study provides concrete evidence of what our own testing has suggested: emotional intelligence is significantly and highly correlated with job performance, while cognitive intelligence has shown a very low and insignificant correlation with performance in the workplace."

The study, by Joseph Hee-Woo Jae at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, evaluated 100 university-educated, front-line bank employees (56% female and 44% male). They were all administered the BarOn EQ-i, the world's first scientific test of emotional intelligence, along with a widely used IQ test. Each employee also underwent an independent performance review with his or her supervisor.

The study found that EQ scores were far more related to actual on-the-job performance than IQ. Indeed, IQ scores were virtually unrelated (correlation of .07), as they accounted for less than 1% of the work evaluation scores. Previous estimates have placed IQ as accounting for up to 20% of job success, although most research findings are closer to 6%. The EQ-i scores, however, accounted for an impressive 27% (correlation of .52) of job performance.

Dr. Stein said that "this very important finding empirically shows what many people have thought was the case for many years but could not support with scientific evidence."  Dr. Reuven Bar-On, the author of the EQ-i and the person who coined the term "EQ" over twelve years ago, reacted by saying that "this scientifically demonstrates that emotional intelligence is just as important, if not more important, than cognitive intelligence in predicting success in the workplace."

Note: The questions on the EQ-i (Bar-on) inventory have occasionally been released for research purposes. You may contact the inventory developer here:

Reuven Bar-On, Ph.D.
University of Texas Medical Branch
Email: rebaron@utmb.edu


Dr. Bar-On summed up his reaction to this new finding by saying, "this means that the truly intelligent human being is one who is not only 'cogtelligent' (cognitively intelligent) but also 'emtelligent' (emotionally intelligent)."  Both Dr. Stein and Dr. Bar-On conclude that this latest finding additionally confirms the EQ-i's ability to predict success in various areas of life.

In another study, carried out by Multi-Health Systems and the US Air Force, the relationship between EQ scores and actual recruitment quotas of Air Force Recruiters was examined. The EQ-i accounted for 45% of success in this study that included 1,171 Air Force recruiters worldwide. Specific areas were identified as key factors in successful recruiting, which parallel other studies MHS has carried out on salespeople, requiring similar skills. The best performing recruiters scored high on Assertiveness, Empathy, Interpersonal Relations, Problem-Solving and Optimism.

In a third study, a group of engineers were tested with the BarOn EQ-i and also given independent work evaluations. Based on the results, the EQ-i was able to predict "star performers." It had previously been thought that for technical jobs, such as engineering, these "soft skills" or emotional intelligence skills were not relevant. EQ skills have already been found to be important in more "people oriented" jobs such as sales, customer service, and managers. This study found that the EQ-i could play a significant role in helping to select high performing engineers. The "Adaptability" factor of the EQ-i was the best predictor of "star performing" engineers, accounting for 25% of the variance. Other technical groups, such as computer programmers, systems analysts, and mechanics are currently being studied.

With these three studies, it has been demonstrated that the ability of the EQ-i to predict job performance ranges from .47 to .56 (accounting for an average of 27% of the variance). Years of accumulated data on the ability of IQ to predict job performance ranges from only .20 to .30 (accounting for an average of only 6% of the variance).

from http://www.6seconds.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=15   Also see  http://www.eiconsortium.org/research/jj_ei_study.htm for similar findings in a study at Johnson & Johnson, done by the same group.

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