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Emotional
Intelligence’ (Salovey & Mayer, 1990) is now being increasingly promoted as
a necessary tool for successful teamwork in project management. Emotional
intelligence consists of five main elements – self-awareness, self-regulation,
empathy, motivation and social skills see appendix 1 fig 1: which have been
found to be difficult to test for, and certainly are not as “visible” as
technical skills. How important are each of these skills for team harmony and
success remains to be seen. However, it has been found that EI has twice the
value as compared to IQ (see appendix
1 fig 2), to organisations and the
creation of successful project teams (Goleman, 1998). However, others have
labelled Emotional Intelligence an elusive concept in terms of its relevance to
project management because projects are predominantly temporary endeavours and
they are soon disbanded once the project is complete (Davies, Stankov &
Roberts 1998), In another finding by (Becker, 2003), it was claimed that EI has
proven resistant to satisfactory measurement in order to support the argument
to successful team building in projects that cut across countries and different
cultures. Nonetheless, (Goleman & Salovey, 1998) suggested that EI provides
the foundation for competencies in almost every job. In their argument,
(Macdonald, 2008) argues that EI emerges as more of a myth than a proven
science. But the question remains, does emotional intelligence play a vital
role within project management specifically in establishing sustainable project
teams. These clear differences of reason and opinion on Emotional Intelligence
identifies a divide within this area amongst academics. The initial exposure to
EI was because of a determined publication through newspapers and magazines
articles that brought emotional intelligence theory to public attention
(Goleman 1998).

These
popularisations according to Goleman (1998) equated emotional intelligence to
everything from zeal to persistence. Measurements associated with such views
identified EI with such qualities as reality testing and long lists of job
related competencies and individual independence (Goleman, 1998). This rings
true in that for example project management is an area were dealing with individuals
is a crucial aspect of effective project delivery therefore, understanding
emotional intelligence is a critical determinant to successful team integration
and project delivery (Clarke 2010). For example, in the last decade models,
theory and practices of team integration have changed significantly due to the
growing demands of multi-cultural team working and greater understanding of
cultural issues and diversity in cross boarder projects (Coleman &
Macnicol, 2015). Hence, the challenges faced by project managers in both
developed and developing countries is how to address poor project performance
due to poor people management by focusing on multicultural team working through
understanding how emotional intelligence can be used to their advantage.

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Reports
that have been published across the globe particularly in the UK which suggests
that project managers continue to highlight that, to meet set targets,
organisations need to improve their understanding of emotional intelligence and
what role EI plays in project delivery through creating effective integrated
teams (PMI, 2014). Empirical studies indicate that successful projects have
been consistently delivered by project teams that put emphasis on how to deal
with emotional intelligence from top to bottom of an organisation’s leadership
(Cobb, 2012).

The
role of EI, management and development of project teams in the global context
unavoidably leads to a consideration of diversity and other related challenges
for example cultural differences and language barriers (Livesey 2016). Within
multinational projects, it is important for organisations to help their project
managers value the international nature of the industry and develop the ability
to understand everyday work related issues from different cultural perspectives
by using emotional intelligence as a project management tool Antonakis et al
(2006). Cobb (2012), identified the main challenge facing organisations, which
are intending to work overseas as being unable to introduce practices, which
balance global competitiveness, multinational flexibility and the building of a
global learning capability were mainly due to global project team culture
complexity. Larson and Gray (2014), further argued that organisations must
develop the cultural sensitivity and ability to manage and leverage the effects
of culture complexity in project teams if they are to realise their objectives
e.g. profitability, brand value and global competitiveness. All these issues
require effective understanding of emotional intelligence within the
organisation. Ely and Thomas (2001), and Goleman et al (2002) demonstrated that
understating how emotional intelligence can be a buffer to difficulties in
managing multinational projects, increases the number of different
perspectives, styles, knowledge, and insights that the team can bring to solve
complex project problems. For example, most innovative firms, such as
Microsoft, took advantage of this by intentionally introducing multi-cultural
team working. By considering the issues of cultural complexity and its
influences upon different project teams using EI as a tool has led to great
success to e.g. Google and Microsoft projects around the world e.g. skill sets
requirements leading to team success

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