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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2015, Vol. 47 Issue (9) : 1152-1161     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01152
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The Effect of Leader Emotional Intelligence on Group Performance and #br# Employee Attitude: Mediating Effect of Justice Climate and Moderating Effect of Group Power Distance
RONG Yan1; SUI Yang2; YANG Baiyin1
(1 School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China)
(2 Donlinks School of Economics and Management, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100084, China)
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Abstract  

Recently, increasing numbers of researchers have shown interests in leader emotional intelligence. Even though some of them are optimistic on the relation between leader emotional intelligence and team performance, critics still remain and mixed results are found. What’s more, the mechanisms and constrains that explain the effectiveness of leader emotional intelligence, especially at group level, are relatively unexplored. We address those research gaps by exploring the effect of leader emotional intelligence on leader-member interaction in the perspective of justice climate and group power distance. We also synthesize the performance and attitude at the group level to further examine the influence of leader emotional intelligence in working groups. Justice climate is a suitable reflection of leader-member interaction while emotional intelligence underlines leaders’ social skills. So that, exploring the effectiveness of leader emotional intelligence in the perspective of justice climate grasps the essential characteristic of emotional intelligence. On the other hand, group power distance is a contextual factor that affects the influence of leaders on group outcomes, thus it constrains the extent to which leader emotional intelligence could be effective. The sample for this study consisted of 74 working groups. We used the ability model to define emotional intelligence because it showed better psychometric properties. The questionnaires for leaders included emotional intelligence, group performance, and organizational citizenship behavior, while the questionnaires for group members included procedural justice, interactional justice, satisfaction and organizational commitment. Justice, power distance and four dependent variables were aggregated to group level. Multiple mediator model, moderated mediation and bootstrapping were used in the analysis. The result showed significantly positive relations between leader emotional intelligence and group level outcomes such as task performance, organizational citizenship behavior, satisfaction and organizational commitment. Those relations were mediated by procedural justice climate or interactional justice climate. Furthermore, group power distance moderated the relation between leader emotional intelligence and interactional justice climate: the relation is stronger in groups with higher, rather than lower, group power distance. Group power distance worked indirectly through interactional justice climate to affect group performance and attitude. The current study makes significant contributions both theoretically and practically. Theoretically, we join the debate of emotional intelligence’s effectiveness by showing promising evidences supporting the positive effects of leader emotional intelligence on both performance and attitude at the group level. We also demonstrate the mechanism and contingency in the perspective of leader-member interaction by examining the roles of justice climate and group power distance. Practically, the result of this study suggests that emotional intelligence is an important ability we should consider when selecting the leaders. Leaders can make use of their emotional intelligence to create a justice climate in the organizations. Leaders should also pay attention to group power distance because it will affect the effectiveness of their emotional intelligence.

Keywords emotional intelligence      leadership      organizational justice climate      group power distance     
Corresponding Authors: SUI Yang, E-mail: suiy@ustb.edu.cn   
Issue Date: 25 September 2015
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RONG Yan; SUI Yang; YANG Baiyin. The Effect of Leader Emotional Intelligence on Group Performance and #br# Employee Attitude: Mediating Effect of Justice Climate and Moderating Effect of Group Power Distance[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2015, 47(9): 1152-1161.
URL:  
http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01152     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2015/V47/I9/1152
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