Lindebaum D and Jordan JP (2012)
Construction Management and Economics, 30(7): 575-583.
Publication year: 2012

The construction industry is traditionally seen as being slow to adopt new management techniques, especially in the domain of human resources. Recent studies have argued that emotional intelligence (EI) may be key to improved project manager performance in construction. Indeed, some researchers have argued that EI improves all types of work performance. We dispute this notion, and argue that context and nature of tasks are neglected issues in studies of EI and performance at work. The construction industry provides a unique context to test this proposition. We collected data using a sample of 55 project managers in the UK construction industry using a cross-sectional survey design. Findings suggest that project managers’ levels of EI are linked to most relational performance dimensions. However, project manager EI was not associated with cognitive task related performance dimensions. Therefore, we argue that, while contributing to some aspects of project manager performance, the benefits of EI in this present context should not be overstated. Rather, it should be only one of a set of competencies that are required by successful construction project managers.