Enhancing a More Balanced Understanding of a Dark and Bright Emotional Intelligence: Development and Preliminary Validation of the Interpersonal Emotional Manipulation Scale
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O' Donnell, Michael
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This study builds upon previous work on the “dark side” of emotional intelligence (EI) by Austin, Farrelly, Black, & Moore (2007). Concerned by the underestimated view that traditional theories of EI place on emotional manipulation, a measure of interpersonal emotional manipulation was developed and validated. Tactically using emotions to manipulate others for both altruistic and exploitative reasons is growingly becoming known as the EI dark side (Kilduff, Chiaburu, & Menges, 2010). However our understanding of the dark side construct is still quite elementary. Six hundred and thirteen participants completed the new Interpersonal Emotional Manipulation Scale in addition to several measures of constructs expected to be related to both manipulative behaviours and EI. Items from the emotional manipulation scale grouped together to assemble a four-factor solution, each with a high internal consistency. They were: Emotional Altruism (mood improving), Emotional Malevolency (mood worsening), Emotion Concealment, and Self-serving Elicitation (influencing the moods and feelings of others explicitly for one's self-interest). Numerous hierarchical multiple regressions unveiled the incremental validity of the new measure; above and beyond the power of age, gender, trait EI, the Five Factor Model of personality (FFM), and the Dark Triad in predicting life satisfaction. In the correlation analyses, the new measure showed acceptable convergence with constructs expected to be related. Emotional Altruism showed a moderate positive correlation with trait EI, and both constructs shared a similar correlation pattern with the FFM, life satisfaction, and the Dark Triad. Emotional Altruism was unrelated to N. The remaining three factors were all associated with low trait EI, which is unsurprising considering the positive content of self-report EI scales', and EI as a construct overall. Machiavellianism (Mach) was negatively associated with trait EI and correlated positively with Emotional Malevolency and Self-serving Elicitation. High Machs have been shown to agree with items that measure the negative side of emotional manipulation in previous work (Austin et al., 2007). However, if high Machs are genuinely capable of emotional manipulation then Mach should correlate positively with Emotional Altruism. The correlation pattern suggests that Emotional Altruism is particularly fitting as an EI dark side. A scale-level factor analysis provides a supplementary view of how these constructs cluster together to form higher-order factors. We make future research suggestions that would help advance our understanding of a balanced EI construct.