The Impacts Of Emotional Intelligence And Emotional Dissonance: A Systematic Review


Over the past few years, interest in emotions has been progressive. Organizations are proposed to be an important arena for the expression of emotions. Employees who are good at dealing with emotions are said to be emotionally intelligent, and those who are incapable may suffer dissonance. The purpose of this paper is to bring together all available evidence to get an amalgamated view of different impacts of emotional intelligence (EI) and emotional dissonance (ED) in a systematic way. The paper reviewed 31 research based on literature tracked chronologically from 2008 to 2018 using the primary databases; Wiley online library, Sage, Emerald, Elsevier and Google scholar. The literature is then scanned for relevance and citation counts. 21 impacts based on previous research are identified and discussed. The study foregrounds the importance of the impression that EI has a vital role in individual and organizational growth, and identifies that counter-productive behaviour, emotional exhaustion, turn-over intention, unexcused absenteeism and verbal aggression in organizational life are associated with ED. Finally, the study lists the ways to manage emotions, and it is suggested that organizations should provide a healthy work environment that attracts and retain the most valuable workers in such a way that assists employees in managing occupational stress and maintaining psychological well-being.

Keywords: “Emotional Intelligence” “Emotional Dissonance” “Job Performance” “Job Satisfaction” “Emotional Exhaustion” “Turnover Intention”


There is a rapid increase in a number of literature on emotions and how emotions influence the decisions and competencies at workplaces. Workplaces are relational environments where workers with different personalities, strengths and emotions work together for a common purpose. Emotions play an important role in daily life. The basic concepts of emotional intelligence and emotional dissonance are discussed below.

Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Solvey and Mayer (1990, p.189) defined EI as “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions”, this concept was made popular to the general public by Goleman (1995) with his best seller book ‘Emotional Intelligence’.

Several researchers have provided EI definitions over the years (Bar-On, 1997; Goleman, 1995; Bradberry, Greaves, & Sousa, 2017). This definition was fine-tuned by including four interconnected dimensions: expression of emotions, understanding and analyzing emotional information, employing emotional knowledge, and regulation of emotions (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). In the current scientific literature, there are three different approaches associated with EI, the specific-ability approach, the integrative approach, and the mixed model. Particular skills and abilities that are important to EI are focused on the specific-ability model. While in integrating approach all areas of EI are joined together from childhood onward. The four dimensions are organized hierarchically, the basic level contains perception of emotions and emotional management is on the top and most complex level. Third approach to EI is the Mixed-Model, as it targets mixed qualities. Cartwright and Pappas (2008) noticed that mixed model is similar to Goleman’s model, which includes five broad categories: intrapersonal emotion skills, interpersonal emotion skills, adaptability, stress management, and general mood. Quite recently, Bradberry, et al., (2017) explaind EI is something in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behaviour, navigates social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.

Emotional Dissonance (ED)

ED is defined as: “ maintaining a difference between feeling and feigning ” (Hochschild, 1983, p.90). It is a feeling of malaise or discomfort when the inner emotions clash with the outer world or the working environment (Abraham 1999). Festinger (1957) suggested that emotional dissonance is the human’s endeavour for internal psychological consistency with the objective of functioning better in outer world. According to him there are four paradigms of ED:

(1). Belief disconfirmation: when people suffer when they are exposed to contradictory information that is discrepant with their root beliefs, ideas or values.

(2) Forced Compliance: when a higher ranked person can force a lower ranked person to make statements or perform acts that violate better judgement, it causes ED.

(3) Free Choice: cognitive dissonance occurs when a person faces a decision of choosing an object while having some aspects of the likeness of the rejected-object; hence the decision ‘I choose A’ is dissonant with cognition ‘there are some aspects of B that I like’.

(4) Effort Justification: when a person engages himself/herself in physically or ethically displeasing activities to achieve a goal, it causes ED to occur.

It has been argued on the basis of past empirical researches that ED is a source of strain and it is harmful to employee well being (Pugh, Groth & Hennig-Thurau, 2011) and research on ED has focused on mainly two ED strategies commonly used by employees to meet display expectations. Karatepe and Aleshinloye, (2009) described ED as a feeling of unease that occurs when someone evaluates an emotional experience as a threat to his or her identity. Secondly, employees who frequently fake their emotions in the workplace experience burnout are dissatisfied with their jobs,and display turnover intentions (Karatepe & Aleshinloye, 2009; Chau, Dahling, Levy & Diefendroff, 2009).

Problem Statement

A number of researches have been done in the area how an individual’s emotions affect the working capabilities? Findings came up with the impression that emotions have a vital role in working environment where workers spend most of their day, yet people often end up with a failure, mental stress or problems in organizational life. It may be associated with dissonance, with a number of negative effects on both psychological states of mind of employees and organization they work in. This paper discusses concepts of EI and ED at the workplace, and it aims to explore the impacts of EI and ED on the individual and the organization.

Research Questions

What are the impacts of emotional intelligence?

What are the impacts of emotional dissonance?

Purpose of the Study

Emotions play a significant role in our daily life. People who can control their emotions and act wisely at workplaces are emotionally intelligent. While people who suffer from dissonance can be detrimental to the workplace, therefore, it is important to know the basic concepts and believes related to EI and ED. This article discusses the role of EI and ED at the place of work, and it aims to explore the impacts of EI and ED on the individual as well as an entire organization.

Research Methods

This study used two different research approaches to get maximum possible relevant studies. First, electronic databases of Wiley online library, Sage, Emerald, Elsevier and Google scholar were searched, and secondly, the journals of management, psychology and social sciences were explored, such as Global Business Review, Procedia-Social and Behavioural Sciences, Personnel review, Journal of Organizational Behaviour, Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Sciences and Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology using keywords, emotional Intelligence and emotional dissonance. Full research paper were selected, tracked chronologically from 2008 to 2018 to get relevant studies.


The articles selected for this review paper have many features that are presented in two different tables. Table 01 covers the papers on EI while Table 02 covers the ED. Name of author and year of publication, title, sample size, and findings are sorted out. Each study has used different variables to measure the impacts. The sample size for EI articles ranges from 80 to 859 subjects. While sample size for ED articles ranges from 57 to 1489 subjects.

Table 1 -
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Table 2 -
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Table 3 presents the impacts of EI and ED separately. Number of studies that show particular impacts are written in brackets. Out of sixteen researches from EI, six shows a positive impact of EI on work performance and seven shows a positive impact on job satisfaction. However, fifteen selected studies for ED show ten negative impacts specifically, turnover intention and emotional exhaustion.

Table 3 -
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Claims about the positive influence of EI on job satisfaction are numerous (Rezvani, Wiewiora, Ashkanasy, Jordan & Zolin 2016; Shamsuddin & Rahman 2014; Çekmecelioğlu, Günsel & Ulutaş 2012 ; Ismail et al., 2010; Sener, Demirel, & Sarlak, 2009)). Specifically, findings of these studies indicated that employees with high EI were more likely to have higher levels of job satisfaction.

Additionally, there is a strong relationship between EI and workplace behavior of employees (Makkar & Basu, 2017). It has been recommended by Heidarzadeh Hanzaee & Mirvaisi, (2013) that EI helps understanding and controlling employees’ emotions that will help in inducing positive behaviors. This study supports the idea by Hughes, (2005) that EI can be helpful in developing characters in employees to be more intelligent, adaptive and reflexive. According to Akhter, Ghufran, Hussain and Shahid (2017) employees with a higher level of EI are more adept at using their emotions to facilitate their performance at the job. Furthermore, claims about the positive influence of EI on team performance are frequent (Jordan, Peter, Lawrence & Sandra, 2009; Hur, Berg, & Wilderom, 2011; Jordan, Ashkanasy, Hartel & Hooper, 2002). Studies indicated that EI is positively linked to improved team behavior and team performance.

Researchers remained interested to understand how situational factors, such as transformational leadership, socio-demographic relationship, entrepreneurial self-efficacy and employment fits help to produce a positive impact on work output in accordance with EI. Studies by McKenna and Mellson, (2013) and Shukla and Srivastava, (2016) showed that EI skills could support the development of professional relationships, transformational leadership, and entrepreneurial self-efficacy.

Likewise, EI has a positive relationship with work performance (Bozionelos & Singh, 2017; Al Ali, Garner & Magadley 2012) meanwhile, Chen, Bian and Hou , (2015) cited that perceived transformation leadership positively moderated the relationship between subordinate’s EI and work performance. while, a study by Mortan, Ripoll, Carvalho, and Consuelo, (2014) indicated that two dimensions of EI; regulation and utilization of emotions positively affect entrepreneurial self-efficacy, while the perception of self-efficacy mediates the relationship between EI and work performance. According to Dust et al., (2018) EI plays a vital role in improving work performance and preventing employment gaps, thus EI is valuable in getting positive work outcomes.

However, ED has a significant negative impact on employee well-being, emotional exhaustion (Chau et al. 2009; Kenworthy, Frame, & Petree 2014) and job dissatisfaction (Yozgat, Calistan & Uru 2012). A high level of ED may be associated with a number of negative effects both on the psychological state of employees (Chu et al. 2012) and the organization they work in (Cretua & Burcas 2013). Findings of these studies revealed that ED intensifies exhaustion, dissatisfaction and disengagement. In the same way, those who suffered dissonance may take much time in making decision, this was examined by Pandey and Jamwal, (2015) that delay in making decision and post-purchase information seeking behaviour of customers is usually the result of cognitive dissonance. A study conducted by taking two samples of teachers and students suggested that some teachers experience ED by expressing teaching enthusiasm even though they were experiencing a comparably low level of teaching related enjoyment (Taxer & Frenzel, 2018)

Thus, ED is a difference in actual and expressed emotions; it influenced work exhaustion which ultimately reduces job satisfaction (Pugh, Groth & Hennig-Thurau, 2011) and increases turnover intention (Vennila, 2017).


Emotions play a pivotal role inside and outside the organisation as well as on person’s working capabilities. Working conditions and environment have an emotional impact on employees. The consequences of emotional states in the workplace have considerable significance for individuals groups and societies. Employees with high EI obtain favourable outcomes of personal accomplishment, job satisfaction, entrepreneurial self-efficacy, work performance, perceived transformational leadership and perceived organizational support, all the same employees with ED increases the chance of workplace deviance. It will negatively impact employee well-being and increases counter-productive behaviour, emotional exhaustion, post-purchase information seeking behaviour, turnover intention, unexcused absenteeism and verbal aggression.

From an organizational point of view

Organizations should provide healthy work environments that attract and retain the most valuable workers in such a way that assists employees in managing occupational stress and maintaining psychological well-being. This can be achieved not only by decreasing work stressors but also by increasing the personal resources of employees, including EI. The developing skills of empathy, impulse and control are necessary for successful job performance that can help workers to deal more effectively with their feelings, and thus directly decrease the level of ED.

Organizations with intense interpersonal transactions should enable their employees to overcome the negative long-term consequences of regular ED by offering temporary back office tasks and making each employee work shift more diversified. As an increased task variety is likely to enhance job satisfaction in general, and emotional dissonance will be reduced ultimately.

From an individual point of view

EI is important either self-management (flexibility and adaptability, or emotional self-control) or relationship management (influencing others, dealing with conflict, or promoting change). Research on the EI shows that positive emotional factors focused on one’s strengths and making him calmer, compassionate, and open to learning.  Becoming more emotionally conscious, allows the worker to grow and gain a deeper understanding of whom he is, enabling him to communicate better with others and build stronger relationships. As a manager who wants to be surrounded by the best team needs to get his team inspired about improving themselves, especially when it comes to emotional competencies, to understand where they stand and where they fall short of the ideal.


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Kee, D. M. H., & Zahra*, M. (2019). The Impacts Of Emotional Intelligence And Emotional Dissonance: A Systematic Review. In M. Imran Qureshi (Ed.), Technology & Society: A Multidisciplinary Pathway for Sustainable Development, vol 62. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 291-301). Future Academy.