Examination of Emotional Intelligence and Transformational Leadership Profiles of Directors and Managers of Human Resources at Starwood Hotels and Resorts
The demand for excellent service in the hospitality industry is critical. This study evolved from the author's twenty-five years' experience within the hospitality industry where managing emotions is vital to quality customer service. This study addresses the existing literature gap of the relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. A purposeful sample of 37 human resource directors and managers within Starwood Hotels and Resorts completed Schutte's (2002) Assessing Emotional Intelligence Scale, Bass and Avolio's (2004) Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire and a demographic questionnaire. To explore the relationship of emotional intelligence and transformational leadership, the study focused on emotional intelligence and leadership competencies of transformational leadership—idealized influences, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration. These competencies correlate closely with successful culture transformation, and the study demonstrated strong correlation.
Data analyses resulted in observing a statistically significant relationship between pairs of scores to pairs of measures of leadership behaviors . The results support the research of Leban and Zulauf, 2004; Mandell and Pherwani, 2003; Sosik and Mergerian, 1999). A confluence of the data analysis and literature review of the constructs—emotional intelligence and transformative learning—yielded a preliminary conceptual model, The Transformational Leadership Pathway. The proposed conceptual model, providing a basis for future research, captures the hierarchy of transformational behaviors that may provide an instructive method to bring about culture change within service organizations.
Four important recommendations for practice and research are included. One research recommendation is to replicate the study as global cross-cultural research to create better understanding of emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. Three recommendations for practice include: (a) a proposed competency model as an antecedent to transformational leadership that advances a leaders' competency in reading and interpreting social cues of followers, and adjusts behavior to align with the emotional needs of the follower, (b) adoption of ability based measures that may add to the selection process and contribute to the hiring of hospitality professionals in the workplace, and (c) consideration of replicating the study as global cross-cultural research to advance the construct of emotional intelligence contributing to transformational leadership. Additional recommendations for research and practice are included.