Is trait-Emotional Intelligence simply or more than just a trait?

K.I. Van der Zee*, Remko Wabeke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


The present study examined the usefulness of trait-Emotional Intelligence (EI) among a sample of 1186 top managers who filled out questionnaires for Emotional Intelligence and the Big Five and were evaluated by a consultant on their competencies. Three higher-order factors were found to underlie the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (Bar-On, 1997): sense of accomplishment, empathy, and planfulness. Trait-EI was found to be substantially related to Extraversion, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Autonomy. Nevertheless, the EI-factors predicted additional variance over and above the Big Five in competency to support. On the whole, top managers scored higher on the EI dimensions compared with a general population sample. High EI scores were particularly found among managers from enterprising occupational environments, that is environments dominated by activities that entail persuading and leading others to attain organizational goals or economic gain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-263
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


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