Emotional and social intelligence: a study of interpersonal, intrapersonal, social awareness, and social facility skills of information technology professionals in higher education


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Technology is exponentially growing at a rapid pace across all industries, including higher education. Those who support these technologies, information technology (IT) professionals, are susceptible to job pressure factors, such as stress, due to labor shortages and a need for more communication with people other than IT professionals across campuses. This raises concern about their ability to interact according to emotional intelligence (EI). Very little is known about two EI aspects of IT professionals (interpersonal and intrapersonal skills) and their relationship to professional roles. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationships between various roles of IT professionals in higher education and their interpersonal and intrapersonal skills of EI. The study employed an ex-post facto design. The independent variable consisted of IT personnel's professional roles, education, and social intelligence. The dependent variable was emotional intelligence, consisting of interpersonal and intrapersonal EI. Data were analyzed according to t-test, ANOVA, and correlation statistics. The participants were IT professionals at 20 four-year public universities in the Texas A&M and University of Texas systems. There were 94 IT professionals who participated in the study. The findings showed that IT professionals with a degree in technology had lower stress levels and lower self-esteem than IT professionals whose degree was in business. However, there were no statistical differences in IE among IT professionals as it related to job titles, number of years on the job, or highest degree earned. Further analyses revealed social intelligence was correlated to emotional intelligence, although the relationship was weak. The study showed that IT professional are socially awkward. Since results revealed that as social intelligence decreased so did their emotional intelligence, IT leaders should be cautious about which IT professionals they want to interact directly with students, staff, faculty, and administrators. Furthermore, IT departments may need to change hiring practices. Those IT professionals who have technical expertise coupled with good people skills can be called upon to interact with other campus personnel.
Educational Leadership, Curriculum & Instruction
College of Education and Human Development