For any organization with different personnel to meet its primary objectives and goals, collaboration and a mutual understanding between various departments and among staff remain key. To facilitate this mutual understanding and cooperation between the personnel, a work environment should be such as to foster free, open and honest communication between the members of staff as well as between the employers and employees (Dumbrava, 2011). In such an environment it becomes straightforward for teams to collaborate and easily share information through the available communication channels.
The mutual understanding and cooperation are by and large pegged on the ability of the individual workmates to be highly conscious and learn to manage their emotional feelings as well as the emotional feelings of their fellow workmates in the work environment. This is what forms the backbone of what is commonly referred to as emotional intelligence (Dunaway, 2013). Emotional intelligence is usually defined by psychologists to mean the ability and capacity of an individual to be able to appreciate the emotions of people in their environment, understand those emotions and effectively manage their own emotions as well as the emotions of the others in the same environment.
Emotional intelligence, generally, is meant to improve interactions with people in the environment as being possessed with a high level of emotional intelligence is usually associated with both emotional and intellectual maturity. Emotional intelligence is therefore summed up as the ability to perceive emotions, understand those emotions and to manage one's own emotions and the other party's emotions at the same time (Dumbrava, 2011). By and large, emotional intelligence tends to focus more on the ability to deal with one's own emotions in the presence of the emotions of others in the same surrounding (Dunaway, 2013). This paper is therefore aimed at finding out how emotional intelligence can facilitate successful collaboration and mutual understanding for the benefit of organizations that are burdened with constant friction between members of the Information Technology departments and the Communication department.
The advent of globalization and the Internet of Things (IoT) has seen a paradigm shift in the practices of both governmental and non-governmental organizations. Collaboration and proper and effective communication are now considered to be at the heart of this change as it is the only way that organizations can keep abreast with the changes that keep coming (Peltola, 2016). This has led to more mergers than has ever been witnessed with even the biggest of organizations being always on the lookout for other entities to collaborate with to survive in markets that are still threatening for entities that choose to go alone.
Collaboration, therefore, ensures that organizations maintain their competitive edge in the market by being able to offer solutions to even tasks that are considered impossible by those entities that refuse to collaborate. Collaboration is also seen as a response to the needs of a continually growing global market. However, there are those who have expressed resistance to cooperation despite the obvious benefits it has derived for those who have chosen to embrace it. Notably, much of this resistance has been witnessed between the Information and Technology departments and Communications departments in most organizations irrespective of the continent in which organizations are located (Peltola, 2016).
Even though the obviousness of the importance of effective communication and collaboration between departments in any organization for the success of the entity involved, the Information and Technology department has not had it easy with the communication department. Complaints have ranged from the communication teams blatantly refusing to engage the IT teams in projects to incidences where the communication team thought it essential to include the Information and Technology team at a very late stage of the projects when they should have been undertaking the project jointly from the onset of it (Mayer, Salovey & Caruso, 2004). There are even incidences of the communication team dismissing the information and technology team as not having the requirements. It is, therefore, an attempt to find a solution to this bitter relationship between these two teams that this paper deemed it fit to find out what role emotional intelligence can play in bettering collaboration between these two often opposing teams and with a specific focus on teams located in different countries.
This research shall employ quantitative methods of analysis and more specifically the meta-analysis method. Under this method, the study shall find similar instances where information and technology teams and communication teams in different organizations are unable to collaborate and effectively communicate. After that, the study shall draw comparisons and attempt to make recommendations based on the findings of these teams which shall be randomly selected.
What is the relationship between emotional intelligence and collaboration and to what extent does it promote collaboration and effective communication among teams?
Do differences in emotional intelligence affect the ability of individuals to collaborate?
Are there operating factors that determine emotional intelligence in team members and hence their ability to work?
The Theoretical Framework for Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is premised on the aspects that make it the epitome of emotional and intellectual maturity. Firstly, self-awareness which involves the ability to perceive your own emotions. Secondly, self-management which refers to the ability to understand your own emotions. Thirdly, a social awareness which attributes the ability to recognize and appreciate the emotions of the people around you (Mayer, Salovey & Caruso, 2004). Lastly, the ability to manage your emotions as well as the emotions of others in your environment commonly referred to as relationship management.
It is generally accepted that an individual possessed of the abilities that come with emotional intelligence, especially emotional awareness and emotional management, is better placed at handling tasks that involve by and great interpersonal work relationships. Better still persons who are possessed of all the abilities associated with emotional intelligence are more useful as they always remain highly motivated in the presence of all their workmates or members of whichever team they have to work with.
Sample Survey Questions
Do you consider yourself a social person?
Do you prefer working alone or with others?
How do you feel about other people giving inputs to your work?
How do you think about workmates who you consider to have higher or lower levels of I.Q?
Do you find yourself to be a sensitive person?
Do you feel you can achieve better results when working alone or when working in teams?
Three research questions were asked in this study and evaluated based on observations of the relationship between different teams all working either in a communication department or an information and technology department. Based on the outcomes of the research, the study found that as there is a direct and substantial relationship between emotional intelligence and collaboration. The higher the emotional intelligence of the members of both teams, the higher the desire to work collaboratively. However, the lower the emotional intelligence, the lower the willingness to work collaboratively (Mayer, Salovey & Caruso, 2004). Emotional intelligence remains pivotal in determining the overall team performance. A team that has members who possess a high level of emotional intelligence are bound to be more productive. This paper, therefore, recommends that organizations that have a desire to ensure that the different teams and departments effectively collaborate must work tirelessly towards increasing the emotional intelligence abilities of the members of the communication teams as well as members of the information and technology teams. Most importantly, they should work on self-management and management of others and the overall relationship management (Fernandez-Berrocal, Cabello, Castillo&Extremera, 2012). It is only through this way that the organizations will be able to improve and achieve the purpose of the collaboration as well as the global growth of members of staff.
The second question of the study that questioned whether differences in emotional intelligence contributed to the ability of individuals to collaborate is answered in the affirmative. Individuals with lower levels of emotional intelligence show a significant tendency towards resisting working with other groups and as such do not warm up to the idea of collaboration.
Social-cultural factors primarily determine emotional intelligence and the abilities that come with possessing emotional intelligence. Such social-cultural factors include the levels of education that individuals have attained age as critical determinants. Members who have reached certain levels of education find it difficult to relate to members who have either achieved levels lower than them or higher than them (Fernandez-Berrocal, Cabello, Castillo & Extremera, 2012). Younger team members have also found it difficult to connect to older members who often are not willing to try new methods as they trust the processes that they are accustomed to.
It is such differences that contribute to the differences in emotional intelligence, and hence members who are within the same age bracket or education levels find it easier to collaborate than those from of different ages or education levels. Demographic factors also contribute towards emotional intelligence. The type of role that a team plays in the collaboration and the kind of players they have to team up with bears an impact on a team's ability to collaborate (Dumbrava, 2011). More importantly, organizations that have leaders are more likely to warm up to the idea of collaboration more than teams without. This is because more often than not, leaders have the legitimacy of the members and teams will follow them knowing they have the best interest of the group at heart.
History has it that gender and ethnicity also play a significant role in the ability of teams to collaborate especially in places that have a history of racial and ethnic discrimination as teams are not so comfortable working with people who were part and parcel of their misery.
The findings of this research indicate that emotional intelligence and team effectiveness go hand in hand. The link between the two is generally characterized by workmates possessing very high interpersonal skills and show collaboration by being able to assist each other throughout the undertaking of joint projects. Workmates usually are in a position to recognize what their different roles entail and reliably work on them knowing that they owe a duty to their fellow workmates and that the success of the project depends on everyone doing their part to the best of their ability.
Emotional intelligence is also seen as being an essential tool in conflict management and resolution in the workplace. Teams that are possessed of high levels of emotional intelligence can understand that despite their differences, they must understand and accommodate those differences (Dumbrava, 2011). Emotional intelligence also brings about team cohesion and helps in building stronger ties and bonds between the workmates through a robust support system for everyone involved.
Dumbrava, G. (2011). Workplace relations and emotional int...
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