Building a model of group
Department of Public Administration, Florida Atlantic University,
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Purpose – This paper aims to review and re-conceptualize group emotional intelligence (GEI). It
seeks to analyze past understandings of GEI to arrive at the conclusion that the concept may be
multifaceted. GEI has been a challenge to distinguish theoretically due to inadequate theoretical
understanding and improper empirical analysis.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper provides a model of GEI and proposes a means of
empirical evaluation of the concept. The objectives are achieved by a critical appraisal of the literature
to demonstrate theoretical issues that demonstrate the multifaceted nature of the concept.
Additionally, past methods of empirical evaluation of group emotional intelligence (GEI) are critically
appraised and alternate means are proposed.
Findings – The complexity of the construct requires a more sophisticated evaluation of group
emotional intelligence. The paper provides a theoretical model that may demonstrate how GEI is
developed in the group. Proposed methodological means of analysis may provide researchers with
tools to empirically evaluate the concept.
Research limitations/implications – The paper represents an initial query into the multi-faceted
nature of the construct of group emotional intelligence. It proposes a means of analysis of the construct
but further research is needed to develop the model from an empirical standpoint and conduct research
on the validity of the model.
Practical implications – The practical implications of the model suggest that organizations that
wish to develop emotional intelligence in their groups utilize both aspects of the model, norms building
and an outward contextual approach. The development of both aspects of the model strengthens group
behavior but also avoids group think.
Originality/value – The value of this paper lies in its ability to provide a multi-faceted model and
deﬁnition of group emotional intelligence. Earlier perspectives of the concept either focused on an
internal approach, or a contextual approach. By bringing both aspects together in a model and
theorizing the beneﬁts of utilizing both aspects of group emotional intelligence in organizational
groups, the paper provides managers and group leaders with a new approach on developing the
emotional intelligence in their groups.
Keywords Group emotional intelligence, Conceptual issues, Measurement issues, Proposed deﬁnition,
Proposed model, Modelling, Group dynamics
Paper type Conceptual paper
In recent years behavioral management literature has created and utilized the group
level construct of group emotional intelligence (GEI) in work groups and work teams.
This paper is a re-conceptualization of GEI. It analyzes past literature on workgroup
emotional intelligence (EI) and explores its theoretical development and conceptual
understanding. This paper shows that GEI may suffer from a lack of adequate
empirical measurement since past literature does not contain an acceptable measure of
GEI. By critically reviewing past theoretical and empirical literature on group level
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Team Performance Management
Vol. 17 No. 7/8, 2011
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited