Leader Emotional Intelligence and Work Engagement in Virtual Teams within a Healthcare Service Setting: A Quantitative Study

  • Kimberly Sebastian, Ph.D. Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSU-COM)
  • James Hess Ed.D. Western Governors University
Keywords: Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Virtual Teams


Abstract Virtual working arrangements have become an important component of the operating model for healthcare service businesses to consider for a variety of reasons, including recruitment of top talent, effective deployment of workforce, and reduction in operational overhead. Concomitant with this evolving pattern of organizational structure, there has been debate in the literature contrasting the effectiveness of virtual teams to the effectiveness of co-located (face-to-face) teams. While virtual-team-focused literature has recently begun to concentrate on virtual leadership attributes versus task-orientation and/or technology, little research has been conducted to more fully understand the impact of emotional intelligence on the overall work engagement of virtual teams within a healthcare service entity. This study examined the impact of 26 virtual leaders’ emotional intelligence, as assessed by the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), on the overall work engagement of 107 virtual team members measured through Utrecht’s Work Engagement Scale (UWES). As hypothesized, a positive and significant correlation was found between the overall emotional intelligence of the leader and the overall work engagement of virtual team members, as well as, with the dimensions of vigor and dedication. No significant correlation was found with the dimension of absorption.



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Healthcare Administration