Kalaivani Ganesh
Course: IPhD in Education and Communication

Supervisor(s): Sue Pattison and Ann Briggs

Year of study: 3

Perception of emotional intelligence as a leadership quality among leaders in Higher Education within a psychoanalytical framework: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Effective leadership is a key determinant in the ultimate success or failure of any organisation. This paper aims to contribute to the limited literature on emotional intelligence (EI) and its influence on leadership among leaders in Higher Education (HE). The purpose is to discover how leaders’ perception of EI as a leadership quality through their lived experience influences group and organizational dynamics within the context of HE, to provide critical understanding and meaningful insights into leadership processes. The study uses a phenomenological approach for its specific focus on leaders’ perceptions of their lived experience and their attribution of meanings to this phenomenon. Method: three phases of in-depth interviews were conducted with 24 leaders from the three faculties of Newcastle University: first phase of interview was conducted with 9 Heads of school; second phase was conducted with another 10 Heads of school to validate the themes from the first phase; final phase was conducted with 5 other leaders, includes directors and development center staff, responsible for training and developing potential leaders in HE to validate the themes from the first and second phases of interview and to provide constructive feedback. The findings of study reveal that there is a general lack of awareness of EI among leaders that influences interpersonal relations and hence its organizational dynamics. The major concepts and historical development of psychoanalytic thinking from a Freudian perspective will be applied, discussed and evaluated in conjunction with the themes that emerged from the findings. Some theoretical and research implications will be discussed.

Keywords: leadership, emotional intelligence, perception, phenomenology, psychoanalytic thinking.