Emotional Intelligence as a Credible Psychological Construct: Real but Elusive – A Conceptual Interpretation of Meta-Analytic Investigation Outcomes


  • Jay M. Finkelman, Ph.D. Professor & Chair, I-O Business Psychology The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Los Angeles, CA , USA




Emotional intelligence was thought to fill a gap that otherwise could not be explained by less encumbered traditional intelligence measures, and hence, its almost immediate popularity and appeal. The research, however, has been rather equivocal and suffers from poor operational definitions of the dependent variables and limited external validity. The results of a recent meta-analysis (Joseph, et al., 2014) demonstrated that the mixed EI measures overwhelmingly overlapped with traditional psychological constructs including: Ability EI, Self-Efficacy, Self-rated Performance, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, Extraversion, and General Mental Ability. The apparent inconsistency of the relative predictive utility of disparate measures of EI   does not preclude its consideration as a heuristic explanatory construct in organizational leadership and industrial-organizational psychology. It is reasonable to maintain that a unique predictive combination of previously known variables may still constitute a viable new construct – such as EI. Emotional Intelligence represents a heuristic explanatory device that makes a positive contribution to our understanding of organizational development and leadership behavior. Emotional intelligence, for all its ambiguity and measurement challenges, still represents a viable construct in leadership theory and organizational development. EI does much to explain why certain individuals are more effective than others in business and in life. The mere fact that the various components of EI can be predicted by more discrete and traditional measures in no way serves to diminish or undermine the utility and integrity of the concept.


Keywords: emotional intelligence, leadership theory, organizational development, meta-analysis, copyrights & patents, psychological constructs 

Author Biography

Jay M. Finkelman, Ph.D., Professor & Chair, I-O Business Psychology The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Los Angeles, CA , USA

Dr. Jay Finkelman is the Department Chair of I-O, Business Psychology & Professor.

Previously he was Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Before that he was Professor and System-wide Director of Alliant International University’s California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP), Organizational Psychology Division. He served as a senior manager, consultant and expert witness in employment, staffing and human resources management for over two decades. He has had hundreds of retentions and depositions and testified at trial, as an expert in employment practices, 52 times, equally for plaintiffs and defendants. He authored over 100 publications, including co-author of three books: The Psychologist Manager: Success Models for Psychologists in Executive Positions (Hogrefe Publishing, 2013), The 7 Attributes of Highly Competitive Staffing Firms (Crain Communications, Inc., 2010), and The Role of Human Factors In Computers(Human Factors Society, 1977).

Dr. Finkelman is an Industrial and Forensic Psychologist as well as a Certified Professional Ergonomist. He holds a Ph.D. in Industrial / Organizational Psychology from New York University and an M.B.A. in Industrial Psychology from the Bernard M. Baruch School of Business of The City College of The City University of New York (CUNY). He was a tenured full professor of Industrial Psychology at The City University of New York as well as Dean of Students at Baruch College. He also served on the Doctoral Faculty in Business, specializing in Organizational Behavior, at the Graduate Center of CUNY.

Dr. Finkelman served in a variety of senior line management positions after leaving CUNY, including Station Manager of KTVU Television Channel 2 in San Francisco, Vice President in charge of Marketing for Walt Disney television, Executive Vice President for United Personnel Services, Executive Vice President for AppleOne Employment Services, and Senior Vice President and General Manager for Kelly Services - in the Human Resource Management and Staffing Industry.

Dr. Finkelman holds Diplomates from the American Board of Professional Psychology in Organizational and Business Consulting Psychology and in Forensic Psychology. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Psychology. He is a Certified Personnel Consultant from the National Association of Personnel Consultants and a Certified Employment Specialist from the California Association of Personnel Consultants. He is a licensed psychologist in the State of California and in the State of New York and is listed in the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. He is a member of Psi Chi, Delta Sigma Rho – Tau Kappa Alpha and Beta Gamma Sigma, and received the Excellence in Teaching Award from CUNY.

He is a member of the Industrial Psychology, Consulting Psychology and Engineering Psychology Divisions of the American Psychological Association, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and the American Academy of Forensic Psychology. 

Dr. Finkelman specializes in Human Resources, workplace investigations, leadership, staffing industry management practices, training, employment discrimination (gender, age, race, and disability), sexual harassment, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), Return to Work, compensation practices, executive compensation, wage & hours, independent contractor status,   conflict of interest, negligent hiring/retention, wrongful termination, adverse impact, performance appraisal, psychometrics, statistical analysis, human factors and ergonomics.