Emotional Intelligence and the Latent Discursive Challenge to IR.

Ian Harriss

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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    Emotional Intelligence has captured both the academic and the popular imagination. In this paper I argue that IR researchers and practitioners need to understand EI as a discursive construct. The thrust of EI is to postulate a postmodern view of both the individual employee and the organisation within which that employee is situated. Even more broadly, EI captures the zeitgeist of fast capitalism in a contemporary global context. As conceived by Salovey and Mayer (1990), EI straddles the discourse of modernity and postmodernity. It has residues of techno-cognitive values characteristic of modernity, but it postulates an information processing ontology in keeping with the information technology revolution of the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the hands of Goleman (1995, 1998), there is a significant shift to a decentred malleability, or plasticity, that is characteristic of a postmodern sensibility. Goleman’s organisational employee is an individual in a continuous process of invention and re-invention. Considered from the perspectives of both HR theory and the workplace agenda of the Howard government, these trends in both the workplace and the broader cultural discourse must be fully understood. The work of Goleman signals a decisive shift in managerial thinking. The task of management is no longer the organisation of discrete factor inputs. It is now the management of rapidly moving emotional and informational flows within flattened organisational structures. If the analysis put forward in this paper is correct, then those involved in the field of IR will have to carefully monitor their theoretical models and discursive constructs if what they say is to resonate in the broader public imagination.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAIRAANZ conference 2007
    Subtitle of host publicationDiverging employment relations patterns in Australia and New Zealand
    Place of PublicationAuckland, New Zealand
    ISBN (Electronic)0868691119
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    EventAssociation of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ): 2007 Annual Conference - Auckland, New Zealand, New Zealand
    Duration: 07 Feb 200709 Feb 2007


    ConferenceAssociation of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ)
    Country/TerritoryNew Zealand


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