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The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Ethical Judgement

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The purpose of this paper is to review the study done on the relationship between emotional intelligence and ethical judgement for people in managerial roles. This study focuses on understanding the factors that contribute to the ethical challenges faced by today’s business environment. The researchers statistically analyzed data from two online surveys to examine the interconnection between emotional intelligence and ethical decision making. The research found that emotional intelligence and ethical judgement are strongly related to relativism and the age of respondents.

Ethical Judgement

This paper reviews Hopkins and Deepa (2018) research on emotional intelligence and its effects on decision making. In today’s global business environment understanding the factors that affect ethical judgement is important. The purpose of this study, the methods used, its outcomes, real-world applications, and conclusion are summarized in the paper.

Hopkins and Deepa (2018) conducted two surveys to measure emotional intelligence and the use of ethical perspectives in different scenarios. The participants of the survey were 100 students from the USA and India enrolled in an MBA program. Emotional intelligence was measured using the Emotional Quotient Inventory in the form of a questionnaire. Ethical judgement was measured using the multidimensional ethics scale (MES). Respondents were provided with scenarios and their judgements were recorded. These surveys were conducted online. The limitation of this research was that it primarily focused on MBA students and not corporate managers.

Outcome or Summary of Major Points Covered

The multidimensional ethics scale (MES) considered four ethical perspectives to measure the judgements of respondents. The four ethical perspectives were moral equity, relativism, utilitarianism, and contractualism. Moral equity is about fairness, relativism is morality based on culture, utilitarianism considers action or judgment right if it benefits the majority of people, contractualism is morality based on point of view (“ - The world’s favorite online dictionary!,” 2018). According to Hopkins and Deepa (2018), the result from the measured data states that decision making is strongly related to relativism. No direct relationship was calculated between decision making, moral equity, utilitarianism and contractualism. The respondents of the survey have developed a particular set of values and principles based on their country of origin and their cultures which is directly associated with relativism.

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Real-World Applications of Study/Article

Ethical judgement is about being just or unjust, fair or unfair in making decisions. Unethical and improper practices in business could result in destroying the company. Some of the common unethical practices at workplaces are toxic workplace culture, bad leadership, discrimination, and harassment. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, “unethical practices spurred more than half of the largest bankruptcies in the past 30 years, like Enron, Lehman Brothers, and WorldCom, and can take a larger economic toll, estimated at $1.228 trillion.” (SHRM Foundation, 2013).

An ethical code of conduct at the workplace promotes transparency and helps to provide equal opportunities to all employees. This helps in the retention of employees and encourages positive teamwork. “An ethical workplace culture protects company assets, provides emotional security and promotes effective decision making.” (Hopkins and Deepa, 2008, p. 503). Organizations should encourage ethical behavior in the workplace. It promotes positive decision making and increases productivity.

Your Reactions to the Article

Emotional intelligence helps in managing emotions to make effective decisions. It can be explained as self-made guidelines that help to communicate, reduce stress, manage conflicts at the workplace and face challenges. Most of the time our decisions are based on gut feeling which affects our decision making. Our culture and background influence our decision making. In today’s global society, people in the workplace come from distinct cultures and backgrounds. It is important to consider ethics to co-ordinate and make decisions. American author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar has rightly said, “If ethics are poor at the top, that behavior is copied down through the organization.” (“Quotes by Zig Ziglar,” 2017). This skill set is significant to managers that help them retain employees, encourage loyalty to the company and promote honesty at the workplace.


Emotional intelligence has a direct relationship with ethical judgement. “Ethical judgement is the central step in a multistep decision-making process.” (Hopkins and Deepa, 2008, p. 503). Ethical business practices result in a good reputation of a company, high retention of employees, increase productivity, maintain strong public relations, maintain brand loyalty from customers and balances the organization’s culture.


  1. - The world’s favorite online dictionary! (2018). Retrieved October 20, 2019, from website:
  2. Hopkins, M., & Deepa, R. (2018). The impact of emotional intelligence on ethical judgment. The Journal of Management Development, 37(6), 503-511. doi:
  3. Quotes by Zig Ziglar. (2017). Retrieved August 22, 2019, from BrainyQuote website:
  4. SHRM Foundation. (2013). Shaping an Ethical Workplace Culture (p. 11). Retrieved from
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The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Ethical Judgement. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from
“The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Ethical Judgement.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Ethical Judgement. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Feb. 2024].
The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Ethical Judgement [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2024 Feb 26]. Available from:
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