Relationships Between Critical Thinking, Emotional Intelligence, and Effective Leadership Practices in Veteran-owned Small Businesses

Relationships Between Critical Thinking, Emotional Intelligence, and Effective Leadership Practices in Veteran-owned Small Businesses

Author: 
Walter J. Bruning
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
Previous research has not definitively explained to what extent the concepts of emotional intelligence and critical thinking contribute to effective leadership practices. The focus of this correlational study was to determine if a researcher could use the study’s predictor variables of emotional intelligence and critical thinking ability to predict the criterion variable, use of effective leadership practices. The study sample contained 90 leaders of veteran-owned small businesses. The Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, the Watson-GlaserTM II Critical Thinking Appraisal, and the Leader Practices Inventory-Self survey instruments helped with determining the participants’ ratings of EI, critical thinking ability, and use of effective leadership practices. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, calculation of correlation coefficients, and regression analysis. The Pearson Correlation Coefficient for the relationship between participants’ overall ratings for emotional intelligence and the overall ratings for effective leadership practices was 0.102, with a 2-tailed test of significance result of 0.338 for the correlation. The Pearson Correlation Coefficient for the relationship between the participants’ overall scores for critical thinking ability and for effective leadership practices was -0.124, with a 2-tailed test of significance result of 0.244 for this correlation. The data analysis results indicated no statistically significant correlation between the study’s predictor variables, emotional intelligence and critical thinking ability, and the criterion variable, use of effective leadership practices. Analysis of veteran ratings for emotional intelligence and critical thinking ability identified opportunities for stakeholders to assist veteran-owned small business leaders to improve these skills.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated the veterans of the United States Armed Forces whose service and sacrifice have protected the individual freedoms of all United States citizens.
Acknowledgements: 
A number of individuals and organizations deserve recognition for their support in the completion of this endeavor. First, I would like to thank God for giving me the strength and ability to achieve this personal goal. I wish to express gratitude to my mentor, Dr. Stuart Gold, and to the committee members, Dr. Brian Sloboda and Dr. Linda de Charon, for their feedback, guidance, and encouragement during this process. Their support helped me continually improve the quality of my research. I also wish to thank Dr. Christina Bowers, a committee member, who withdrew due to illness. Dr. Bower’s assistance helped me to improve my writing style and hone my proposal. I also owe special thanks to the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering for their scholarship funding that enabled me to conduct this study. To my wife, Kathleen; my children, Morgan and Lance; my mother, Gladys; and my in-laws, Bill and Patsy Glenn, I cannot thank you enough. I owe them a debt of gratitude for their emotional support during the process of obtaining my doctorate. I wish to thank them for their sacrifice during this long journey. I can never repay them for the time spent away from them while working on coursework and the dissertation. I also appreciate the cooperation of MHS, Inc., Pearson, Inc., and John Wiley & Sons for their permission to use the on-line survey instruments supporting this research study. To the veteran-owned small business leaders who participated in my study, I am very grateful for your commitment to supporting this research study.