Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Administration and Urban Policy

Committee Director

William M. Leavitt

Committee Member

Meagan M. Jordan

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh


The current study examined the relationship between emotional intelligence and ethical behavior in one of the large-sized public universities. Approximately 270 administrative employees working at Mid-Atlantic University (MAU) were asked to complete surveys that assessed their emotional intelligence dimensions as well as their level of ethical behavior. This study examined three hypotheses to investigate the relationship between each dimension of emotional intelligence and level of ethical behavior.

Results of the statistical analyses revealed that some of the four dimensions of emotional intelligence are significantly correlated, some positively and other negatively, with different levels of ethical behavior. Even though the first hypothesis states that all four dimensions of emotional intelligence have negative relationships with self-interest ethical behavior, this hypotheses is only partly supported by one dimension, regulation of emotions (ROE). Utilizing of emotions (UOE) has also a significant relationship with self-interest ethical behavior, but it is positive. Also it was hypothesized that all four dimensions of emotional intelligence have positive relationships with rules based and virtue ethical behavior; however, these hypotheses are only partly supported. Explicitly, only one dimension (UOE) is significantly positively correlated with virtue ethical behavior while the ability of regulation of emotions (ROE) is significantly positively correlated with rules based ethical behavior. Moreover, it was found that others' emotions appraisal (OEA) has a significant negative relationship with virtue ethical behavior which is contrary to what was hypothesized. According to the results of this study, a framework was developed that could be used as a practical guide by human resource departments to use to improve employees' ethical behavior at MAU and others organizations. Additionally, several recommendations were highlighted for future research.


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