Emotional intelligence, defined as the individual capacity to be aware of and manage emotions (Mayer and Salovey, 1997), is a critical skill for future employees and one of the core competencies for the 21st Century learner. Emotional intelligence is frequently examined as an individual ability and only a few studies consider emotional intelligence as a collective skill (Bell, 2007; Côte, 2007). Following Marks’s et al. (2001) work about team emotional intelligence and considering team emotional skills as a pool of team resources (Jordan et al., 2002), the goal of the present study is twofold. First, we describe team emotional intelligence in a sample of university students. Second, we examine the cross-level relationship between team emotional intelligence and individual satisfaction with the team.

A sample of 75 students belonging to 25 teams from two degrees (Psychology and Industrial Relations) participated in the study. They answered the Spanish version of the Work Group Emotional Intelligence Profile-Short Version questionnaire (WEIP-S, López-Zafra & Pulido, 2012) to assess team emotional intelligence. The scale captures four dimensions: “awareness of own emotions”, “awareness of other’s emotions”, “management of own emotions”, and “management of other’s emotions”. Students also completed a 4-item modified version of Mason and Griffin’s (2002) scale to assess individual satisfaction with the team (Spanish version, Picazo, Gamero, Zornoza, and Peiró 2014). We collected the data online after presenting the final team project.

Descriptive analyses show that university students punctuate their emotional intelligence with an average of 5.43 (SD= 0.83). A detailed descriptive analysis of emotional intelligence shows that the dimension “awareness of own emotions” presents the highest mean (5.71, SD= 1.10), whereas “awareness of other emotions” presents the lowest mean (5.08, SD= 1.10).
Multilevel analyses tested the relationship between team emotional intelligence (operationalized as the average of individual perceptions of emotional intelligence) and individual team satisfaction. Results show a direct and positive relationship between team emotional intelligence and individual satisfaction with the team (β= .68; p=.00). Besides, we found that the dimensions “awareness of own emotions” (β = .253; p=.04) and “management of other’s emotions” (β = .42; p=.01) are significantly and positively related to individual satisfaction with the team.

The generalizability of our findings is limited given that the sample is restricted to Psychology and Industrial Relations undergraduate students. The use of a self-report measure of emotional intelligence.

This is the first empirical study we are aware of to examine the cross-level influence of team emotional intelligence on individual satisfaction with the team. Our results suggest that high emotional intelligence teams generally have a sufficient amount of emotional resources available. These emotional resources increase student’s individual satisfaction with the team. We recognize the importance of team emotional skills to explain student’s satisfaction with team projects and to develop qualified workers. Offering emotional skills training to university students seems useful to prepare them to work in team projects.