Engage Them through Emotions: Exploring the Role of Emotional Intelligence in Public Sector Engagement

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The public administration literature has demonstrated the valuable impact of employees' engagement on public service. However, studies conventionally deal with engagement as a unidimensional construct, with few explanations for its evolution. To promote knowledge in this arena, the authors propose public sector engagement (PSE) as a multidimensional construct, comprising social responsibility, work engagement, and organizational citizenship behaviors at the individual level. The authors develop and examine a set of hypotheses proposing that PSE may be augmented by enhancing civil servants' emotional intelligence (EI) as well as their supervisors' EI. Using a two-study multimethod approach (i.e., an experiment and a survey), the authors identify employees' and managers' high EI as a critical resource in enhancing PSE. The article concludes by theoretically framing the findings using the job demands-resources model and illuminating the practical value to public service of better selection and training of high-EI employees and managers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-852
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by The American Society for Public Administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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