Scientific article

The Geneva Emotional Competence Test (GECo): An ability measure of workplace emotional intelligence

Published inJournal of Applied Psychology, vol. 104, no. 4, p. 559-580
Publication date2019

Emotional intelligence (EI) has been frequently studied as a predictor of work criteria, but disparate approaches to defining and measuring EI have produced rather inconsistent findings. The conceptualization of EI as an ability to be measured with performance-based tests is by many considered the most appropriate approach, but only few tests developed in this tradition exist, and none of them is designed to specifically assess EI in the workplace. The present research introduces the Geneva Emotional Competence test (GECo)-a new ability EI test measuring emotion recognition (assessed using video clips of actors), emotion understanding, emotion regulation in oneself, and emotion management in others (all assessed with situational judgment items of work-related scenarios). For the situational judgment items, correct and incorrect response options were developed using established theories from the emotion and organizational field. Five studies (total N = 888) showed that all subtests had high measurement precision (as assessed with Item Response Theory), and correlated in expected ways with other EI tests, cognitive intelligence, personality, and demographic variables. Further, the GECo predicted performance in computerized assessment center tasks in a sample of professionals, and explained academic performance in students incrementally above another ability EI test. Because of its theory-based scoring, good psychometric properties, and focus on the workplace, the GECo represents a promising tool for studying the role of four major EI components in organizational outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

  • Adult
  • Aptitude/physiology
  • Emotional Intelligence/physiology
  • Emotions/physiology
  • Employment/psychology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Psychometrics/instrumentation
  • Social Perception
Research group
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 51NF40-144607
Citation (ISO format)
SCHLEGEL, Katja, MORTILLARO, Marcello. The Geneva Emotional Competence Test (GECo): An ability measure of workplace emotional intelligence. In: Journal of Applied Psychology, 2019, vol. 104, n° 4, p. 559–580. doi: 10.1037/apl0000365
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0021-9010

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