• Emotional empathy of postgraduate students

      Lambert, Steve; Dimitriadis, Nikolaos; Venerucci, Matteo; Taylor, Michael G.; University of Chester; University of York; Brian Propaganda
      This paper focuses on the leaders’ ability to recognise and empathise with emotions. This is important because leadership and particularly transformational leadership are principally focused on an individual’s social interactions and their ability to identify emotions and to react empathetically to the emotions of others (Psychogios and Dimitriadis, 2020). Many leadership theorists suggest the ability to have and display empathy is an important part of leadership (Bass, 1990; Walumbwa, et. al., 2008). To examine the extent to which those who work in jobs with a significant element of leadership education can recognise and empathise with emotions, ninety-nine part-time postgraduate executive MBA students took part in an emotional recognition test. First, all participants were shown a sequence of pictures portraying different human facial expressions and the electrical activity in the brain as a result of the visual stimuli were recorded using an electroencephalogram (EEG). The second stage of the research was for the participants to see the same seven randomised images, but this time, they had to report what emotion they believed they had visualised and the intensity of it on a self-reporting scale. This study demonstrated that the ability to recognise emotions is more accurate using EEG techniques compared to participants using self-reporting surveys. The results of this study provide academic departments with evidence that more work needs to be done with students to develop their emotional recognition skills. Particularly for those students who are or will go onto occupy leadership roles.
    • Empathic gaze: a study of human resource professionals

      Lambert, Steve; Dimitriadis, Nikolaos; Venerucci, Matteo; Taylor, Michael; University of Chester; University of York; Brain Propaganda (Emerald, 2021-09-02)
      The purpose of this research paper is to explore the fixation of the eyes of HR professionals’ when identifying emotions in the context of workplace research, and to propose measures that might support them in their role. This paper combines a contemporary literature review with reflections from practice to develop a more nuanced understanding of 39 HR professionals’ ability to recognise emotions. This paper used eye-tracking technology more commonly used in laboratory based studies to explore the fixation of the eye when identifying emotions. The preliminary findings suggest that HR professionals with higher levels of emotional recognition principally focus on the eyes of the recipient. Whereas those with lower levels of emotional recognition focus more so the nose or the randomly across the face, depending on the level of emotional recognition. The data suggests that women are better than men, in the sample group at recognising emotions, with some variations in recognising specific emotions such as disgust. This research paper proposes a number of implications for middle leaders and suggests that middle leaders should proactively seek out opportunities to be engaged in activities that support the default mode network (DMN) function of the brain and subsequently the relationship-orientated aspects of leadership, for example, coaching other staff members. However, it has to be recognised that the sample size is small and further work is needed before any generalisations can be made. This paper offers a contemporary review underpinned by a preliminary study into HR professionals’ ability to recognise emotions.
    • Understanding emotional empathy at postgraduate business programs: What does the use of EEG reveal for future leaders?

      Lambert, Steve; Dimitriadis, Nikolaos; Taylor, Michael; Venerucci, Matteo; University of Chester; University of York; Brain Propaganda (Emerald, 2021-04-29)
      This paper focuses on the leaders’ ability to recognise and empathise with emotions. This is important because leadership and particularly transformational leadership are principally focused on an individual’s social interactions and their ability to identify emotions and to react empathetically to the emotions of others (Psychogios and Dimitriadis, 2020). Many leadership theorists suggest the ability to have and display empathy is an important part of leadership (Bass, 1990; Walumbwa, et. al., 2008). Design/methodology/approach To examine the extent to which those who work in jobs with a significant element of leadership education can recognise and empathise with emotions, ninety-nine part-time postgraduate executive MBA students took part in an emotional recognition test. First, all participants were shown a sequence of pictures portraying different human facial expressions and the electrical activity in the brain as a result of the visual stimuli were recorded using an electroencephalogram (EEG). The second stage of the research was for the participants to see the same seven randomised images, but this time, they had to report what emotion they believed they had visualised and the intensity of it on a self-reporting scale. Findings This study demonstrated that the ability to recognise emotions is more accurate using EEG techniques compared to participants using self-reporting surveys. The results of this study provide academic departments with evidence that more work needs to be done with students to develop their emotional recognition skills. Particularly for those students who are or will go on to occupy leadership roles. Originality The use of neuroscientific approaches has long been used in clinical settings. However, few studies have applied these approaches to develop our understanding of their use in social sciences. Therefore, this paper provides an original and unique insight into the use of these techniques in higher education.