Electronic Performance: Support Systems

Electronic Performance: Support Systems

An electronic performance support system (EPSS) generally refers to an online help system, or electronic job aid. Providing context-sensitive help-on-demand, EPSS is integrated with many computer applications. In some cases the help (performance support) is personified through an expert advisor or online wizard, and in this sense is similar to the so-called expert systems of artificial intelligence. EPSS is now generally referred to in the short form of "performance support." It is often a subset or feature of knowledge management systems.



AT&T launches the first EPSS system, an online help system to support employees in outlining and writing tests.


Gloria Gery: Electronic Performance Support Systems. Gery's text helped found the "online help" movement of the 1990s. Gery's book describes case studies of EPSS systems.

See also Job Aids Knowledge Management

Emotional Intelligence

Anyone can become angry—that's easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way—that's not easy.

—Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics, 350 B.C.

Emotional intelligence, according to Daniel Goleman, is the learned capability of managing feelings and emotional relationships in order to produce outstanding performance. According to Goleman, emotional intelligence predicts success better than any traditional IQ test. The roots of emotional intelligence lie with Howard Gardner, who in 1983 expanded the traditional dual-aptitude test (math and verbal) into a system of seven intelligences. In 1990, inspired by Gardner, Peter Salovey and John Mayer proposed that there was an eighth intelligence, namely emotional intelligence. In 1995 Daniel Goleman, an ex-New York Times reporter specializing in psychological topics, spread the word with his best-seller, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Goleman was essentially reviving the standard triadic psychological model of knowledge (cognitive domain), skills (physical domain), and feelings (emotional or affective domain), and focusing on the third—the domain of the emotions. Goleman, together with two other researchers, followed up in 2002 with Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. What follows is a brief summary of Goleman's major categories.

Emotional Intelligence: Five Domains

Goleman, basing his definition of emotional intelligence (EI) on Salovey and Mayer (see Fastpaths 1990), distinguishes five domains of emotional intelligence (see Fastpaths 1995, Goleman):

Toward oneself:

  1. Knowing one's emotions

  2. Motivating oneself

  3. Managing one's own emotions

Toward others:

  1. Recognizing emotions in others

  2. Handling relationships

Each of the domains adds a crucial set of skills for resonant leadership (see Fastpaths 2002, Goleman).

Emotional Leadership: Six Styles

Successful leaders effectively handle their emotions when dealing with others, and Goleman distinguishes six leadership styles (see Fastpaths 2002, Goleman):

  1. Affiliative

  2. Coaching

  3. Democratic

  4. Visionary

  5. Commanding

  6. Pace-Setting

Top leaders utilize the full repertoire of styles, invoking whichever is appropriate to the given situation.

Leadership Dissonance, Leadership Resonance

In Primal Leadership, Goleman defines emotional intelligence in the leadership domain along the two axes of "resonance" and "dissonance." Where resonance brings out the best in people by making them feel positive about their emotions, dissonance creates groups that "feel emotionally discordant." The "ratio of resonance to dissonance," he sums up, "determines an organization's emotional climate and relates directly to how it performs" (see Fastpaths 2002).

Goleman has made an impressive beginning in mapping out the descriptive domains of EI. The next step will be to build on this foundation, producing a robust discipline based on tools such as the emotional competence inventory, and on real business situations.



Benjamin Bloom: Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals. The classic text on the three domains: knowledge, skills, and emotional abilities.


Richard Boyatzis: The Competent Manager: A Model for Effective Performance. A study of competencies among managers, supervisors, and executives.


Howard Gardner: Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. The breakthrough book on multiple intelligences; it proposes seven intelligences.


Peter Salovey and John Mayer: "Emotional Intelligence," Imagination, Cognition, and Personality 9 (1990): 185–211. Salovey and Mayer outline the first model and definition of an "emotional" intelligence.


Daniel Goleman: Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Goleman's best-seller sets the agenda for the eighth intelligence, that of the emotions.


Howard Gardner: Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership. This, plus Gardner's 1983 book, is a major influence on Goleman's emotional leadership notion.


Peter Salovey and David Sluyter (eds.): Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence.


Daniel Goleman: Working with Emotional Intelligence. Emotional intelligence as applied to the workplace rather than to private everyday life.


Daniel Goleman et al. (eds.): The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace. Contains Lyle Spencer's "The Economic Value of Emotional Intelligence Competencies and EIC-Based HR Programs."


Adele Lynn: The Emotional Intelligence Activity Book.


Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee: Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. Goleman and two other researchers tie emotional intelligence to corporate leadership.

See also Competencies Multiple intelligences