With the growing demand for technical talent, more women and men will be needed in the workforce. Given the unique culture they work in, this study examined the use of emotional intelligence (EI) and perceptions of success and burnout among women in technology to better understand what EI competencies are needed to be successful. A mixed method approach was used, which consisted of three surveys and an interview. Twenty-three female participants who earned a technical degree or who had a minimum of 5 years' experience in a technical field participated in the study. Analyses were performed on the data to answer for women in technology (a) how they define success; (b) what factors influence their success; (c) to what extent is EI utilized; (d) whether there is a relationship between EI and success; and (e) whether definitions of success, success factors, use of EI, and the value of EI differ based on a woman's degree of career success. In summary, the study found that success was defined as others' favorable perceptions of them, their own feelings of happiness, and making a difference. Nearly all participants (19 of 23) reported that the top factor that influenced their success in engineering and technology was EI, with their competency ranging from neutral to high in self-management, relationship management, and communication. Twenty-one participants identified influence as the most important skill to develop as a woman progresses in her career and strategic relationships as second most important. Participants suggested that there are four EI competencies women in technology lack and need to develop: confidence and assertiveness, self-control, confident communication, and relationship management. It is interesting to note that confidence and assertiveness were mentioned to an increasing degree as participants' perceived success increased, whereas self-control was mentioned to a decreasing degree as perceived success increased. The study found differences in the results based on a woman's degree of career success. The high perceived success group named intrinsic factors (e.g., confidence) as contributing to their success but judged their success based on extrinsic factors. The low perceived success group believed that traditional intelligence and skills contributed to their success but judged their success based on intrinsic factors. In addition, as the perception of success increased, the level of cynicism decreased and vice versa. Another interesting note is that women in the medium perceived success group experienced burnout to a stronger degree than either of the other groups. Suggestions for future research include using a larger sample size that includes men, narrowing the focus of the research to gather only the most relevant data, and utilizing 360-degree instruments to avoid self-report bias.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Research projects (MSOD); Emotional intelligence; Women in technology

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Lacey, Miriam;