A recent study by i4cp revealed that 32 percent of high-performing organizations with 1,000 or more workers said they have emotional intelligence initiatives. This compares with just 19 percent for low performers. This isn’t proof that emotionally intelligent execs run better companies, but it’s intriguing and warrants further research.

Only about a quarter of companies with 1,000 or more employees have implemented an emotional intelligence initiative. Among companies that have these initiatives, approximately two-thirds of high-performing organizations apply the concept to their executives. But fewer than half of the low-performing organizations do so.

In this study, emotional intelligence was defined as the degree to which a person has the ability to recognize and understand emotions and the skills to manage personal, individual, and team performance using such awareness.

High performing organizations were more likely to focus EI initiatives on leadership development than on other areas such as communication. What’s interesting, though, is that what they seem to want are better team leaders. Nearly four-fifths of high performers said they expected improved team performance from their programs.

Determining the return on investment (ROI) of such initiatives is not a priority. Approximately two-thirds of companies that sponsor such initiatives have no idea what kind of returns they get. For those organizations that do take the time cite manager evaluations and appraisals–“changes in behavior” and 360-degree performance appraisals–as the most popular ways to gauge success. Higher-market-performing organizations, however, were considerably more likely than their low-performing counterparts to use individual “emotional quotient” metrics to gauge the impact of these programs.

As with most management programs, there’s not a lot of great ROI data on which to rely. But it does suggest that organizations with emotionally intelligent executives could have an advantage in today’s high stress work environment.