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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29817

Title: East Meets West: The Cultural-relativity of Emotional Intelligence
Authors: Moon, Sue
Advisor: Côté, Stéphane
Department: Management
Keywords: Culture
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2011
Abstract: My dissertation examines a fundamental but poorly understood aspect of emotional intelligence: its potential cultural-relativity. Significant differences in emotional intelligence test scores have been found between different cultural groups. To explain these past findings, I develop a theory of how and why different cultural groups—specifically, Westerners and East Asians—hold different conceptions of emotional intelligence. In effect, I argue that what is considered emotionally intelligent behaviour by members of one ethnic group may not be considered emotionally intelligent behaviour by members of another group due to contrasting cultural values and beliefs. Empirically, I test this theory through a two-part investigation. In Study 1, I measure cultural values and show that they mediate the relation between ethnicity and emotional intelligence test scores. In Study 2, I experimentally manipulate (prime) cultural beliefs to test whether they cause different judgments of what is considered emotionally intelligent behaviour. Some evidence for the hypothesis that culture helps account for ethnic differences in emotional intelligence was found through Study 1’s measurement-of-mediation design, however, not through Study 2’s experimental-causal-chain design. Theoretically, my dissertation helps challenge the implicit assumption that emotional intelligence is universal by explaining how and why it is culturally-relative. Practically, my dissertation provides some evidence that current tests of emotional intelligence may be culturally-biased and hence adversely impact non-Western candidates when used as part of selection and promotion decisions.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29817
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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