The Relationship Among Cultural Values, Emotional Intelligence And Job Outcomes

Abstract

Changing customer needs, desires, and demands, emerging technologies, and intense competition among firms compel them to employ emotionally intelligent labour force from different cultural backgrounds and orientations to satisfy their customers, and stakeholders and become more competitive in their marketplace. In this respect, researchers on the notion of intelligence from cultural-psychology perspective have paid increasing attention to the interrelationship among cultural values, emotional intelligence and work-life outcomes. But still, the literature on emotional intelligence lacks both theoretical and empirical understanding of the process on how cultural values affects emotional intelligence variables. In a sense, there is a need that the effect of cultural values on emotional intelligence has been identified in the literature as an area which should be addressed. By studying 354 employees from multinational firms, we tested the process on how cultural values affects emotional intelligence variables. We also showed the emotional intelligence variables-job outcomes relationship. Finally, the managerial and theoretical implications of the study have been provided.

Keywords: Cultural valuesemotional intelligencejob outcomeschanging customer needsintense competition

Introduction

Employees’ emotional intelligence (EI), “the capacity for recognizing their own feelings and those of others, for motivating themselves, and for managing emotions well in themselves and in their relationships” (Goleman, 1998, p.317), is a necessity for successful work performance at individual level (Abraham, 2004; Higgs, 2004), teams level (Day & Carroll, 2004; Koman & Wolff, 2008) and organizational level (Akgün, Byrne, & Keskin, 2007), and thus has received considerable scientific attention in the management and marketing literature (Kidwell, Hardesty, Murtha, & Sheng, 2011). In this vein, researchers have investigated how the abilities of (1) self-emotional appraisal, (2) others’ emotional appraisal, (3) regulation of emotions, and (4) use of emotions improved work-life outcomes such as job satisfaction, commitment and performance (Sy et al., 2006). In addition, researchers in the contemporary intelligence literature have recently focused on theoretical discussion as to how EI may develop (Gunkel, Schlägel & Engle, 2014).

Nevertheless, it should be noted that there is a clear need for studies examining the antecedents of EI. Specifically, although previous studies have suggested that EI is defined by cultural norms and values (e.g., Mayer & Geher, 1996; Offermann, & Phan, 2002), the literature on EI lacks both theoretical and empirical understanding of the process on how cultural values affects EI. Moreover, with globalization of markets and customers, firms must employ labor force from different cultural backgrounds and orientations. The human resource management of an international firm faces the challenge of finding labor force who is emotionally intelligent in different cultural values (Gunkel et al., 2014). In a sense, there is a need that the effect of cultural values on EI has been identified in the literature as an area which should be addressed. Herein, we examine all five cultural dimensions suggested by Hofstede (2001) and all four EI dimensions suggested by Wong & Law (2002) in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the influence of culture on EI.

Therefore, as shown in Figure 1 , this study investigates (1) the role of cultural values (i.e. collectivism, masculinity, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation) in employees’ EI and (2) the role of EI in the job outcomes such as job satisfaction and performance.

Conceptual Background

Emotional intelligence (EI)

EI has its roots in the concept of ‘‘social intelligence’’ that was originally developed by Thorndike in 1920. Thorndike recognized social intelligence as the ability to understand and manage people and navigate through those social experiences. Following Thorndike, a similar idea was developed by Gardner (1993). In his theory of multiple intelligences, social intelligence is composed of an individual’s interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences. While intrapersonal intelligence regards one’s intelligence in dealing with oneself, interpersonal intelligence regards one’s intelligence in dealing with others (Gardner, 1993). Salovey & Mayer (1990) were among the earliest psychologists to introduce the name ‘‘emotional intelligence’’ to define the ability of people to deal with their emotions. They defined EI as ‘‘the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions’’ (p. 189).

In this study, we have used the Mayer & Salovey (1997) definition of EI as a set of interrelated skills concerning ‘‘the ability to perceive accurately, appraise, and express emotion; the ability to access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought; the ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and the ability to regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth’’ (p. 10). In this sense, EI involves four distinct dimensions (Salovey & Mayer, 1990; Mayer & Salovey, 1997).

Appraisal and expression of emotion in the self (self emotional appraisal). This dimension refers to the individual’s ability to comprehend their deep feelings and be able to articulate these emotions. People who have great ability in this area will sense and acknowledge their emotions well before most people.

Appraisal and recognition of emotion in others (others’ emotional appraisal). This dimension refers to the individual’s ability to sense and comprehend the emotions of people around them. Individuals who are high in this ability will be much more sensitive to the emotions of others as well as reading their minds.

Regulation of emotion in the self (regulation of emotion). This dimension refers to the ability of individuals to regulate their emotions, which will enable a more rapid recovery from psychological problems and breakdowns.

Use of emotion to facilitate performance (use of emotion). This dimension refers to the ability of people to utilize their emotions by orienting them towards positive and creative activities and personal performance.

Hofstede’s Cultural Values Dimensions

Although, based on cultural studies, we observe that several scholars discuss the choice of dimensions most appropriate for conceptualizing and operationalizing cultural values (Clark, 1990; Hofstede, 1991; Keillor & Hult, 1999; Steenkamp, 2001), Hofstede’s (1984) framework is the most notably used in the study of a national cultural in psychology (Wasti, Erdaş, & Dural, 2013), sociology (Leong & Ward, 2006), marketing (Ren & Qiu, 2018; Soares, Farhangmehr, & Shoham, 2007), or management studies (Kirkman & Shapiro, 2001). His framework was developed using 116,000 questionnaires from over 88,000 respondents in 72 countries in his empirical study (Hofstede, 1984, 1991, 2001). He later expanded the database with 10 additional countries and three regions (i.e., Arab countries and East and West Africa). Based on a country level factor analysis, he classified the original 40 countries along four dimensions. These dimensions includes individualism-collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity-femininity (Gunkel et al., 2014).

Individualism-Collectivism. This dimension defines the relationships individuals have in each culture. Individual society members are interested in themselves and their immediate families only, whereas collectivistic culture members distinguish between in-groups and out-groups, they belong to groups that look after them in exchange for loyalty.

Power Distance. This dimension represents the extent to which society members accept the fact that power in institutions and organizations is properly decentralized. It influences hierarchy and dependence relationships in the family and organizational contexts.

Uncertainty Avoidance. This dimension refers to the extent to which society members feel threatened by uncertain and ambiguous situations and try to avoid these situations by providing greater career stability, establishing more formal rules, not tolerating deviant ideas and behaviours, and believing in absolute truths and the attainment of expertise.

Masculinity-Femininity. This dimension focuses on how extent to which society members stress achievement or nurture. Dominant values in masculine societies are achievement and success such as assertiveness, the acquisition of money and things, while dominant values in feminine countries are caring for others and quality of life or people.

Next, Hofstede & Bond (1988) developed a fifth dimension:

Confucian dynamism. This dimension refers to time orientation.  Long-term orientation means future-oriented virtues like perseverance and thrift, while short-term orientation means past- and present-oriented virtues like respect for tradition and loyalty social obligations.

Hypothesis Development

Cultural Values and Emotional Intelligence

Based on the writings on the notion of intelligence from cultural-psychology perspective (Miller, 1997), we argue the impact of employees’ orientation toward cultural values dimensions (i.e. collectivism, masculinity, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation) on their EI. Specifically, although emotions are biologically programmed, cultural values are one of the most important factors which are determined, shaped and maintained the expression of emotions (Matsumoto, 1989; Kitayama & Markus, 1994). In this regard, the self-emotional appraisal significantly differs across cultural values. For instance;

  • While individualistic cultures stress the needs of individuals, and therefore, emphasize the emotional world of an individual, in collective cultures, the cohesion with peers is of high importance and, therefore, less attention is paid on the emotional world of individuals (Berrocal & Pacheco, 2005).

  • As the countries with high uncertainty avoidance have generated social systems which permit the expression of self-emotions and the expression of self-emotion is taken into consideration as normal, these countries have more expressive cultures where emotions are displayed clearly (Neef et al., 2018; Palmer, Gignac, Ekermans, & Stough 2008; Sharma, Deller, Biswal, & Mandal, 2009).

  • Individuals with high femininity value characteristics (e.g. care, warm, cooperation, and harmony) show a greater self-emotional awareness and expressiveness than individuals with masculine characteristics (e.g. assertiveness, dominance) (Paez & Vergara, 1995). Feminine cultures also appear to be associated with higher frequency of positive emotions than negative ones (Basabe et al., 2000).

  • Power distance has been demonstrated to influence the fact to whom emotions are displayed (Gunkel et. al., 2014). High power distance cultures foster emotional reactions which respect and legitimize status differences (Fernández, Carrera, Sánchez, Paez, & Candia, 2000). Matsumoto (1990), for instance, revealed that whereas Japanese employees (high power distance) found showing negative emotions toward lower-status others suitable, they pass over their negative emotions in the face of higher-status others (Ekman & Friesen, 1972).

  • Matsumoto, Yoo & LeRoux (2007) indicate that long-term orientation is associated with lowered emotional expressivity. Nevertheless, an intentionally low expressivity of emotions still does not necessarily infer that one would not identify the emotions. In essence, it may be that emotions are well identified, but it is not desired to display them. Therefore:

H1a: Collectivism is negatively related to self-emotional appraisal.

H1b: Masculinity is negatively related to self-emotional appraisal.

H1c: Power distance is negatively related to self-emotional appraisal.

H1d: Uncertainty avoidance is positively related to self-emotional appraisal.

H1e: Long-term orientation is positively related to self-emotional appraisal.

Apart from the self-emotional appraisal, we put forward that cultural values also influence the individual’s ability to appraisal and recognition of others’ emotions. For example, in his study on the recognition of emotion in facial expression, Matsumoto (1989) discovered that what cultural values recognize emotions of others; the researcher then empirically showed that while individualism was positively correlated with identifying happiness and negatively correlated with identifying sadness, power distance is negatively correlated to identifying the facial expression of happiness. Although uncertainty avoidance is associated with the expression of emotions, such as anxiety as an outpouring of fear, it was not possible to ascertain a relationship between uncertainty avoidance and the recognition of others’ emotions. Since high uncertainty avoidance countries have also built institutions to deal with emotions, this means that they might have problems in recognizing the emotions of others. Hofstede (2001) argues that femininity is related to intimate work relationships with others and collaboration at work. For this reason, it may be assumed that feminine cultures are able to observe and understand others’ emotions better than people from rather masculine cultures. Next, the researcher infers that long-term oriented cultures are focused on building relationships. Such activity requires thorough observation of the partner. Herein, it can be suggested that individuals with high long-term orientation are better able to observe the emotions of other than individuals with low long-term orientation. Therefore:

H2a: Collectivism is positively related others' emotional appraisal.

H2b: Masculinity is negatively related others' emotional appraisal.

H2c: Power distance is negatively related others' emotional appraisal.

H2d: Uncertainty avoidance is negatively related others' emotional appraisal.

H2e: Long-term orientation is positively related others' emotional appraisal.

EI literature shows that the regulation of emotions varies in different cultural characteristics. For example, individualist people do not repress their emotions as much as collectivist people do (Matsumoto, Yoo & Nakagawa, 2008). Uncertainty avoidance appears to possess a negative impact on the regulation of emotion. The higher power distance value emotions less and require a control of emotions at the individual level. Therefore, power distance can be connected to a better regulation of emotions and thereby dissimulation of emotions (Matsumoto et al., 2008). Because long-term orientation is linked to the practice of saving face (Hofstede, 2001), it is rather associated with dissimulating emotions (Matsumoto et al., 2008). By taking into this consideration, if the individuals aim for a long-term relationship, they might desire to regulation emotions in order to keep the potential long-term relationships. In feminine cultures, men dissimulate joy and sadness, whereas in masculine cultures, they are displayed clearly (Hofstede, 2001). Therefore:

H3a: Collectivism is positively related to regulation of emotions.

H3b: Masculinity is negatively related to regulation of emotions.

H3c: Power distance is positively related to regulation of emotions.

H3d: Uncertainty avoidance is negatively related to regulation of emotions.

H3e: Long-term orientation is positively related to regulation of emotions.

While American managers (high individualistic characteristics) might overstate their use of emotion in order to notify pleasure, optimism, frustration, or displeasure to their employees, Japanese leaders (high collectivistic characteristics) are rather unpretentious in their use of emotions (Bono & Barron, 2008). In this sense, collectivism seems to be negatively related to the use of emotion. As Japan marks significantly higher on uncertainty avoidance than does the U.S, the same can be expressed to uncertainty avoidance, as noted by Hofstede (2001). In masculine cultures, which are characterized by having managers that are assertive, competitive and aggressive, emotions are not controlled as much as in feminine cultures (Hofstede, 2001). This hint at using emotions, and therefore, it can be presumed that masculinity might be positively concerned with the use of emotions. Long-term orientation, on the other hand, is more related to rhythm in a relationship (Hofstede, 2001) and therefore emotions might be less used. Nevertheless, power distance is concerned with controlling emotions (Matsumoto et al., 2008; Toro & Nieri, 2018) and, therefore, people in more power distance countries might not be used emotions than people in less power distance countries. Therefore:

H4a: Collectivism is negatively related to the use of emotion.

H4b: Masculinity is positively related to the use of emotion.

H4c: Power distance is negatively related to the use of emotion.

H4d: Uncertainty avoidance is positively related to the use of emotion.

H4e: Long-term orientation is positively related to the use of emotion.

Emotional Intelligence and job Satisfaction

We put forward that EI is related to the affective job outcomes such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover intention. Past studies have also captured the positive links between the ability to carry out antecedent- and response-focused emotion regulation and the better relationships with coworkers and superiors, as well as greater satisfaction in their jobs. The sustained existence of positive moods of the employees will also contribute to positive affection towards the job environment and the organization. In this respect, the positive experience and emotions on the job also will make employees more loyalty to the organization and less likely to release their jobs (Ashkanasy & Hooper, 1999). Therefore:

H5: Emotional intelligence is positively related to job satisfaction.

Job Satisfaction and Performance

We contend that job satisfaction is related to performance through its influence on employees’ positive emotion or enjoyment that tend to lead to being more productive, creative, and committed to their job (Pila-Ngarm & Siengthai, 2017). Here, job satisfaction as a motivator factor influence the beliefs and knowledge/information associated with work itself (Tietjen & Mayers, 1998) and this results in more favorable job performance (Baard et al., 2004). There are several studies that investigate employee satisfaction and performance. Falkenburg & Schyns (2007) reveal the argument that the positively influence of job satisfaction on organizational commitment and hence performance. Judge et al. (2001) demonstrate that job satisfaction is associated with job performance. Perera, Khatibi, Navaratna & Chinna (2014)’s findings confirm the positive relationship between job satisfaction and job performance in the apparel sector of Sri Lanka. Therefore:

H6: Job performance is positively related to performance.

Figure 1: Figure 01. Research Model
Figure 01. Research Model
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Methods

Measures

To empirically test the research model, multi-item scales adapted from previous researches were used for measurement of the variables. All variables were measured using 5-point Likert scales ranging from ‘strongly disagree’ (1) to ‘strongly agree’ (5).

For the cultural values variable (collectivism, power distance, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation), we adapted 26 question items from Yoo, Donthu & Lenartowicz, (2011). For EI variables, we adapted 16 question items developed by Wong & Law (2002). The job satisfaction questions were derived from Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire We asked 20 questions for internal and external factors of job satisfaction. To measure employee performance, six questions were asked that were adopted from Babin & Boles (1996).

Sampling

During the sampling process, we used a non-probability convenience sampling technique (Krathwohl, 1997). We collected data from employees of various international companies located in the Istanbul and Izmır districts of Turkey, as these districts are the centers of the Turkish economy for the manufacturing and service sectors. We informed each that his/her answers would remain anonymous and would not be connected to them individually, nor to their firms, or products and services. In this way, we improved the willingness of respondents to collaborate without fear of potential reprisals. Next, we emphasized participants that there were no right and wrong responses and that they should respond to each question items in an honest manner. These procedures decreased the evaluation apprehension and made the subjects less likely to regulate their responses to be more socially admirable, and consistent with how they thought the researchers wanted them to answer (Podsakoff & Organ, 1986). Through this process, we collected 354 questionnaires. Table 1 shows the demographic characteristics of participants.

Table 1 -
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Measure Assessments

After data collection, we assessed our measures’ reliability, discriminant validity, and convergent validity (Fornell & Larcker, 1981). We first conducted an exploratory factor analysis with 66 measured items of 12 variables, using a principal component with a varimax rotation and an eigenvalue of 1 as the cut-off point. The Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy was .871, and the Bartlett test of sphericity was significant at p < .01 (χ2 (1540) = 10021.08), indicating the suitability of these data for factor analytic procedures. After dropping some question items that had low factor loadings or cross-loads with other variables in a step-by-step procedure, we obtained a twelve-factor solution explains 63.42% of the variance.

After conducting the exploratory factor analysis, we conducted a subsequent CFA. Using Amos 20, we investigated all twelve variables (involving 56 question items) in one CFA model using all the surveys (N=354). After elimination of problematic items that had low factor loadings or cross-loads with other variables in a step-by-step procedure, the results indicated an adequate model fit (χ2(1308) = 2178.00, CFI = .903, IFI= .904, TLI= .90, and RMSEA= .043). Also, PNFI = .72, which is above the cutoff point of .70. In addition, all items loaded significantly on their respective constructs (with the lowest t-value being 2.50), providing support for convergent validity (see Table 2 ).

Table 2 -
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Table 3 reports the reliabilities of the multiple-item reflective measures along with variable correlations and descriptive statistics for the scales. Table 3 also demonstrates that Cronbach’s alphas, average variance extracted (AVE) for each variable, and AMOS 20.0-based composite reliabilities are well beyond or close to the threshold levels suggested by Fornell & Larcker (1981). As a check for discriminant validity, as Fornell & Larcker (1981) recommended, the square root of AVE for each construct is greater than the latent factor correlations between pairs of constructs (see Table 3 ). After conducting these tests, we concluded that our measures have adequate discriminant and convergent validity.

Table 3 -
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Hypothesis Testing

To analyze our hypotheses, we conducted structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis employing AMOS 20. Table 4 reveals that the research model sufficiently fits the observed data (χ2/df = 1,831 (CFI: .88 IFI: .88 TLI: .87 PNFI: .71 RMSEA: .49).

Table 4 asserts our findings. For the relationship between cultural values variables and EI variables, the results indicate that masculinity (β = -.146., p < .05), and long-term orientation (β =.719, p < .01) are significantly associated with self-emotional appraisal, but there is no statistical association between collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance and self-emotional appraisal (β =.03, p > .10), partially supporting H1. Regarding H2, we found that masculinity (β = -.113, p < .10), uncertainty avoidance (β = -.155, p < .05), and long-term orientation (β =.736, p < .01) are related to others’ emotional appraisal. However, we did not find any statistical relationship among collectivism (β = .05 p > .10), power distance (β = -.03 p > .10), and others’ emotional appraisal, partially supporting H2. Also, uncertainty avoidance and long-term orientation are positively related to both regulation of emotion (β =.73, p < .01), and use of emotion, supporting H3d, H3e, H4d, H4e. We also found that while the others’ emotional avoidance and use of emotion is related to internal (β = .52 p < .01) and external satisfaction (β = .47 p < .01), self-emotional appraisal is only related to external satisfaction. Furthermore, we showed that internal and external satisfaction impact the performance, supporting H6a, H6b.

Table 4 -
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Discussion and Conclusion

This study contributes to the emotional intelligence literature by presenting a model of interrelationships among cultural values, emotional intelligence variables and work-life outcomes. For example, whereas the research area is of vital importance as more and more firms have people who interact with global partners, work in multicultural teams, or communicate with international stakeholders of the firm, the effect of cultural values on EI has relatively not been examined in past studies. In this study, we provide a deeper empirical understanding of how cultural values influence employees’ EI, which can provide a competitive advantage to firms. Also, past studies demonstrated the positive impact of an individual’s emotional intelligent on his or her job behaviors, attitudes, and performance within an individual, team and organizational context. In this study, we empirically investigated the effect of EI as a multidimensional concept on job outcomes, empirically Sy, Tram, & O’Hara, (2006) argument that research on the relationship between employees’ EI and job outcomes is just emerging.

Following the recommendation in the cultural psychology literature (Kirkman, Lowe, & Gibson, 2006; Tsui, Nifadkar & Ou, 2007), we investigated all five cultural dimensions suggested by Hofstede (2001) in our study. Moreover, we measured all five cultural dimensions at the individual level, although most of the previous studies have considered culture as a societal level construct. In this context, our results empirically showed that specific cultural dimensions at individual level are antecedents of EI. This result also leverages the study of Shipper et al. (2003), which was conducted EI as a managerial self-awareness rather than multidimensional concept. For instance, this study provided support for the hypotheses that 1) long-term orientation is positively related to self-emotional appraisal, and 2) masculinity is negatively related to self-emotional appraisal. In addition, our results showed that while masculinity and uncertainty avoidance are negatively related with others’ emotional appraisal, there is no support for the negative relationship between power distance and others’ emotional appraisal. We also demonstrated the positive effect of long-term orientation on others’ emotional appraisal. Next, this study empirically showed that 1) the positive effect of long-term orientation and 2) the negative effect of uncertainty avoidance on regulation of emotion, providing support for our hypotheses. Furthermore, this study demonstrated that long-term orientation is positively associated with use of emotion. However, we found no negative relationship between uncertainty avoidance and use of emotion. In contrast to our hypothesis, we found that uncertainty avoidance is positively associated with use of emotion.

Based on above findings, this study proposes that out of the five cultural values long-term orientation has the highest effect sizes for the relationships between cultural dimensions and EI, consistent with Gunkel et. al. (2014) in the EI literature. It especially appears that long-term oriented individuals are voluntary to spend the necessary time and effort to understand both their own and others’ emotions, and also regulate and use them. Our findings also argue that individualism–collectivism and power distance are not the strongest predictor of EI. Our arguments imply that for individuals who femininity is a main principle, it is important to observe others and interpret their behavior, as well as understand their own emotions.

Furthermore, our results promoted recent research (e.g., Law, Wong, & Song, 2004; Wong & Law, 2002) showing that employees’ with higher EI have higher job satisfaction and performance. We demonstrated that others emotional appraisal and use of emotion are positively associated with both internal and external job satisfaction, resulting good job performance. It implies that employees with the ability to understand others' emotion and use of emotions are more adept at managing their relationships with their jobs, managers, and co-workers such that satisfaction feeling are more likely to increase their performance positively.

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18 December 2019

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Future Academy

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54

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İnce, H., Keleş, A., Şentürk*, H. A., & İmamoğlu, S. Z. (2019). The Relationship Among Cultural Values, Emotional Intelligence And Job Outcomes. In M. Özşahin, & T. Hıdırlar (Eds.), New Challenges in Leadership and Technology Management, vol 54. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 349-363). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.01.02.31