This section is a review and discussion of previous literature and concepts relevant to the topic areas. It will also investigate theories that are considered fundamental for a later analysis of the collected data. First theories related to emotional intelligence and cultural dimensions of emotions will be presented, followed by theories about employees’ job performance and well being at work. Finally a summary of all these theories will be given as to bring it all together and make it easier for the reader to follow this thesis.
The Concept of Emotional Intelligence
Before further explaining the concept of Emotional Intelligence, it is important to understand the terms emotions and intelligence. An emotion can be defined as “a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others” (Oxford Dictionaries, 2016b). The word intelligence can be defined as “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills” (Oxford Dictionaries, 2016d).
Emotions can be approached from a biological and/or psychological viewpoint, and are evolutionary psychological experiences (Harmon-Jones, Harmon-Jones, Amodio & Gable, 2011). Emotions, though closely related, should not be confused with Emotional Intelligence (EI). As stated in the introduction the author defines EI as “the ability to, accurately understand and regulate one’s own and others’ emotions”. The term ’emotional intelligence’ was first introduced to a wide audience with the book (Emotional Intelligence) of author Daniel Goleman in 1995. Goleman later, in 1998, applied the concept of EI to business in a Harvard Business Review article, where he researched nearly 200 global companies. In his study, Goleman found out that great and effective leaders had a high degree of EI. The author went on to describe that EI consists of: 1) self-awareness, 2) self-regulation, 3) motivation, 4) empathy, and 5) social skills (Goleman, 2014).
There are three main defining models of EI, which are: (1) The Trait Model, (2) The Ability Model, and (3) The Mixed Model (Hess and Bacigalupo, 2013). ‘The Trait Model’ explains EI to be based on “emotions-related self-perception” (p.287), which is part of humans’ personality (Petrides, Pita & Kokkinaki, 2007). ‘The Ability Model’ opposes by explaining that EI is a set of mental skills, linked to logical understanding, which identify, use and deal with emotional information (Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso, 2004). Finally, ‘The Mixed Model’ is a combination of emotional abilities with personality dimensions, for example, optimism and self-motivation (Lopez-Zafra, Garcia-Retamero and Berrios Martos, 2012).
One of the most commonly used models of ‘The Mixed Model’ approach to EI is called ‘The Emotional Competencies Model’ (ECM) (Hess and Bacigalupo, 2013). According to the ECM, EI is the capacity, competencies and skills to recognize and regulate feelings and behaviors, which impact individual and others’ performance (Goleman, 1995). The ECM divides competences into two primary competences: (1) Personal Competence and (2) Social Competence, which contain four key elements: (1) Self-Awareness, (2) Self-Management, (3) Social Awareness, and (4) Relationship Management (Cherniss and Goleman, 2001, p.28). Dr. Bradberry, the award-winning co-author of the bestseller “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”, further discusses the ECM in this article (“Why You Need Emotional Intelligence To Succeed”). He states that EI affects behavior, social complexities and personal decision-making. The table below illustrates these core skills.
Personal competence is the ability to understand and regulate one’s own emotions. It consists of the two individual aspects: 1) Self-Awareness and 2) Self-Management. Self-Awareness is the ability to accurately perceive one’s own emotions and stay aware of them, and Self-Management is the ability to use that awareness of one’s own emotions to regulate one’s proper behavior. The social competence is, hence, constructed of the remaining two skills: 1) Social Awareness and 2) Relationship Management. Social Awareness is the ability to correctly notice and comprehend others’ emotions, while Relationship Management is the capability of managing these emotions. These skills, therefore, equal to the ability to accurately understand other people’s moods, behavior, and motives, and moreover, respond to them effectively and, thus, improve the quality of relationships (Bradberry, 2016).
Table 2 (on the next page) further illustrates the four previously mentioned dimensions and their subcategories, which are: (1) Emotional Self-Awareness, (2) Emotional Self-Control, (3) Emotional Self-Management, (4) Emotional Awareness of Others, (5) Emotional Expression, (6) Emotional Reasoning, and (7) Emotional Management of Others (Palmer, Stough, Harmer & Gignac, 2010, p.108).
Brandberry (2016) further in his article discusses how EI is an essential aspect of behavior. However, there is no known connection between intelligence quotient (IQ) and EI. Thus, one’s EI cannot be predicted based on how intelligent a person is. IQ is one’s ability to learn and does not change with age. However, EI is a set of skills that can be improved by practicing. In addition to IQ, personality does not define one’s EI. Personality is a result of inclinations such as introversion or extroversion. Similar to a person’s IQ, one’s personality does not change. All of the three aspects are essential, yet separate, parts of humans as a whole.
According to a test that Talent Smart (2016) executed of EI together with 33 other workplace skills, EI was found to be the highest performance predictor and to explain 58% of success in various job types. According to the same test 90% of world’s top performers have high EI and people with high EI earn an average of 29,ooo US dollars more than their peers who have low EI
Emotions in a Cultural Context
Another factor, which can impact emotions, is culture. Culture can be defined as: “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society” (Oxford Dictionaries, 2016c). Emotions are commonly perceived differently by different cultures. “As emotions are culturally ingrained, the display and interpretation of emotions are embedded in national, organizational, and professional context.” (Brundin & Nordqvist, 2008: 338). Even though emotions and the way they are perceived commonly differ across cultures, some emotions have been found to be to at least some extent universal (Rafaeli & Sutton, 1989; Ekman, 1992). However, despite the fact that the world is increasingly multicultural due to globalization and, thus, cultural aspects are becoming more similar in different countries, there are still proven to be cultural differences when emotions are displayed and interpreted. For example, Asian cultures pay more attentions on contextual factors, such as symbols, than the Western cultures, such as North America and Europe. Therefore, Asians are more likely to link positive and negative emotions with depression symptoms, whereas North Americans or Europeans only link negative emotions to depression, as the Western cultures tend to be more analytic. Another major difference between Eastern and Western cultures is that Western societies are more individualistic and thrive for self-achievements, while Eastern cultures are more collectivistic (Masuda, Ellsworth, Mesquita, Leu, Tanida and Van de Veerdonk, 2008). There are also cultural differences within different Western cultures when regarding emotions. For example Northern Europeans such as English, Dutch, German, Scandinavians and Baltic people are commonly more reserved compared to people from countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey in Southern Europe, where people are more open and expressive with their emotions (Keijzer, 2011). Also, even in countries that appear to be very similar have differences, such as, in this case Finland and Sweden (Hofstede, 2016a).
As this thesis focuses specifically on Finland and Sweden, it is important to take into account the two countries main cultural differences and similarities when it comes to emotional display and interpretation. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions will be used to illustrate these similarities and differences. Hofstede conducted a very thorough worldwide research consisting of about 70,000 employees in 67 different countries, between the years 1967 and 1973. In the study, Hofstede recognized a set of different dimensions to describe the impacts a specific country has on its people (Hofstede, 2001).
Figure 2 (below), is an adaption of Hofstede’s (2016a) cultural dimensions, which compares Finland and Sweden. Most of the aspects are fairly similar to each other, such as power distance (Finland 33 and Sweden 31). The biggest difference between the countries is uncertainty (Finland 59 and Sweden 29), followed by masculinity (Finland 26 and Sweden 5), which shows that Finland has a considerably higher value of masculinity than Swede
Hofstede’s (2016a) power distance dimension acknowledges that a society’s individuals are not equal and shows the attitude that a specific culture has towards inequalities. The power distance dimension is defined as: “the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally” (Hofstede, 2016a). Finland has a low score of 33 on the power distance dimension. This means that Finns are independent and have equal right. There exists hierarchy in Finland, only for convenience factors, where superiors are easily accessible and tutoring leaders who empower their employees. Finnish managers allocate their power to their employees, whom they view as team members. Employees are consulted in decision-making processes. There is not much control and the employer-employee relationship and communication is direct and informal and on first name basis (Hofstede, 2016a). Sweden also scores a low 31, which means that the described characteristics for Finland are the same for Sweden (Hofstede, 2016b).
The second dimension of Hofstede (2016) is individualism, which refers to: ”the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members” (Hofstede, 2016a). In individualistic societies people’s self-image is defined in terms of “I”, where they are only expected to look after themselves and immediate family members. Whereas, in collectivist societies people see themselves as “We” and belong to groups, which they stay loyal to and take care of. Finland with the score of 63 (Hofstede, 2016a) and Sweden with the score of 71 (Hofstede, 2016b) are both individualist societies. In Finland and Sweden individuals are expected to only take care of themselves and close family. In these two countries, wrongdoing cause guilt and decreases self-esteem. Employer-employee relationships are based on mutual advantage and promotions are solely based on deserved individual merits (Hofstede, 2016a; Hofstede, 2016b)
1.1 Background of the Research Topic
1.2 Problem Discussion
1.3 Research Purpose
1.4 Research Questions
1.6 Research Perspective
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
1.8 Definitions of Terms
1.9 Outline of the Thesis
2 Theoretical Framework
2.1 The Concept of Emotional Intelligence
2.2 Emotions in a Cultural Context
2.3 Factors Impacting Employees’ Job Performance
2.4 The Concept of Well Being in a Working Environment
2.6 Summary and Conceptualization of the Theoretical Framework
2.7 Criticism of the Chosen Theories
3 Methodology and Method
3.3 Criticism of the Chosen Method
4 Presentation of the Empirical Findings
4.1 Findings Related to Emotional Intelligence and the Emotional Competencies Model
4.2 Findings Related to Cultural Aspects
4.3 Findings Related to Job Performance
4.4 Findings Related to the Employees’ Well Being at Work
5 Analysis and Discussion
5.1 Analysis of the Managers’ Emotional Intelligence
5.2 Analysis of the Cultural Aspects
5.3 Job Performance Analysis
5.4 Employees’ Well Being Analysis
5.5 Summary of the Analysis
6 Conclusions and Implications
6.1 Answers to Research Questions
6.2 Research Contributions
6.3 Research Limitations
6.4 Summary of the Thesis
6.5. Research Implications
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT