Emotional intelligence from Eastern European perspectives: Summary, synthesis, and future challenges – conclusions
Summary, synthesis, and future challenges - conclusions
John Pellitteri and Lada Kaliskd
This volume has brought together selected studies from seven countries in Eastern Europe for the purpose of developing a regional view of the field of Emotional Intelligence (El) and for promoting further advancements in El research and applications. The topics of the chapters are diverse, ranging from conceptual studies that compare El and related theories (i.e., general IQ, g-factor, social, and multiple intelligences), measurement studies that adapt or create new El tests, to application studies in career decision-making, family systems, and teacher training. The studies utilize different research samples (i.e., adolescents, university students, teachers, managers). Many of the chapters included reviews of current El studies in their respective countries. While this volume does not claim to provide a comprehensive review of studies in the region, it does provide a sample of how El has evolved in Eastern Europe since 1990.
There are three overlapping perspectives from which we can view this collection of studies and scholarly writings. These are: (1) the cultural perspective; (2) theory and measurement; and (3) applications. All of the chapters can apply to the first perspective - cultural - by considering the relevance of the findings that are unique to each respective country. In addition, culture creates a frame where assumptions, norms, and social-emotional processes are embedded and which influences the research presented in the studies. Each chapter subsequently contributes to one of the other two perspectives (theory/ measurement or applications), which parallel basic and applied research methods. Table 14.1 provides a summary of the chapters’ topics, the predominant El model, and measures used in research.
We can consider how the El research in this volume provides an emic view (factors specific to Eastern European contexts) or confirm how their findings support an etic view (factors that are universal across all cultures). This parallels issues in the emotion research field that consider emotions themselves
Note: EIT = Emotional Intelligence Test; MSCEIT = Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test; TEIQue = Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire; ESCQ = Emotional Skills and Competence Questionnaire; ERIK. = Emotional Regulation and Control Questionnaire; PACAT = Perception of affective content in art test; TAE = Emotional Analysis Test; VET = Vocabulary of Emotion Test; TEU = Test of Emotional Understanding; EMT = Emotion management test; TSIS = Tromso Social Intelligence Test; MIT = Multiple Intelligences Test; MESI = Measuring Social Intelligence; TMMS = Trait Meta- Mood Scale; LPI = Limbic Performance Indicator as specific cultural constructions (Mesquita, Boiger, & De Leersnyder, 2016) versus universal human phenomena (Ekman, 1994). The development of intelligence about emotions requires even further cultural considerations in terms of adaptive (or intelligent) behaviors that are culture-specific.
Eastern Europe is generally distinct from Western Europe and other global regions in terms of the common roots of Slavic languages, cultural commonalities, and shared sociopolitical histories. Each of these factors shapes the broader societies of these respective countries, which in turn influence how El research and applications have evolved. Educational contexts at the university level influence the degree of support for scientific research agendas. Educational systems from elementary through high-school grades influence to what degree if any, El curricula are accepted and implemented. Professional contexts also vary in the degree to which organizations and work environments embrace emotions as critical sources of information for employee engagement, motivation, and productivity.
Language shapes thought (Vygotsky, 1978) and so the construction of thinking in Slavic-based languages may differ from general conceptualizations and world views of other families of linguistic groups. Feldman Barrett (2017) proposes a view of emotional construction where individuals’ concepts about the world and the immediate environment create the interpretation of stimuli that create emotions. From this reasoning, emotions (and by extension El) are experienced through a lens of Slavic linguistic frames. Closely related to language is the cultural lens that also affects the construction of emotions, the basis of emotional knowledge, and the application of El abilities (Wranik, Feldman-Barrett, & Salovey, 2007). Culturally relevant rules and norms about emotions and emotional expressions play a critical role in how El is received. In societies that might discourage the open display of feelings, El approaches that originate from Western societies (where open emotional displays are more readily allowed) may not be easily accepted nor be seen as beneficial. Professionals trying to conduct El interventions must therefore consider how to adapt the delivery of El programs in educational and employment domains. In this light we must consider, “What exactly is intelligent in specific cultural contexts?”
As illustrated in the introductory chapter of this volume, the Hofstede model of cross-cultural indexes (www.hofstede-insights.com/country- comparison) indicates that the Eastern European countries are similar in their values about restraint (over indulgence) and collectivism (over individualism). These general cultural attitudes influence the social-emotional processes of interpersonal relationships, families, and groups. The contrasted values in Western societies (indulgence and individualism) are no doubt embedded in the El measures and models, which may prove to be limitations in their application in Eastern Europe. Studies on the cultural perspectives of El (Friedlmeier, Corapci, & Cole, 2011; Huynh, Oakes, & Grossmann, 2018; Moon, 2019) point to the consideration of a collectivist El versus an individualist El. Such models might include how the intelligent use of emotions could lead to a group or community benefit rather than a particular individual goal. This conceptualization of El does not yet seem to have taken root in Eastern Europe and certainly not in the individualistic Western societies.
The third Hofstede index (Power Distance Index) illustrates the political attitudes that are generally shared with regard to the acceptance of power inequalities in societies, in contrast to Western regions. For a large portion of the twentieth century, sociopolitical histories in Eastern Europe shaped societal attitudes, expectations, and processes. The studies in this volume represent work carried out since the political changes of the 1990s and some take into account the impact of the large-scale social and economic shifts that unfolded during these last 30 years. The struggles and subsequent restructuring of governments and societies have been parallel to the emergence of El as a field (well described in Chapter 3 of this volume by Altaras Dimitrijevic and Jolic Marjanovic) leading perhaps to a lag in comparison to the west. However, new opportunities to create El curricula in education have been presented within emerging societies (explained in Chapter 11 of this volume by Liubertiene). The development of El in Eastern Europe and the creation of culturally relevant measures and models (as expressed in Chapter 2 by Sergienko, Khlevnaya, Migun, & Osipenko and Chapter 4 by Taksic, Mohoric & Cosic Pilepic) must be understood within this larger sociopolitical context.
Particularly important are the psychosocial issues in community mental health, addictions, family functioning, poverty, and unemployment that speak to the need for greater broad-based applications of El. These societal problems are complex and multifaceted requiring multiple layers of interventions. As human relationships are a foundation for such psychosocial issues, and since El has been associated with improved personal and interpersonal functioning, it becomes a critical element in the attempts to solve such problems of the human condition both in Eastern Europe and globally. The chapters in this volume have addressed or reviewed research on these psychosocial issues, which is a promising trend.