Academic journal article College Student Journal

An Analysis of Chinese Business Students' Performance on a Test of Emotional Intelligence

Academic journal article College Student Journal

An Analysis of Chinese Business Students' Performance on a Test of Emotional Intelligence

Article excerpt

The relationship between leadership and Emotional Intelligence (El) has been the subject of significant research. This study was designed to extend that research by evaluating factors which may be related to ways in which groups of individuals differ in their levels of Emotional Intelligence. Specifically, a number of demographic characteristics were evaluated with regard to whether or not they were associated with differences in El achievement scores among a group of Chinese business students. Results indicate that students' E1 scores did differ when the factors of age, class, foreign language coursework, resident city size and family income were considered.


Emotional Intelligence has been defined as consisting of the 5 elements of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, social skill and empathy (Goleman, 1998, p. 95). These attributes extend beyond those traditionally associated with "intelligence" and, according to Goleman, are attributes that are critical to the success of a leader.

Since Goleman's (1995) landmark work on Emotional Intelligence (El) was published, researchers have been fully engaged in investigating the various aspects of El: numerous measures designed to assess levels of El have been created (Schutte, Malouff, Hall, Haggerty, Cooper, Golden & Domheim, 1998; Petrides & Fumham, 2000; Mayer, Salovey & Caruso, 2008); further attempts have been made to isolate and identify the components of E1 (Tapia & Marsh, 2006; Reyna, 2007).

For students possessing higher levels of El than their peers, the research would indicate that those students would likely, be more successful in leadership positions both in school and later in their careers. Since research indicates that emotional intelligence is something that can be taught, this topic is worthy of consideration by both individuals and organizations charged with preparing students for both personal and professional success.

The Study

This study was designed to evaluate students' achievement on a standardized test of Emotional Intelligence and to further investigate the relationship between characteristics possessed by those students and their El scores.

There were a number of specific variables that the research was designed to investigate in relationship to achievement on the El scale. For example, the authors of the study believed that based on prior research (1) the age of the students would be related to achievement on the El scale and that older students would be likely to achieve higher El scores; (2) associated with age, students in the latter stages of their education would likely score higher than those in their earlier stages of their education; (3) respondent scores were likely to vary significantly based on gender with the scores of female students being higher than those of the male students; (4) students with a high level of engagement in social activities would achieve higher El scores than those students with limited social engagement; (5) study of a foreign language might be positively related to El scores; (6) a student's home city size might be positively associated with higher test scores; and (7) students' El scores would differ based on family income levels, with those students from more affluent backgrounds having higher emotional intelligence scores.



Some 168 business students studying at a Chinese post-secondary institution were utilized as subjects in this study. The school at which the study was conducted is a branch campus of a large (enrollment of over 20,000 full-time students) U.S. Midwestern university. The campus is located in a large metropolitan area with a population of approximately 6.5 million residents in the Liaoning Province of the People's Republic of China. All courses at the institution are taught in English and all non-native English speaking students must pass an English proficiency examination before admittance. …

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