Cross‐cultural communication and emotional intelligence

Michael P. Lillis (Medaille College, Buffalo, New York, USA)
Robert G. Tian (Medaille College, Buffalo, New York, USA)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of emotional intelligence (EI) in business communications and describes the pivotal role it plays in establishing skills that are vital to a firm's global network of operations.


Using a sample of undergraduate business students, this paper examines how EI can mitigate the potential negative effects that might arise from diversity within dissimilar groups. As a measure of group diversity, we explore the role of one of the more traditional dimensions of differentiation among heterogeneous groups, gender. Patterns of group performance are observed across different levels of gender diversity and within and between high and low emotionally intelligence groups.


Findings suggest that EI has a greater impact on the performance level of gender diverse groups than that of their homogeneous counterparts.

Research limitations/implications

As a consequence, of increased globalization, organizational environments are becoming enormously complex and considerably more culturally diverse. In response to this growing trend, a key question for managers is to determine how to improve organizational awareness of the thoughts, feeling and emotions that reside in other diverse cultures. By focusing on how gender diversity can potentially impact group functioning, we hope to draw attention to the need for an increased understanding of the behavioral tendencies and value orientations that exist among dissimilar others and, by inference, dissimilar cultures.

Practical implications

Results are discussed in connection with cross‐cultural competencies and skills that are essential for a multinational enterprise.


This is the first study to suggest a relationship between EI and international business communication effectiveness.



Lillis, M. and Tian, R. (2009), "Cross‐cultural communication and emotional intelligence", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 428-438.

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