To read this content please select one of the options below:

Emotional intelligence, intercultural competence and online instruction: Review and reflection

Vishal Arghode (Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources Management, Indian Institute of Management Nagpur, Nagpur, India)
Gandhi Lakshmanan (Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Management, Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Institute for Management Development, Mysore, India)
Fredrick Muyia Nafukho (Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)

European Journal of Training and Development

ISSN: 2046-9012

Article publication date: 25 January 2022

Issue publication date: 26 May 2023




The purpose of this paper is to explain how emotional intelligence (EI) influences intercultural competence (IC), which in turn may influence online instruction. The authors further explored the varying attributes of EI and the extent to which it intersects with IC in the workplace.


Literature on EI and IC from the fields of education, business and leadership was reviewed. The search entailed articles related to EI and IC using the following databases: Business Search Premier, ERIC, JSTOR and ProQuest. The authors used the following key search terms in researching the articles: EI, IC, learning and online instruction. Title and abstract analyses judged each article’s suitability for the study.


To better perceive, understand and appreciate others and their cultures, we need to understand our own emotions and the way we interact with others. EI is thus the foundation on which IC can be built. It takes a higher level of EI to develop higher IC quotient. An online instructor should be cognizant about the emotional issues involved in the online learning and suitably modify the instruction to improve learner engagement to ensure better and improved student learning.

Research limitations/implications

Findings of this study should provide useful information for theory building and practice. Further, it is hoped the findings of this study will stimulate more scholarly interest in this relatively untapped research area exploring how EI can influence IC and ultimately influence online instruction and improve student learning.

Practical implications

The findings will serve as useful pointers for instructors and scholars who strive to improve ICs and appreciate the nuances that enable an emotionally intelligent instructor to perform better and connect with learners from a different culture.


Based on empirical literature reviewed, EI is the ability to perceive, understand and control our own emotions to better connect and relate with other individuals. It is the ability to recognize the emotional cues and change our behavior accordingly. IC is the ability to understand and appreciate the cultural differences to better function in a culture different from our own. The two constructs are therefore interrelated and have a significant overlap. However, while EI has been studied exclusively in different contexts, surprisingly, the researchers have not given adequate attention to the important theme of using EI in improving IC or even the role EI can play in improving instructors’ IC. Moreover, the interrelationship between EI, IC and online learning has not been explored previously. This paper seeks to address this gap.



The authors would like to thank the reviewers, the editors, and the publication team members at EJTD for their feedback, support, and responsiveness.


Arghode, V., Lakshmanan, G. and Nafukho, F.M. (2023), "Emotional intelligence, intercultural competence and online instruction: Review and reflection", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 47 No. 5/6, pp. 437-455.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles