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Self-uncertainty and Emotional Well-being across Cultures: The Mediating Roles of Social Comparison

Emotions and Leadership

ISBN: 978-1-83867-202-7, eISBN: 978-1-83867-201-0

Publication date: 26 August 2019



The purpose of this chapter is to build a new framework for understanding the antecedents of emotional well-being across different psychological states, situations, and cultural settings. In this regard, we develop propositions regarding causal relationships between self-uncertainty and emotional well-being in the context of social comparison and in two different culture types: dignity and honor.


Based on a literature review, this chapter connects empirical evidence in three areas of research. (1) self-uncertainty literature, (2) emotional well-being, and (3) cross-cultural psychology to propose a new conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between self-uncertainty and well-being across different cultural settings.


The main finding of this chapter is a model that explains how emotional well-being is comprised of three elements of the psychological state, situation, and culture. We seek to explain how and why different cultures and psychological states might have different effects on human emotions. We propose mediators in order to demonstrate how culturally determined notions of self-construal, self-worth, and social order mediate the relationship between self-uncertainty and emotional well-being.

Research Limitations/Implications

We limited our theorizing to investigate only two broad culture types: honor and dignity. Clearly, there are many more nuances of national culture than this. In addition, our model limited to investigate the role of social comparison among other possible mechanisms to reduce the uncertainty.

Practical Implications

The practical implication of our theory is that it enables leaders to gain a more holistic perspective of emotional well-being in their organizations. In particular, in international organizations, leaders have to pay attention to the cultural background of their employees. This, in turn, enables leaders to understand the antecedents of social comparison and emotional well-being in their employees.


This chapter proposes a holistic model that explains the simultaneous effects of different psychological states, situations, and cultures.



Harati, H., Ashkanasy, N.M. and Amirzadeh, M. (2019), "Self-uncertainty and Emotional Well-being across Cultures: The Mediating Roles of Social Comparison", Emotions and Leadership (Research on Emotion in Organizations, Vol. 15), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 209-223.



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