Emotional intelligence or emotional blackmail: A study of a Chinese professional-service firm

Alicia S M Leung

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    This article aims to understand what leaders should do to best support the success of a self-managing work team. The results suggest that the western concept of emotional intelligence in leadership is ineffective when applied to a Chinese setting. The article provides insights into the obligations and responsibilities of Chinese leaders and helps explain some of the potential conflicts arising from misplaced emotions felt towards followers. The study, which was based on an intensive investigation of a professional-service firm over a four-year period, was conducted in two phases. Phase one involved the observation of work behavior while phase two involved extensive interviews. The findings highlight how difficult it is for emotionally intelligent leaders to motivate followers, and identify tensions that stem from pressures on businesses in a dynamic work environment. The results and their implications for future studies of emotional intelligence in Chinese organizations are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-196
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of Cross Cultural Management
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Cultural Studies
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Chinese
    • Emotional intelligence
    • Leader


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