Literature Review on Emotions Across Cultures

  • Ms. Shweta Gaikwad



The terms emic and etic were coined in 1954, by linguist Kenneth Pike, who argued that the various tools developed for talking about linguistic actions could be designed to the explanation of any human social action. Emic and Etic are terms employed by anthropologists and by others in the cultural and behavioral sciences to refer to two sorts of data pertaining to human behavior. In particular, they are used in cultural anthropology to make reference to types of fieldwork done and viewpoints obtained.

In the field of cross-cultural research, the emic approach involves analyzing one culture at a time to evaluate how insiders or members interpret a trend. The criteria for evaluating behaviors relate with the insiders, and the framework is found out by the analysts. On the other hand, the etic approach involves evaluating different cultures. Action is studied from the perspective of an outsider, the standards for evaluating actions are viewed as "general" and the framework is established by the researchers.


"The emic way investigates how residents think" (Kottak, 2006). That they understand and categorize the globe, their guidelines for tendencies, what has so this means for them, and how they think about and describe things. " The etic methodology realizes that customers of any culture often are too involved in what they are doing to interpret their cultures impartially

"The etic (scientist-oriented) methodology shifts the concentrate from local observations, categories, explanations, and interpretations to the people of anthropologist. "

When using the etic procedure, the ethnographer stresses what he or she considers important.

Early Etic and Epic studies in Mindset:

Swiss psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, is a researcher who required an etic procedure in his studies. Jung studied mythology, religion, historic rituals, and dreams leading him to assume that there are archetypes used to categorize people's conducts. Archetypes are common structures of the collective unconscious that refer to the inherent way people are predisposed to understand and process information. The primary archetypes that Jung analyzed were the persona (how people choose to provide themselves to the globe), the animus/ anima (part of people exceptional world in viewing the opposite sex, that guides the way they select their romantic spouse), and the shadow (dark area of personalities because folks have a thought of evil. Well-adjusted people must incorporate both good and bad elements of themselves). Jung looked at the role of the mom and deduced that people have mothers and see their mothers in a similar way; they provide nurture and comfort. His studies also suggest that " newborns have changed to suck dairy from the breast, additionally it is the case that children have inborn tendencies to react in certain ways. " In this manner of considering the mother can be an etic way of applying a concept mix- culturally and universally.

Recent Researches on Emic and Epic across Culture:

I) West Fits East: Making use of the Emic Perspective for Cross-cultural

Business Communication by Yunxia Zhu, University or college of Queensland Business School

The researcher has shed light on the speedy development of internationalization and globalization, cross-cultural business communication is attracting increasing research attention. The researcher has assessed and reported studies predicated on 177 journal paperwork, publicized after 1990, in a variety of Journals of Business Communication.

The researcher suggests that there's been a move of research emphasis towards Asia and other rising economies with the rise of Asia and Latin America (e. g. , China, India, and Brazil) on the globe economic arena. However, Many Scholars contemplate dominating procedure of cross--cultural communication and management continues to be largely based on polarised cultural measurements, (e. g. , Individualism and collectivism). Hofstede's (2001).

The research highlights the problem associated with the imbalanced emic-etic concentration and propose specific means of handling this imbalance, through the discussion on the following three things:

  1. Introduction of the ideas of emic and etic perspective, and talk of the relevance to cross-cultural business communication.
  2. The sources of emic researches and suggest means of incorporating them.
  3. The theoretical and practical implications of making use of the emic perspective and suggest some future research guidelines.

The researcher refers to Kenneth Pikes (1967) contribution and meaning of the terms epic and ethic and concludes that the etic unit was from the exterior in, providing gain access to in to the system but only as the starting place of analysis; the full understanding of the emic is the ultimate end point. Nevertheless the researcher does not mention the conditions are coined priory by Pikes in 1954.

According to the researcher the value of the emic way has drawn increasing research attention but it is not given sufficient research attention in cross-cultural business communication. Also it is essential to explore and incorporate

The emic perspectives to be able to reach a well-balanced view about the culture and communication in the new economical and cross-cultural contexts.

The researcher has further talked about the Imposed Ethic way, The Integrative Etic-Emic Way and Emically Derived Etic Way with relevance to various researches in the respective fields. There are enough evidences of researches

In summary the expant research factors to the essential of combining the emic point of view to be able to explore the nuances and richness of civilizations. Whereas, the emic perspective is particularly important today when the East satisfies the West.

The analysis of incorporating emic perspectives has both theoretical and practical implications. Theoretically, the emic can complement the etic methodology, hence stretching the common etic procedure.

The researcher further implies future study can take a look at how emic perspectives can prolong other cultural dimensions. Also indicating that various theories can be looked at in the light of emic perspective to derive or facilitate culture studies.

The restriction or overlapping of the theories is also remarked that some imposed etic or common Western theories are in fact emic in dynamics. Thus leading to the need to identify the limitations of these ideas including tracing sources and contexts of the theories while making use of them.

The researcher says that the emic sources of knowledge also lengthen the etic procedure, offering us a wider selection of different perspectives from emic sources for cross-cultural version. For example, we can be more flexible with communication styles with different group of individuals in various contexts.

The researcher concludes with the conception that there is potential for developing new theories as well as for complementing extant ideas attracting from emic options, which can only help to achieve significant impact and answer the 'so what' question for cross-cultural business communication research.

II) Toward a fresh approach to the study of personality in culture. by Cheung, Fanny M. ; van de Vijver, Fons J. R. ; Leong, Frederick T. L.

The research reviews recent innovations in the study of culture and personality measurement. Three methods are described: an etic methodology that targets establishing measurement equivalence in imported steps of personality, an emic (indigenous) approach that studies personality in specific ethnicities, and a combined emic-etic method of personality. The study proposes the second option approach as a way of combining the methodological rigor of the etic procedure and the cultural sensitivity of the emic procedure. The combined approach is illustrated by two instances: the first with roots in Chinese language culture and the next in South Africa. The article ends with a dialogue of the theoretical and sensible implications of the mixed emic-etic way for the analysis of culture and personality and for mindset as a knowledge.

III) Views From Outside and inside: Integrating Emic and Etic Insights about Culture and Justice Common sense by Michael W. Morris, Stanford University

Kwok Leung, China University or college of Hong Kong; Daniel Ames, University or college of California at Berkeley and Brian Lickel, University or college of California at Santa Barbara.

The research targets synergy between emic and etic methods to research on culture and cognition. The research contemplates the integrative restriction as well as simulative progressive characteristics of emic and etic approaches to research.

The research records that the emic or inside perspective follows in the traditions of psychological studies of folk beliefs (Wundt, 1888) as well as the etic or outside perspective follows in the tradition of behaviourist psychology (Skinner, 1938). The two perspectives/strategies persists in modern-day scholarship, in mindset, between social psychologists (Shweder, 1991) and cross-cultural psychologists (Smith & Bond, 1998).

Varied views on emic and etic strategies, as facilitating and delivering limitations one to the other as integrative, with framework to anthropology, comparatives and mindset, are elaborated. Further contemplating that, emic and etic analysts tend to have differing assumptions about culture. Emic analysts tend to suppose that a culture is most beneficial understood as an interconnected complete or system, whereas etic researchers are more likely to isolate particular components of culture and talk about hypotheses about their specific antecedents and implications.

The researchers agree that there is distinctions in justice judgments made in East Asian ethnical settings, instead of Western settings. The researchers analyze selected results from the two key the different parts of distributive justice notion: selecting rules and construing behavior.

East Asian cultures have recommended that the principle of harmony is salient in Confucist cultural settings (Hsu, 1953). Whereas Traditional western common sense and theory (Deutsch,

1985). Chinese language respondents give more excess weight to group-oriented worth than do AMERICANS (e. g. , Singh, Huang, & Thompson, 1962).

Emic research has exposed novel constructs (e. g. , generosity as a means to harmony), has challenged etic constructs (the idea that individual's adherence to individualist and collectivist ideals is captured by a unitary sizing), and has suggested new alternatives (e. g. , distinguishing types of ingroup relationships). Insights involving cultural affect on the interpretation of habit highly relevant to justice comes typically from emic studies. Emic examination of how culture forms common sense of deservingness has gone furthest in studies of indigenous Chinese language constructs. Although there may be no doubt that an employee's social associations enter into appraisals in many European adjustments, the role of any employee's connections within an evaluation of his or her worthwhile generally is still left implicit and unarticulated by American observers.

To summarize the analysts have identified several varieties of stimulation where innovations within each research traditions are provoked and challenged by studies in the other custom. Moreover, research workers have argued an integrative explanatory construction incorporating insights from both practices avoids limitations of solely etic and simply emic findings in conceptualizing culture and in recording its various influences on cognition.

In conclusion, the experts have argued that integrative frameworks have several advantages as manuals to solving the applied problem of handling justice perceptions in international organizations. That is, an integrative construction enables better expectation of employees' justice sensitivities, better decision making in regards to a firm's plan options, and, once an insurance plan is chosen, better execution.


The researches on etic and epic techniques claim that use of integrative strategy provides an improved knowledge of cross-cultural studies. The cultural dissimilarities in context to personality, organizational, communication and feelings studies can be broadly generalised if the integrative strategy can be used. The limitations of one approach will be the good thing about the other. Many reports indicate that some emic studies include an epic procedure.


Cheung, F. M. ; vehicle de Vijver, Fons J. R. ; Leong, Frederick T. L. (2011)

Toward a fresh approach to the analysis of personality in culture. American Psychologist, Vol. 66(7), pp. 593-603. Retrived on 19th November 2013 from: http://psycnet. apa. org/index. cfm?fa=buy. optionToBuy&id=2011-01448-001

Emic and Etic Researches-concept Retrieved on 19th November 2013 from: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Emic_and_etic

Friedman, Howard S; Schustack, Miriam W (2012), Personality: Old classic Theories and Modern Research, Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.

Kottak, Conrad (2006), Reflection for Humanity, New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Morris, M. W. ; Leung, K. ; Ames, D. and Lickel, B. ( 1999). Views From Inside and Outside: Integrating Emic and Etic Insights about Culture and Justice Wisdom. Academy of Management Review, Vol. 24. No. 1781-796.

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)