Discover your unique talents and make the most of them at work


Collaborate effectively in high-performing teams


Learn the skills – and art – of effective communication


Leadership, motivation and employee engagement in organisations


Creating memorable customer experiences

Home » Communication

Emotional Quotient in Thailand continues to plummet – not only among Thai youth

Submitted by on Tuesday, 28 August 20123 Comments

A recent report into Thai social issues by the NESDB shows another alarming drop in Emotional Quotient (EQ) scores among Thai youth from what was an already low base.

This comes at a time when further low grades in almost every aspect of Thai education – covering ‘IQ’ – makes human development as a whole a national failure in Thailand. But is there anything that can be done to promote higher Emotional Quotient / EQ scores in Thailand?

We’ve seen before here and here some of the challenges Thais have with Face. In this article we look at Thailand’s social challenges through the lens of emotional intelligence, or EI.

What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)?

Emotional Intelligence can be divided into four factors according to Daniel Goleman’s model:

· Self awareness

· Self management

· Social awareness

· Social skills

Emotional Quotient Thailand | EQSelf awareness is the first factor of EI – being aware of the compulsions, the pushes and pulls that act on us every day. Between stimulus and action, there lies self-awareness. A lion, for example, may feel the stimulus of ‘hunger’ which then quickly turns into the actions of ‘stalk’, ‘chase’, ‘kill’. As humans, however, we have a choice, and the more self-aware we are, the greater space we can create to clarify the choices we may have.

Self management is the second factor. This is when these compulsions and emotions stop controlling us and when we then begin controlling them. This is the stage where we can direct our energies toward a greater good. This skill includes self motivation.

The third factor is Social Awareness, or empathy. Here we are able to tune in to signals from other people, including voice, body language and facial expressions, and environmental cues to be able better to understand how they feel and the moods and impulses working on them.

The last factor is Social Management. This is where the previous skills come together and with language skills combine to equip a person with the ability to manage conflict, be assertive, work as part of a team and influence others.

Where Thais (as a whole) struggle

We’re going to hold up our hands here and say we have done only a very little research (n=<200) into EQ among Thai adults.

However so far a clear pattern has emerged.

While on multi-rater scales Social Awareness ranks higher among Thais than the other three factors, Self Awareness is very low, Self Management is held back by poor self-motivation, and Social Skills are also not very highly regarded with – not surprisingly perhaps – Face being cited as the culprit.

Thailand’s EQ Challenge is not only on a youth level but importantly on an adult level.

Parenting was identified by the NESDB report as a key factor in arrested Emotional Development among Thai youth, and on an adult level we find:

  • the 2nd highest infidelity rates in the world (link here), which places a strain on family life
  • mothers who have a tendency to spoil their children, and fathers who have a tendency to neglect them
  • very little mentoring or ‘quality time’ with children. Too much TV, games and not enough reading and activities where parents can discover their children’s habits
  • tacit acceptance of cheating by their children in homework assignments

Face even gets in the way of this article…

Now I know that some of these findings may come as a surprise to Westerners who may have developed an image of Thais being family-oriented, socially pleasant, non-violent and adaptable individuals.

This may explain what’s really going on with the EI scores above.

Are Thais (as a whole) adept at Social Awareness because they are weak in the other three EI skills?

It’s interesting, when a person’s face (small f) is not to be seen, then the behaviours seem to match the image above less and less, for example:

– When driving

– When working in a group where it’s possible to ‘socialise’ negative behaviours (just look at how governments run in Thailand for a start!)

– When using public space (litter habits for one thing).

Could it be that that higher Social Awareness skills are a consequence of ‘Face’ and that Thais are using the skills in this Factor to overcome / hide the serious deficits in the other EI skills that are tearing apart the fabric of Thai society?

Is this the root cause of all the other ills?

Increase EQ / EI this way…

If you would like to boost your EI, then Talent Technologies offers a hands-on one day programme called Emotional Intelligence. Click here for the programme details.

And don’t forget to sign up here to stay tuned with our groundbreaking alerts!

See also:

Motivation at Work: what you need to know


Talent Technologies :: Taking your Talent to a Higher Level



  • Alan says:

    So they actually did a survey on EQ in students in Thailand? I’m very impressed with that. I’ve never heard of a study on EQ level and how they are changing being done. This should really be done more often.

    As you say it is hard to raise EQ if there are cultural factors that really resist it. It takes a larger change in the society at the larger scale.

  • admin says:

    Yes they (the Thai government) did Alan.

    There are many challenges with education in Thailand, not only EQ. But this is becoming more serious as the age group progresses and societal problems intensify.

  • Rockhopper says:

    Thai people are friendly but not polite. Thai people can think but cannot reason. Thai people are narcissistic and lazy.

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.