Developing undergraduate social and emotional competencies: a UK/Malaysian comparison

Stephen Carter*, Amy Chu May Yeo

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate similarities and differences between the UK and Malaysian undergraduates in terms of perceived social and emotional competencies (SEC), their effect on academic performance and to make recommendations on curriculum development or teaching and learning interventions to make students more SEC equipped for the "real" world. Design/methodology/approach: This study employed a positivist approach via a survey instrument to measure the perceived SEC. Descriptive and inferential statistics, including standard multiple regression analyses, were used to test the hypotheses. Findings: The analysis highlighted specifically, individual competencies (e.g. conscientiousness) rather than competency domains. Striking differences were observed between the two data sets, e.g. the regression analysis revealed that among the UK students, "Self-Awareness" domain and "Service Orientation" competency contributed uniquely to academic performance. However, no significant results were found for the Malaysian students. Research limitations/implications: Using GPA scores for performance measurement is complex which might have the potential to affect the accuracy of the comparative results. Practical implications: The findings serve as a practical guide for education providers and employers which they could use to train young and inexperienced undergraduates and provides suggestions for education providers to "build in" specific intra- and interpersonal SEC in their assessment criteria and curriculum activities and modules. Originality/value: The transnational comparison helps to add a new dimension to support the paucity of the SEC effect on academic performance and suggests which specific individual competencies and which competency cluster to emphasise in two different institutions and countries.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)152-172
    Number of pages21
    JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


    • Cross-cultural comparison
    • Malaysia
    • Social and emotional competencies
    • United Kingdom


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