Socio-emotional Competencies in Organizations and at Work: concepts and instruments in Brazilian and international studies

Competências Socioemocionais nas Organizações e no Trabalho: Conceitos e Instrumentos em Estudos Brasileiros e Internacionais

Competencias socioemocionales en las Organizaciones y en el Trabajo: conceptos e instrumentos en estudios brasileños e internacionales

Tiago Fernandes Oliveira Maiana Farias de Oliveira Nunes Franciele Cristina Barbosa Narbal Silva About the authors

Abstract

Organizations have shown an interest in socio-emotional competencies due to the current knowledge that they are as important as technical competencies for the best personal and professional development. However, there is no consensus in the literature regarding the conceptual definition of these competencies. Accordingly, this narrative review aimed at characterizing the concept of socio-emotional competencies and the instruments used in Brazilian and international studies in the context of organizations and work. The Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar and Biblioteca Brasileira de Teses e Dissertações databases were consulted, resulting in 26 articles composing the sample. The results show that there is a myriad of concepts about socio-emotional competencies, and that the instruments used evaluate mainly emotional intelligence, personality and other more consolidated constructs in the literature. The impacts of the multiple possibilities of conceptualizing and measuring socio-emotional competences are discussed.

Keywords:
socio-emotional competencies; organizations; work

Resumo

As organizações têm demonstrado interesse nas competências socioemocionais devido ao conhecimento atual de que são tão importantes quanto as competências técnicas para o melhor desenvolvimento pessoal e profissional. No entanto, não há consenso na literatura sobre a definição conceitual dessas competências. Nesse sentido, esta revisão narrativa teve como objetivo caracterizar o conceito de competências socioemocionais e os instrumentos utilizados nos estudos brasileiros e internacionais no contexto das organizações e trabalho. Foram consultadas as bases de dados Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar e Biblioteca Brasileira de Teses e Dissertações, resultando em 26 artigos compondo a amostra. Os resultados indicam uma miríade de conceitos sobre competências socioemocionais e que os instrumentos utilizados avaliam principalmente inteligência emocional, personalidade e outros construtos mais consolidados na literatura. Os impactos das múltiplas possibilidades de conceituar e mensurar competências socioemocionais são discutidos.

Palavras-chave:
competências socioemocionais; organizações; trabalho

Resumen

Las organizaciones han mostrado interés en las habilidades socioemocionales debido al conocimiento actual de que son tan importantes como las habilidades técnicas para un mejor desarrollo personal y profesional. Sin embargo, no hay consenso en la literatura sobre la definición conceptual de estas competencias. En consecuencia, esta revisión narrativa tuvo como objetivo caracterizar el concepto de competencias socioemocionales y los instrumentos utilizados en los estudios brasileños e internacionales en el contexto de las organizaciones y del trabajo. Se consultaron las bases Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar y Biblioteca Digital Brasileña de Tesis y Disertaciones, lo que resultó en 26 artículos que componen la muestra. Los resultados indican una gran cantidad de conceptos sobre las competencias socioemocionales y que los instrumentos empleados evalúan principalmente la inteligencia emocional, la personalidad y otros constructos más consolidados en la literatura. Se discuten los impactos de las múltiples posibilidades de conceptualizar y medir las competencias socioemocionales.

Palabras clave:
competencias socioemocionales; organizaciones; trabajo

Introduction

The discussion about competencies for the 21st century, also known as socio-emotional competencies, has grown in both the academic context and within society in general. Such competencies, also called “soft skills”, (i.e.), are related to personal motivation, team work, interpersonal communication and managing emotions (OECD, 2015OECD (2015). Skills for social progress: The power of social and Emotional skills. OECD Skills studies, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264226159-en
https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264226159-en...
). Socio-emotional competencies are considered to be as important as cognitive skills for personal and professional development and for worldwide social and economic progress (Acosta & Muller, 2018Acosta, P., & Muller, N. (2018). The role of cognitive and socio-emotional skills in labor markets. IZA World of Labor, 453, 1-8. doi: 10.15185/izawol.453
https://doi.org/10.15185/izawol.453...
; Puerta et al., 2016Puerta, M. L. S., Valerio, A., & Bernal, M. G. (2016). Taking stock of programs to develop socioemotional skills: A systematic review of Program Evidence. World Bank Group.; Santos & Primi, 2014Santos, D. & Primi, R. (2014). Desenvolvimento socioemocional e aprendizado escolar: uma proposta de mensuração para apoiar políticas públicas. Relatório sobre resultados preliminares do projeto de medição de competências socioemocionais no Rio de Janeiro. OCDE, SEEDUC, Instituto Ayrton Senna.; Santos et al., 2018Santos, M. V., Silva, T. F., Spadari, G. F., & Nakano, T. C. (2018). Competências socioemocionais: Análise da produção científica nacional e internacional. Gerais: Revista Interinstitucional de Psicologia, 11(1), 04-10. Doi: 10.36298/gerais2019110102
https://doi.org/10.36298/gerais201911010...
).

Although socio-emotional competencies are fomenting extensive interest, commonly in the fields of economics, education and psychology, scientific publications usually do not clearly define what they are. When definitions are mentioned, they are accompanied by a list of relational and emotional aspects without the adoption of objective models or criteria, probably because the construct is not consolidated in the literature - complexity that may also reflect on the measurement decision of the researchers (Marin et al., 2017Marin, A. H., Silva, C. T., Andrade, E. I. D., Bernardes, J., & Fava, D. C. (2017). Competências Socioemocional: conceitos e instrumentos associados. Revista Brasileira de Terapias Cognitivas, 13(2), 92-103. doi: 10.5935/1808-5687.20170014.
https://doi.org/10.5935/1808-5687.201700...
). Accordingly, this article aims at describing the concepts and characterizing the instruments used to assess socio-emotional competencies in Brazilian and international studies with adults in the context of organizations and work.

Conceptual aspects of socio-emotional competencies

The notion of what it means to be competent is highly inserted in the educational, professional and work contexts. Students seek for relevant competencies for their professional development, career and labor market insertion, and organizations evaluate whether the candidate has relevant competencies to improve work performance (Gondim et al., 2014Gondim, S. M. G., Morais, F. A., & Brantes, C. A. A. (2014). Competências socioemocionais: fator-chave no desenvolvimento de competências para o trabalho. Revista Psicologia: Organizações e Trabalho, 14(4), 394-406.). In general, in the work context, the concept of competence is divided into two main dimensions - technical and socio-emotional competencies, also called hard and soft skills (Almlund et al., 2011Almlund, M., Duckworth, A. L., Heckman, J.J, & Kautz, T. (2011). Personality psychology and economics. In: E. A., Hanushek, S., Machin, & L. Woessmann (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education (pp. 1-181). Elsevier.). The socio-emotional competencies agenda was strongly driven by the economics field due to concerns about social and economic progress in the 21st century - highlighting the works financed and organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - OECD (2015OECD (2015). Skills for social progress: The power of social and Emotional skills. OECD Skills studies, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264226159-en
https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264226159-en...
) and the World Bank (Cunningham et al., 2016Cunningham, W., Acosta, P., & Müller, N. (2016). Minds and Behaviors at Work: Boosting Socioemotional Skills for Latin America’s Workforce. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The World Bank Group.; Guerra et al., 2014Guerra, N., Modecki, K., & Cunningham, W. (2014). Developing social-emotional skills for the labor market: The practice model. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper nº 7123. https://documents.worldbank.org/pt/publication/documents-reports/documentdetail/970131468326213915/developing-social-emotional-skills-for-the-labor-market-the-practice-model
https://documents.worldbank.org/pt/publi...
).

However, socio-emotional competencies have been neglected by economists for many decades (Heckman & Kautz, 2012Heckman, J. J., & Kautz, T. (2012). Hard evidence on soft skills. Labour Economics, 19, 451-464. doi: 10.3386/w18121
https://doi.org/10.3386/w18121...
), partly because elements such as perseverance, conscientiousness, self-control, trust in others, were seen to be difficult to measure by conventional models of cognitive performance assessment (Kautz et al., 2014Kautz, T., Heckman, J. J., Diris, R., Ter Weel, B., & Borghans, L (2014). Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. http://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/Fostering-and-Measuring-Skills-Improving-Cognitive-and-Non-Cognitive-Skills-to-Promote-Lifetime-Success.pdf
http://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/Foste...
), or because there were no universal models available (Zhou, 2017Zhou, K. (2017). Non-cognitive skills: potential candidates for global measurement. European Journal of Education , 52, 487-497. doi: 10.1111/ejed.12241
https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12241...
), or because of using self-reporting measures as data collection, as this method is considered more susceptible to socially desirable response biases compared to other-reports assessment or mixed measures (Connelly & Ones, 2010Connelly, B. S., & Ones, D. S. (2010). An other perspective on personality: Meta-analytic integration of observers’ accuracy and predictive validity. Psychological Bulletin, 136(6), 1092-1122. doi: 10.1037/a0021212
https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021212...
; Oh et al., 2011Oh, I. S., Wang, G., & Mount, M. K. (2011). Validity of observer ratings of the five-factor model of personality traits: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(4), 762-773. doi: 10.1037/a0021832
https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021832...
; Kyllonen, 2016Kyllonen, P. C. (2016). Socio-emotional and Self-management Variables in Learning and Assessment. In: A. A., Rupp & J. P., Leighton (eds). The Handbook of Cognition and Assessment: Frameworks, Methodologies, and Applications. Wiley-Blackwell.). Nevertheless, psychological measurements, especially those related to personality, have provided evidences of psychological aspects predicting positive outcomes (Almlund et al., 2011Almlund, M., Duckworth, A. L., Heckman, J.J, & Kautz, T. (2011). Personality psychology and economics. In: E. A., Hanushek, S., Machin, & L. Woessmann (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education (pp. 1-181). Elsevier.; Heckman & Kautz, 2012Heckman, J. J., & Kautz, T. (2012). Hard evidence on soft skills. Labour Economics, 19, 451-464. doi: 10.3386/w18121
https://doi.org/10.3386/w18121...
).

In Brazil, in 2014, the OECD, the Ministry of Education, the National Institute for Educational Studies and Research “Anísio Teixeira” and the Ayrton Senna Institute promoted a meeting to discuss the development of cognitive, social and emotional skills to face the challenges of social progress in the 21st century (OECD, 2015OECD (2015). Skills for social progress: The power of social and Emotional skills. OECD Skills studies, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264226159-en
https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264226159-en...
). In Latin America, based on a World Bank initiative, the book “Minds and Behaviors at Work: Boosting Socioemotional Skills for Latin America’s Workforce” (Cunningham et al., 2016Cunningham, W., Acosta, P., & Müller, N. (2016). Minds and Behaviors at Work: Boosting Socioemotional Skills for Latin America’s Workforce. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The World Bank Group.), indicated the economics field interest on socio-emotional competencies, as well as in building a research and interventions agenda in Latin American countries within the context of organizations and work.

Defining precisely socio-emotional competencies has been a challenging task, since the concepts and criteria used to describe them in the scientific literature have changed over time and diverge across different fields of study (Goodman et al., 2015Goodman, A., Joshi, H., Nasim, B., & Tyler, C. (2015). Social and emotional skills in childhood and their long-term effects on adult life. https://www.eif.org.uk/report/social-and-emotional-skills-in-childhood-and-their-long-term-effects-on-adult-life
https://www.eif.org.uk/report/social-and...
). In the economics literature socio-emotional competencies is often used interchangeably with terms such as “behavioral skills”, “life skills”, non-cognitive skills”, “people skills”; “key competences”, “key skills”, “core skills”, “transversal competencies”, “generic competencies”, “soft skills” (Acosta & Muller, 2018Acosta, P., & Muller, N. (2018). The role of cognitive and socio-emotional skills in labor markets. IZA World of Labor, 453, 1-8. doi: 10.15185/izawol.453
https://doi.org/10.15185/izawol.453...
; Cinque, 2016Cinque, M. (2016). “Lost in Translation”: Soft skills development in European countries. Tuning Journal for High Education, 3(2), 389-427. doi: 10.18543/tjhe-3(2)-2016pp389-427
https://doi.org/10.18543/tjhe-3(2)-2016p...
), “emotional intelligence” and “character skills “(Goodman et al., 2015Goodman, A., Joshi, H., Nasim, B., & Tyler, C. (2015). Social and emotional skills in childhood and their long-term effects on adult life. https://www.eif.org.uk/report/social-and-emotional-skills-in-childhood-and-their-long-term-effects-on-adult-life
https://www.eif.org.uk/report/social-and...
). Semantically, however, these concepts have important differences: while non-cognitive skills refer to a range of behaviors, skills and traits not directly related to intelligence, the terms soft skills or life skills are broader and include cognitive and technical skills, such as reading, writing and the ability for logical analysis (Acosta & Muller, 2018Acosta, P., & Muller, N. (2018). The role of cognitive and socio-emotional skills in labor markets. IZA World of Labor, 453, 1-8. doi: 10.15185/izawol.453
https://doi.org/10.15185/izawol.453...
).

Gondim et al. (2014Gondim, S. M. G., Morais, F. A., & Brantes, C. A. A. (2014). Competências socioemocionais: fator-chave no desenvolvimento de competências para o trabalho. Revista Psicologia: Organizações e Trabalho, 14(4), 394-406.) defined socio-emotional competencies as an integration of knowledges and actions about oneself and about others, sustained from awareness, expression, regulation and handling of emotions, with the intention of increasing subjective, psychological and relational well-being. Emotional intelligence, emotional regulation, emotional creativity and social skills are part of what is meant by socio-emotional competencies (Gondim et al., 2014Gondim, S. M. G., Morais, F. A., & Brantes, C. A. A. (2014). Competências socioemocionais: fator-chave no desenvolvimento de competências para o trabalho. Revista Psicologia: Organizações e Trabalho, 14(4), 394-406.).

The OECD (2015OECD (2015). Skills for social progress: The power of social and Emotional skills. OECD Skills studies, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264226159-en
https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264226159-en...
) defined socio-emotional competencies as an individual capacity that manifests itself through consistent patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors in relation to goal setting (perseverance, self-control and focus on goals), working with others (sociability, respect and care) and managing emotions (self-esteem, optimism and self-confidence). Acosta and Muller (2018Acosta, P., & Muller, N. (2018). The role of cognitive and socio-emotional skills in labor markets. IZA World of Labor, 453, 1-8. doi: 10.15185/izawol.453
https://doi.org/10.15185/izawol.453...
) defined socio-emotional competencies as a set of personality traits, behaviors, attitudes, thoughts, and feelings (such as self-confidence, perseverance and emotional stability) that increase the probability to people effectively experience interpersonal and social situations. Finally, Goodman et al. (2015Goodman, A., Joshi, H., Nasim, B., & Tyler, C. (2015). Social and emotional skills in childhood and their long-term effects on adult life. https://www.eif.org.uk/report/social-and-emotional-skills-in-childhood-and-their-long-term-effects-on-adult-life
https://www.eif.org.uk/report/social-and...
) defined socio-emotional competencies as skills related to the person’s beliefs about themselves, to how they deal with people and how they motivate their own behaviors.

Regarding the dimensions related to socio-emotional competencies, there is a myriad of models available. One of the main difficulties in establishing universally accepted indicators for socio-emotional competencies is about concerns of culture and context (Zhou, 2017Zhou, K. (2017). Non-cognitive skills: potential candidates for global measurement. European Journal of Education , 52, 487-497. doi: 10.1111/ejed.12241
https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12241...
), that is, something valued in one culture may be less valued in another (Miyamoto et al., 2015Miyamoto, K., Huerta, M. C., & Kubacka, K. (2015). Fostering social and emotional skills for well-being and social progress. European Journal of Education, 50, 147-159. doi: 10.1111/ejed.12118
https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12118...
). Because of cultural/contextual factors, Big Five personality traits have been commonly used to understand socio-emotional characteristics (Ambiel et al., 2015Ambiel, R. A. M., Pereira, C. P. S., & Moreira, T. C. (2015). Produção científica em avaliação psicológica no contexto educacional: enfoque nas variáveis socioemocionais. Avaliação Psicológica, 14(3), 339-346. doi: 10.15689/ap.2015.1403.05
https://doi.org/10.15689/ap.2015.1403.05...
; Santos & Primi, 2014Santos, D. & Primi, R. (2014). Desenvolvimento socioemocional e aprendizado escolar: uma proposta de mensuração para apoiar políticas públicas. Relatório sobre resultados preliminares do projeto de medição de competências socioemocionais no Rio de Janeiro. OCDE, SEEDUC, Instituto Ayrton Senna.; Santos et al., 2018Santos, M. V., Silva, T. F., Spadari, G. F., & Nakano, T. C. (2018). Competências socioemocionais: Análise da produção científica nacional e internacional. Gerais: Revista Interinstitucional de Psicologia, 11(1), 04-10. Doi: 10.36298/gerais2019110102
https://doi.org/10.36298/gerais201911010...
; Zhou, 2017Zhou, K. (2017). Non-cognitive skills: potential candidates for global measurement. European Journal of Education , 52, 487-497. doi: 10.1111/ejed.12241
https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12241...
), considering the acceptance of the model at a cross-cultural level and the relationship between socio-emotional competencies and personality traits (Gensowski, 2018Gensowski, M. (2018). Personality, IQ, and lifetime earnings. Labor Economics , 51, 170-183. doi: 10.1016/j.labeco.2017.12.004
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.labeco.2017.12...
; Nikic et al., 2014*Nikic, G., Travica, V., & Mitrovic, M. (2014). Differences between employees and managers regarding socio-emotional competences. Serbian Journal of Management 9(2), 281 - 292. doi: 10.5937/sjm9-5440
https://doi.org/10.5937/sjm9-5440...
).

The Big Five perspective, although scientifically well accepted, is not unanimous. Vale (2009Vale, V. (2009). Do tecer ao remendar: os fios da competência socioemocional. Exedra, (2), 129-146.) investigated socioemotional education programs and organized them into five categories, based on past studies: (i) emotional self-awareness; (ii) management of emotions; (iii) productive control of emotions; (iv) empathy; and (v) management of relationships. In turn, the Social and Emotional Learning - SEL model, proposed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning - CASEL group (2012Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning - CASEL (2012). 2013 CASEL guide: Effective social and emotional learning programs - Preschool and elementary school edition. Retrieved from: http://casel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2013-casel-guide-1.pdf
http://casel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016...
), includes as dimensions of socio-emotional competencies: i) self-awareness; ii) self-management (regulating behaviors, thoughts and emotions); iii) social awareness (appropriate identification of resources and social support); iv) relationship/social skills; and v) responsible decision-making (constructive, responsible and ethical choices that promote the well-being of self and others). In a longitudinal study by Goodman et al. (2015Goodman, A., Joshi, H., Nasim, B., & Tyler, C. (2015). Social and emotional skills in childhood and their long-term effects on adult life. https://www.eif.org.uk/report/social-and-emotional-skills-in-childhood-and-their-long-term-effects-on-adult-life
https://www.eif.org.uk/report/social-and...
), the dimensions were: i) self-perception and self-awareness; ii) motivation; iii) self-control and self-regulation; iv) social skills; and v) resilience and coping. In Macedo’s thesis (2018Macedo, J. W. L. (2018). Competências Socioemocionais no serviço público: um estudo com gerentes de atendimento do INSS (Master’s thesis, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, João Pessoa, Brazil). https://repositorio.ufpb.br/jspui/handle/123456789/16380
https://repositorio.ufpb.br/jspui/handle...
), the dimensions proposed were: i) emotional awareness; ii) emotional balance; iii) teamwork; iv) self-control; and v) emotional creativity. Finally, Mikulic et al. (2015Mikulic, I. S., Crespi, M., Radusky, P. (2015). Construción y validación del inventario de competências socioemocionales para adultos (ICSE). Interdisciplinaria, 32(2), 307-329. doi: 10.16888/interd.2015.32.2.7
https://doi.org/10.16888/interd.2015.32....
) constructed and validated a scale to assess socio-emotional competencies in adults with the following dimensions: assertiveness, self-efficacy, autonomy, emotional awareness, expressive communication, empathy, optimism, emotional regulation and prosocial behavior.

With regard to the period of the life cycle, childhood and adolescence have been considered propitious for investment in the development of socio-emotional competencies, as the construction of personality is more malleable in these stages of life (Acosta & Muller, 2018Acosta, P., & Muller, N. (2018). The role of cognitive and socio-emotional skills in labor markets. IZA World of Labor, 453, 1-8. doi: 10.15185/izawol.453
https://doi.org/10.15185/izawol.453...
; Almlund et al., 2011Almlund, M., Duckworth, A. L., Heckman, J.J, & Kautz, T. (2011). Personality psychology and economics. In: E. A., Hanushek, S., Machin, & L. Woessmann (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education (pp. 1-181). Elsevier.; Guerra et al, 2014Guerra, N., Modecki, K., & Cunningham, W. (2014). Developing social-emotional skills for the labor market: The practice model. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper nº 7123. https://documents.worldbank.org/pt/publication/documents-reports/documentdetail/970131468326213915/developing-social-emotional-skills-for-the-labor-market-the-practice-model
https://documents.worldbank.org/pt/publi...
; OECD, 2015OECD (2015). Skills for social progress: The power of social and Emotional skills. OECD Skills studies, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264226159-en
https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264226159-en...
; Santos & Primi, 2014Santos, D. & Primi, R. (2014). Desenvolvimento socioemocional e aprendizado escolar: uma proposta de mensuração para apoiar políticas públicas. Relatório sobre resultados preliminares do projeto de medição de competências socioemocionais no Rio de Janeiro. OCDE, SEEDUC, Instituto Ayrton Senna.). In adults, the efficacy of socio-emotional competencies training programs can vary due to the type of program, if the program is exclusive to develop socio-emotional competencies, sociodemographic variables, measures, population, qualification/expertise of the facilitator of the intervention and whether the program was carried out on a smaller or bigger scale (Kautz et al., 2014Kautz, T., Heckman, J. J., Diris, R., Ter Weel, B., & Borghans, L (2014). Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. http://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/Fostering-and-Measuring-Skills-Improving-Cognitive-and-Non-Cognitive-Skills-to-Promote-Lifetime-Success.pdf
http://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/Foste...
; Puerta et al., 2016Puerta, M. L. S., Valerio, A., & Bernal, M. G. (2016). Taking stock of programs to develop socioemotional skills: A systematic review of Program Evidence. World Bank Group.; Van Berkhout & Malouff, 2016Van Berkhout, E. T., & Malouff, J. M. (2016). The Efficacy of Empathy Training: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63(1), 32-41. doi: 10.1037/cou0000093
https://doi.org/10.1037/cou0000093...
).

Finally, in a recent investigation (Santos et al., 2018Santos, M. V., Silva, T. F., Spadari, G. F., & Nakano, T. C. (2018). Competências socioemocionais: Análise da produção científica nacional e internacional. Gerais: Revista Interinstitucional de Psicologia, 11(1), 04-10. Doi: 10.36298/gerais2019110102
https://doi.org/10.36298/gerais201911010...
) of Brazilian and international scientific production related to socio-emotional competencies, from 2011 to 2015, 67 articles were found (17 of which were Brazilian), only 8.0% of them related to organizational settings, although higher frequencies of studies in the fields of developmental psychology (international= 62.0% and Brazilian= 25.0%) and educational (international=28.0% and Brazilian= 76.0%), supporting the assertion that socio-emotional competencies studies focus on childhood and adolescence (international= 78.9% and Brazilian= 68.0%). In view of the discussion held and the scarce production on socio-emotional competencies in adults within organizations and work contexts, this narrative literature review aimed at characterizing the concept of socio-emotional competencies and the instruments used in Brazilian and international articles with adults in the context of organizations and work.

Method

A systematic investigation was carried out in the literature on socio-emotional competencies in Brazilian and international databases: i) Biblioteca Brasileira de Teses e Dissertações - BDTD; ii) Google Scholar; iii) Scopus - Elsevier; and iv) Web of Science. We chose the BDTD database because it retrieves thesis and dissertations developed in Brazil, since some of them have not been published yet in scientific journals; Google Scholar for performing extensive searches in the databases; and Scopus and Web of Science for maintaining a wide collection of high-quality scientific articles. The searches corresponded to published documents until 2018, with no previous time limit, because published studies on socio-emotional competences - in these terms - with adults in the context of organizations and work are still incipient in the literature. The search was not restricted to journals of specific fields, providing the possibility of evaluating multidisciplinary research.

We applied descriptors in Portuguese for BDTD and Google Scholar, and in English for Scopus and Web of Science. The descriptors used for searching in the BDTD were “competências socioemocionais” and “habilidades socioemocionais”, in all fields. The insertion of the term “skills” occurred due to the common use of this term to refer to the same concept of socio-emotional competencies (Cinque, 2016Cinque, M. (2016). “Lost in Translation”: Soft skills development in European countries. Tuning Journal for High Education, 3(2), 389-427. doi: 10.18543/tjhe-3(2)-2016pp389-427
https://doi.org/10.18543/tjhe-3(2)-2016p...
). For example, in Santos and Primi (2014Santos, D. & Primi, R. (2014). Desenvolvimento socioemocional e aprendizado escolar: uma proposta de mensuração para apoiar políticas públicas. Relatório sobre resultados preliminares do projeto de medição de competências socioemocionais no Rio de Janeiro. OCDE, SEEDUC, Instituto Ayrton Senna.), “competências socioemocionais” appears 67 times, while “habilidades socioemocionais” appears six times in the body of the text. We opted then for the use of both terms. In Google Scholar, the terms “competências socioemocionais”, “competências socio-emocionais”, “habilidades socioemocionais” and ”habilidades socio-emocionais” were used in any field, followed by the search restrictions “-crianças” (children) and “-adolescentes” (adolescents), with the “patents and citations” options disabled. We opted for using the hyphenation of “socioemocionais” due to the spelling reform in Brazilian Portuguese of 2009 that changed the way words were written when the prefix ended in a vowel joined to the second element by a different vowel. The same strategy was not adopted in the BDTD, because we found no results with hyphenation that fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Due to the fact that Google Scholar performs very broad searches and to get fewer results, we decided to restrict the appearance of the terms “children” and “adolescents”, considering that the majority of studies on socio-emotional competencies are carried out with these age groups in educational context.

In the Scopus and Web of Science databases, the terms “socio-emotional competenc*” and “socio-emotional skills” were used in title, summary or keywords fields. The term “competenc*” was used in order to include both “competencies” and “competences”. Specifically, in the search for “socio-emotional skills”, the Boolean operator “and not” was used in the title, abstract or keywords to restrict the words “children” and “adolescents”, aiming at optimizing the search for adult populations.

In Google Scholar, 84 results were found with the term “habilidades socioemocionais” and 87 with “habilidades socio-emocionais”; 125 results with “competências socioemocionais” and 44 with “competências socio-emocionais”; in the BDTD, 13 results were found for “habilidades socioemocionais” and 22 results for “competências socioemocionais”; in the Scopus database, 27 results were found for “Socio-emotional skills” and 66 results for “socio-emotional competenc*”; finally, in the Web of Science database, 28 results were found for “socio-emotional skills” and 58 results for “Socio-emotional competenc*”, totaling 554 documents.

The titles and abstracts of the documents found were read in order to verify whether they fulfilled the inclusion criteria, namely: i) studies with an adult population; ii) studies in the context of organizations and work, including college population and other contexts of professional training; iii) empirical studies; iv) availability of full text; and v) studies published in Portuguese, English or Spanish. At the end of this first screening, 491 results that did not fulfill the criteria adopted were excluded, being applied in the order mentioned above: 296 studies were with children and/or adolescents; 112 studies were performed outside the context of organizations and work; 74 were theoretical studies or texts; and eight studies did not have full text available. 22 duplicated studies were also excluded, such as the thesis by Berlingeri (2018*Berlingeri, M. M. (2018). Competências socioemocionais e mercado de trabalho: um estudo para o caso brasileiro (Master’s thesis, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil). doi: 10.11606/D.96.2018.tde-17092018-115134
https://doi.org/10.11606/D.96.2018.tde-1...
) that was found in both Google Scholar and the BDTD searches. After reading the remaining 42 documents entirely, 16 of them did not refer to socio-emotional competencies as a construct in the text, being only cited in a generic way in the title, abstract or keywords. Thus, 26 documents composed the final sample. Figure 1 summarizes the search in the databases.

Figure 1
General search, identification, screening and inclusion procedures.

The following categories were adopted in two independent analysis: Name of the document; authors; year of publication; type of material (article, thesis or dissertation); journal field or concentration of the graduate program; concept of socio-emotional competencies described in the material; type of study (qualitative, quantitative, mixed) and instruments used to assess socio-emotional aspects.

Results

The results show that from 26 documents used in the study seven were thesis and 19 scientific articles, published from 2001 to 2018. Higher education/graduate (n=7), education (n=4), educational psychology (n=2) and economy (n=2) were the most frequent journals main fields, while Science and Mathematics (n=2) and Psychology (n=2) were the most frequent graduate programs. Undergraduate students (n=8), followed by teachers (n=4) and workers in general (n=4) were the most frequent participants. Bibliometric data from the retrieved studies are shown in Table 1.

Table 1
Bibliometric data

Conceptual results: The concepts of socio-emotional competencies were categorized into four aspects: i) studies in which the authors did not conceptualize socio-emotional competencies or the concept was not explicit (n = 8); ii) studies in which the authors conceptualized it as a synonym for emotional intelligence (n = 4); iii) studies in which the authors conceptualized education or socio-emotional learning (n = 3); and iv) studies in which the authors conceptualize socio-emotional competencies explicitly (n = 11). The specific studies in which the authors did not conceptualize socio-emotional competencies explicitly in the text are Biggio and Cortese (2013*Biggio, G., & Cortese, C. G. (2013). Well-being in the workplace through interaction between individual characteristics and organizational context. International Journal of Qualitatives Studies on Health and Well-being, 8(1), 19823. doi: 10.3402/qhw.v8i0.19823.
https://doi.org/10.3402/qhw.v8i0.19823....
), Calero et al. (2017*Calero, C., Diez, V. G., Soares, Y. S. D., Kluve, J., & Corseuil, C. H. (2017). Can arts-based interventions enhance labor market outcomes among youth? Evidence from a randomized trial in Rio de Janeiro. Labor Economics, 45, 131-142. doi: 10.1016/j.labeco.2016.11.008
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.labeco.2016.11...
), Casado et al. (2016*Casado, M. L., López, D., & Lapuerta, V. (2016). Socio-emotional competencies in Engineering Education. International Journal of Engineering Education, 32(4), 1660-1678.), Kubota et al. (2011*Kubota, Y., et al (2011). Assessment of Pharmacy students’ communication competence using the Roter Interaction Analysis System during objective structured clinical examinations. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 75(3), 43. doi: 10.5688/ajpe75343
https://doi.org/10.5688/ajpe75343...
), Lappalainen (2014*Lappalainen, P. (2014). Predictors of effective leadership in industry - should engineering education focus on traditional intelligence, personality, or emotional intelligence? European Journal of Engineering Education, 40(2), 222-233. doi: 10.1080/03043797.2014.944102
https://doi.org/10.1080/03043797.2014.94...
), Natarén and González (2016*Natarén, P. G., & González, M. L. G. (2016). Teacher’s socio-emotional competency in achieving generic skills of the graduate profile in higher secondary education. Revista de Comunicación Vivat Academia, 137, 108-123. doi: 10.15178/va.2016.137.108-123
https://doi.org/10.15178/va.2016.137.108...
), Nikić et al. (2014), and Pohlmann and Carvalho (2018*Pohlmann, F. C., & Carvalho, F. H. (2018). Perspectiva do acadêmico do curso técnico de enfermagem sobre as habilidades necessárias para realização do estágio. REAS - Revista Eletrônica Acervo Saúde, 10(3), 1998-2005. doi: 10.25248/REAS308_2018
https://doi.org/10.25248/REAS308_2018...
). All studies analyzed in this review are marked with an asterisk (*) and can be easily accessed in the references.

The group of documents in which the authors conceptualize socio-emotional competencies as emotional intelligence consists of four articles (Castillo-Gualda et al., 2017*Castillo-Gualda, R., García, V., Pena, M., Galán, A., & Brackett, M. A. (2017). Preliminary findings from RULER Approach in Spanish teachers’ emotional intelligence and work engagement Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 15(3), 641-664. doi: 10.14204/ejrep.43.17068
https://doi.org/10.14204/ejrep.43.17068...
; Estrada et al., 2016*Estrada, M., Monferrer, D., & Moliner, M. A. (2016). El aprendizaje cooperativo y las habilidades socio-emocionales: una experiencia docente em la asignatura técnicas de ventas. Formación Universitária, 9(6), 43-62. doi: 10.4067/S0718-50062016000600005
https://doi.org/10.4067/S0718-5006201600...
; Morand, 2001*Morand, D. A. (2001). The emotional intelligence of managers: assessing the construct validity of a nonverbal measure of “people skills”. Journal of Business and Psychology, 16(1), 21-33. doi: 10.1023/A:1007831603825
https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007831603825...
; Pertegal-Felices et al., 2011*Pertegal-Felices, M. L., Castejón-Costa, J. L., Martínez, M. A. (2011). Competencias socioemocionales em el desarrollo profesional del maestro. Educación XX1, 14(2), 237-260. doi: 10.5944/educxx1.14.2.253
https://doi.org/10.5944/educxx1.14.2.253...
). The smaller group composed by three studies did not conceptualize socio-emotional competencies, but “socioemotional learning” (Elias, 2013*Elias, E. (2013). Avaliação do impacto de um programa de promoção de competências sócio-emocionais no bem-estar de professores (Master’s thesis, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal). https://repositorio.ul.pt/handle/10451/10552
https://repositorio.ul.pt/handle/10451/1...
; Palomera, et al., 2017*Palomera, R., Briones, E., Gómez-Linares, A., & Vera, J. (2017). Filling the gap: Improving the social and emotional skills of pre-service teachers. Revista de Psicodidáctica, 22(2), 142-149. doi: 10.1016/j.psicod.2017.05.002
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psicod.2017.05...
; Rogers-Shaw & Carr-Chellmann, 2018*Rogers-Shaw, C., & Carr-Chellman, D. (2018). Developing care and socio-emotional learning in first year doctoral students: Building capacity for success. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 13, 233-252. doi: 10.28945/4064
https://doi.org/10.28945/4064...
). An example of this definition, Rogers-Chaw and Carr-Chellmann (2018*Rogers-Shaw, C., & Carr-Chellman, D. (2018). Developing care and socio-emotional learning in first year doctoral students: Building capacity for success. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 13, 233-252. doi: 10.28945/4064
https://doi.org/10.28945/4064...
) used Elias (2006Elias, M. J. (2006). The connection between academic and social-emotional learning. In: M. J., Elias, & H., Arnold (eds). The educator’s guide to emotional intelligence and academic achievement (pp. 4-14). Corwin., p. 235) to conceptualize socioemotional learning “[...] capacity to recognize and manage emotions, solve problems effectively, and establish positive relationships with others [...]”.

Finally, a larger group of documents (n = 11) explicitly conceptualized socio-emotional competencies/skills (Table 2). The analysis also considered as synonymous the use of both “competencies” and “skills”, mainly because in literature the use of the word “skills” is more common than “competencies” and its variants.

Table 2
Documents in which the concept of socio-emotional competencies was explicit

Measures results: In relation to the measures of socio-emotional variables, 23 different instruments were found. Other instruments that did not have the purpose of evaluating any socio-emotional variable - from the authors’ perspective - were not object of the investigation, such as the Satisfaction with Life Scale - SWLS scale (Diener et al., 1985Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction with Life Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71-75. doi: 10.1207/s15327752jpa4901_13
https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327752jpa4901...
), used in the study of Nikic et al. (2014*Nikic, G., Travica, V., & Mitrovic, M. (2014). Differences between employees and managers regarding socio-emotional competences. Serbian Journal of Management 9(2), 281 - 292. doi: 10.5937/sjm9-5440
https://doi.org/10.5937/sjm9-5440...
). There was one case (Expósito et al., 2018*Expósito, J. S., Costa, C. L., Agea, J. L. D., Izquierdo, M. D. C., & Rodríguez, D. J. (2018). Socio-emotional competencies as predictors of performance of nursing students in simulated clinical practice. Nurse Education and Practice, 32, 122-128. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2018.07.009
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2018.07.0...
) in which Utrech Work Engagement Scale - UWES-S (Schaufeli & Baker, 2003Schaufeli, W., & Bakker, A. (2003). UWES - Utrecht work engagement scale. Utrecht University - Occupational Health Psychology Unit.) was used to measure a socio-emotional variable, however, in another study (Castillo-Gualda et al., 2017*Castillo-Gualda, R., García, V., Pena, M., Galán, A., & Brackett, M. A. (2017). Preliminary findings from RULER Approach in Spanish teachers’ emotional intelligence and work engagement Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 15(3), 641-664. doi: 10.14204/ejrep.43.17068
https://doi.org/10.14204/ejrep.43.17068...
), this scale was used to assess work engagement as an independent variable in relation to socio-emotional competencies. When considering the second situation, the instrument was not used for the analysis. Only one instrument (Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test) is a performance measure, while the others are self-report measures. All instruments found in the studies, the name of the authors, the constructs the measures assess and their dimensions are shown in Table 3.

Table 3
Instruments used in the studies to assess socio-emotional elements

Discussion

This study aimed at characterizing the concepts of socio-emotional competencies and the instruments used to evaluate them in Brazilian and international studies, with adult population, in the context of organizations and work. The results show that less than half (42%) of the studies conceptualized socio-emotional competencies/skills explicitly, 31% did not explicitly conceptualize socio-emotional competencies, 15% conceptualized them as emotional intelligence and 11% conceptualized them as socio-emotional learning. Despite the myriad of concepts from the most diverse fields, the management of emotions (regulation, control, recognition) and the ability to deal with people (deal with conflict, establish healthy and positive relationships with others) are elements that repeatedly appear in some of these concepts, as also seen in Gondim et al. (2014Gondim, S. M. G., Morais, F. A., & Brantes, C. A. A. (2014). Competências socioemocionais: fator-chave no desenvolvimento de competências para o trabalho. Revista Psicologia: Organizações e Trabalho, 14(4), 394-406.) and OECD (2015OECD (2015). Skills for social progress: The power of social and Emotional skills. OECD Skills studies, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264226159-en
https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264226159-en...
). Considering the definition of socio-emotional competencies proposed by Gondim et al. (2014Gondim, S. M. G., Morais, F. A., & Brantes, C. A. A. (2014). Competências socioemocionais: fator-chave no desenvolvimento de competências para o trabalho. Revista Psicologia: Organizações e Trabalho, 14(4), 394-406.) in the context of work, six (Andrade, 2018*Andrade, J. A. M. (2018). Famílias e habilidades socioemocionais: um estudo sobre a pessoa com deficiência em um curso de licenciatura em biologia (Master’s thesis, Universidade Federal de Sergipe, São Cristóvão, Brazil). http://ri.ufs.br/jspui/handle/riufs/8007
http://ri.ufs.br/jspui/handle/riufs/8007...
; Llorent-Vaquero et al., 2018*Llorent-Vaquero, M., Fadden, I. M., Llorent-Bedmar, V. (2018). La docência en Educación Secundaria ante el reto de las emociones: competência socioemocional del profesorado para educar en una ciudadanía activa. International Journal of Educational Research and Innovation (IJERI), 10, 126-140.; Paranhos, 2017*Paranhos, M. C. R. (2017). Relações entre habilidades socioemocionais e inovação para alguns licenciados em ciências biológicas (Master’s thesis, Universidade Federal de Sergipe, São Cristóvão, Brazil). https://ri.ufs.br/handle/riufs/5091
https://ri.ufs.br/handle/riufs/5091...
; Pereira, 2015*Pereira, K. C. V. (2015). Um estudo de caso sobre formação militar e sua relação com o desenvolvimento de habilidades socioemocionais do aluno (Master’s thesis, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil). https://tede2.pucsp.br/handle/handle/15396
https://tede2.pucsp.br/handle/handle/153...
; Ramalhinho, 2015*Ramalhinho, L. C. M. (2015). A gestão de recursos humanos e a valorização das competências sócio-emocionais na Hotelaria (Master’s thesis, Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo de Estoril, Estoril, Portugal). https://comum.rcaap.pt/handle/10400.26/19396
https://comum.rcaap.pt/handle/10400.26/1...
; Vivas et al., 2010*Vivas, M., Chacón, M. A., & Chacón, E. (2010). Competencias socio-emocionales autopercebidas por los futuros docentes. Educere, 14(48), 137-146. Retrieved from http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=3656476
http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/artic...
) of the eleven documents that explicitly conceptualize socio-emotional competencies have similar definitions of this concept if compared to the definition from Gondim et al. (2014Gondim, S. M. G., Morais, F. A., & Brantes, C. A. A. (2014). Competências socioemocionais: fator-chave no desenvolvimento de competências para o trabalho. Revista Psicologia: Organizações e Trabalho, 14(4), 394-406.). In other studies, however, these socio-emotional elements appeared in a less specific way, sometimes referring to experiences, behaviors, attitudes and skills that would be supposedly malleable, sometimes relating them to other concepts in a generic way (such as soft skills, personality traits, non-cognitive skills), or being related to the concepts of emotional intelligence and socio-emotional learning/development (Marin et al., 2017Marin, A. H., Silva, C. T., Andrade, E. I. D., Bernardes, J., & Fava, D. C. (2017). Competências Socioemocional: conceitos e instrumentos associados. Revista Brasileira de Terapias Cognitivas, 13(2), 92-103. doi: 10.5935/1808-5687.20170014.
https://doi.org/10.5935/1808-5687.201700...
). Therefore, it was not possible to reach a consensus or find a clear trend regarding what the socio-emotional competencies are in the studies investigated.

The large variety of concepts, the divergences or the absence of concepts regarding what socio-emotional competencies or skills are may become an adversity to be faced by researchers in order to stimulate scientific advances in the field. In this sense, because socio-emotional competencies definition has changed over time and diverge across scientific fields (Goodman et al., 2015Goodman, A., Joshi, H., Nasim, B., & Tyler, C. (2015). Social and emotional skills in childhood and their long-term effects on adult life. https://www.eif.org.uk/report/social-and-emotional-skills-in-childhood-and-their-long-term-effects-on-adult-life
https://www.eif.org.uk/report/social-and...
), the construct seems to be not well established in the literature yet (Santos et al., 2018Santos, M. V., Silva, T. F., Spadari, G. F., & Nakano, T. C. (2018). Competências socioemocionais: Análise da produção científica nacional e internacional. Gerais: Revista Interinstitucional de Psicologia, 11(1), 04-10. Doi: 10.36298/gerais2019110102
https://doi.org/10.36298/gerais201911010...
). There has been an increasing worldwide interest in relation to socio-emotional competencies because of their association to labor market outcomes (Zhou, 2017Zhou, K. (2017). Non-cognitive skills: potential candidates for global measurement. European Journal of Education , 52, 487-497. doi: 10.1111/ejed.12241
https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12241...
), however, the lack of clear perspectives on what socio-emotional skills are can negatively affect socio-emotional development programs to adults (Guerra et al., 2014Guerra, N., Modecki, K., & Cunningham, W. (2014). Developing social-emotional skills for the labor market: The practice model. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper nº 7123. https://documents.worldbank.org/pt/publication/documents-reports/documentdetail/970131468326213915/developing-social-emotional-skills-for-the-labor-market-the-practice-model
https://documents.worldbank.org/pt/publi...
).

Regarding the instruments, those that assess emotional intelligence were most frequently used in the studies as well as the instruments linked to personality assessment. Although personality traits are commonly defined as a fundamental construct for assessing socio-emotional competencies (Ambiel et al., 2015Ambiel, R. A. M., Pereira, C. P. S., & Moreira, T. C. (2015). Produção científica em avaliação psicológica no contexto educacional: enfoque nas variáveis socioemocionais. Avaliação Psicológica, 14(3), 339-346. doi: 10.15689/ap.2015.1403.05
https://doi.org/10.15689/ap.2015.1403.05...
; Gensowski, 2018Gensowski, M. (2018). Personality, IQ, and lifetime earnings. Labor Economics , 51, 170-183. doi: 10.1016/j.labeco.2017.12.004
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.labeco.2017.12...
; Nikic et al., 2014*Nikic, G., Travica, V., & Mitrovic, M. (2014). Differences between employees and managers regarding socio-emotional competences. Serbian Journal of Management 9(2), 281 - 292. doi: 10.5937/sjm9-5440
https://doi.org/10.5937/sjm9-5440...
; Primi et al., 2016; Santos & Primi, 2014Santos, D. & Primi, R. (2014). Desenvolvimento socioemocional e aprendizado escolar: uma proposta de mensuração para apoiar políticas públicas. Relatório sobre resultados preliminares do projeto de medição de competências socioemocionais no Rio de Janeiro. OCDE, SEEDUC, Instituto Ayrton Senna.; Santos et al., 2018Santos, M. V., Silva, T. F., Spadari, G. F., & Nakano, T. C. (2018). Competências socioemocionais: Análise da produção científica nacional e internacional. Gerais: Revista Interinstitucional de Psicologia, 11(1), 04-10. Doi: 10.36298/gerais2019110102
https://doi.org/10.36298/gerais201911010...
; Zhou, 2017Zhou, K. (2017). Non-cognitive skills: potential candidates for global measurement. European Journal of Education , 52, 487-497. doi: 10.1111/ejed.12241
https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12241...
), personality measures were used as much as those of emotional intelligence in this review - only four out of 23 instruments were linked to personality. A possible explanation for this frequency is that personality can be seen as less flexible for changes and development in adults than in children or adolescents (Acosta & Muller, 2018Acosta, P., & Muller, N. (2018). The role of cognitive and socio-emotional skills in labor markets. IZA World of Labor, 453, 1-8. doi: 10.15185/izawol.453
https://doi.org/10.15185/izawol.453...
; Almlund et al., 2011Almlund, M., Duckworth, A. L., Heckman, J.J, & Kautz, T. (2011). Personality psychology and economics. In: E. A., Hanushek, S., Machin, & L. Woessmann (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education (pp. 1-181). Elsevier.; OECD, 2015OECD (2015). Skills for social progress: The power of social and Emotional skills. OECD Skills studies, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264226159-en
https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264226159-en...
; Santos & Primi, 2014Santos, D. & Primi, R. (2014). Desenvolvimento socioemocional e aprendizado escolar: uma proposta de mensuração para apoiar políticas públicas. Relatório sobre resultados preliminares do projeto de medição de competências socioemocionais no Rio de Janeiro. OCDE, SEEDUC, Instituto Ayrton Senna.). The use of emotional intelligence measures and other elements related to socio-emotional competencies (such as self-evaluation, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and empathy) may be related to the interpretation that in adults they are seem as more malleable to develop. The use of these instruments may also be related to the unavailability of validated measures that assess socio-emotional competencies in adults in the work context, or to decision of the researchers to use more consolidated constructs with clearer constitutive and operational definitions. These results are similar to the studies from Marin et al. (2017Marin, A. H., Silva, C. T., Andrade, E. I. D., Bernardes, J., & Fava, D. C. (2017). Competências Socioemocional: conceitos e instrumentos associados. Revista Brasileira de Terapias Cognitivas, 13(2), 92-103. doi: 10.5935/1808-5687.20170014.
https://doi.org/10.5935/1808-5687.201700...
) and Martins and Wechsler (2020Martins, C. C., & Wechsler, S. M. (2020). Competências Socioemocionais: o estado da área nas publicações ibero-latinas. Arch. Health Invest., 9(4), 371-376. doi: 10.21270/archi.v9i4.5067
https://doi.org/10.21270/archi.v9i4.5067...
), in which most of the instruments found in their reviews did not measure the construct of socio-emotional competences but related constructs. It is important to mention that, for Gondim et al. (2014Gondim, S. M. G., Morais, F. A., & Brantes, C. A. A. (2014). Competências socioemocionais: fator-chave no desenvolvimento de competências para o trabalho. Revista Psicologia: Organizações e Trabalho, 14(4), 394-406.), emotional intelligence is part of socio-emotional competencies - that is, not this concept itself.

Only one instrument (Social and Personal Competencies Scale - CPS) was found to assess socio-emotional competencies as a construct and three instruments (Work Personality Scale, Utrech Work Engagement Scale and Health Professionals Communication Skills Scale) are explicitly organizational or work-related measures. They would be more specific to evaluation (e.g., research, interventions) at work contexts than other general measures. Other instruments, such as Grit Scale (Duckworth et al., 2007Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087-1101. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.92.6.1087
https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.92.6.1...
) or The Core Self-Evaluation Scale (Judge et al., 2003Judge, T. A., Erez, A., Bono, J. E., & Thoresen, C. J. (2003). The Core Self-Evaluation Scale: Development of a measure. Personnel Psychology, 56, 303-331.) do not specify a particular life domain for assessment (e.g., organizations, schools, family), but the development and validation of these measures are related to organizational and work domains (e.g., The Core and Self-Evaluation Scale correlated to job satisfaction and job performance at its validation process [Judge et al., 2003Judge, T. A., Erez, A., Bono, J. E., & Thoresen, C. J. (2003). The Core Self-Evaluation Scale: Development of a measure. Personnel Psychology, 56, 303-331.]). Likewise, academic-related measures (e.g., Motivation to Succeed Questionnaire) would be useful to college, vocational programs and other professional training contexts - including in organizations settings -, considering that in an increasingly complex world of work and in a lifelong learning perspective, educational and work domains (and measures) can often overlap in terms of tasks (such as performance, communication or team-working skills). In Brazil, although the lack of knowledge about how the socio-emotional mechanisms work and the scarcity of instruments (Marin et al., 2017Marin, A. H., Silva, C. T., Andrade, E. I. D., Bernardes, J., & Fava, D. C. (2017). Competências Socioemocional: conceitos e instrumentos associados. Revista Brasileira de Terapias Cognitivas, 13(2), 92-103. doi: 10.5935/1808-5687.20170014.
https://doi.org/10.5935/1808-5687.201700...
; Zhou, 2017Zhou, K. (2017). Non-cognitive skills: potential candidates for global measurement. European Journal of Education , 52, 487-497. doi: 10.1111/ejed.12241
https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12241...
), recent studies found validity evidences of measures to assess socio-emotional competencies in specific groups of workers, such as government employees (Macedo, 2018Macedo, J. W. L. (2018). Competências Socioemocionais no serviço público: um estudo com gerentes de atendimento do INSS (Master’s thesis, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, João Pessoa, Brazil). https://repositorio.ufpb.br/jspui/handle/123456789/16380
https://repositorio.ufpb.br/jspui/handle...
) and project managers (Batista, 2018Batista, T. S. A. (2018). Fatores de sucesso na gestão de projetos e as relações com as competências socioemocionais e o engajamento (Master’s thesis, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, João Pessoa, Brazil). https://repositorio.ufpb.br/jspui/handle/123456789/15850
https://repositorio.ufpb.br/jspui/handle...
). Such initiatives may contribute to the advancement of knowledge and the process of measuring the construct in organizations and at work.

The present review also showed differences in socio-emotional competencies measures in specific fields. While in economics the main interest is on the impact in terms of employability, education attainment and reduction of risky behaviors, in health field aspects such as assertive communication between professionals and patients and better self-control, empathy and work engagement were considered as important. These results are congruent with the premise that one of the difficulties to define socio-emotional competencies is related to contextual and cultural differences (Miyamoto et al., 2015Miyamoto, K., Huerta, M. C., & Kubacka, K. (2015). Fostering social and emotional skills for well-being and social progress. European Journal of Education, 50, 147-159. doi: 10.1111/ejed.12118
https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12118...
; Zhou, 2017Zhou, K. (2017). Non-cognitive skills: potential candidates for global measurement. European Journal of Education , 52, 487-497. doi: 10.1111/ejed.12241
https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12241...
). There is evidence regarding the difficulty on replicating interventions in different groups (Puerta et al., 2016Puerta, M. L. S., Valerio, A., & Bernal, M. G. (2016). Taking stock of programs to develop socioemotional skills: A systematic review of Program Evidence. World Bank Group.), which implies considering that universal programs may be less effective than those constructed and adapted to a given reality.

This review also highlighted that undergraduate samples are the most frequent in research on socio-emotional competencies in the context of work, which can be explained by the greater availability and convenience to participate and the fact that undergraduate students, mostly young adults, are in a period of professional training that may be more interested in developing socio-emotional competencies, in reason of being in transition to the labor market. Research and interventions in organizations with older workers may be less frequent due to this specific life cycle, as well as being related to the financial cost of intervention programs to employers or to personal availability of the workers to develop relational and emotional aspects. In addition, most measures are self-reported, which may weaken the quality of the measures, as seen in Connelly and Ones (2010Connelly, B. S., & Ones, D. S. (2010). An other perspective on personality: Meta-analytic integration of observers’ accuracy and predictive validity. Psychological Bulletin, 136(6), 1092-1122. doi: 10.1037/a0021212
https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021212...
), Oh et al. (2011Oh, I. S., Wang, G., & Mount, M. K. (2011). Validity of observer ratings of the five-factor model of personality traits: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(4), 762-773. doi: 10.1037/a0021832
https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021832...
) and Kyllonen (2016Kyllonen, P. C. (2016). Socio-emotional and Self-management Variables in Learning and Assessment. In: A. A., Rupp & J. P., Leighton (eds). The Handbook of Cognition and Assessment: Frameworks, Methodologies, and Applications. Wiley-Blackwell.).

This study has some limitations, namely, a limited number of samples, despite no time restriction prior to 2018. In addition, synonymous concepts of social-emotional competencies, such as soft skills, transversal competencies or emotional intelligence, may have decreased the retrieval of other studies, and the use of search restrictors in may have had hidden potential documents, considering that studies that could meet inclusion criteria may have used such restrictive words in a generic way in the text. Also, it is necessary to investigate socio-emotional skills at work without specifying the organizational context, in order to expand the evidence found in the present study. Although we have inserted studies in the context of professional training, the restricted descriptors we adopted may have excluded studies in the context of Vocational Psychology or Career Counseling, for example. We did not find published studies on socio-emotional competencies in the field of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, which could contribute to the advance of the construct both at a conceptual and assessment level. One hypothesis for this absence may have been the use of only four databases for searching, which may have excluded other relevant documents on socio-emotional competencies in Industrial and Organizational Psychology fields. The use of “skills” and “competencies” as synonyms in searching criteria and analysis, although justified in relation to the common use of both terms as synonyms, may have enlarged the same divergences and contradictions highlighted in this article and may corroborate possible semantic differences. Accordingly, the results cannot be generalized and must be cautiously interpreted.

Our society has seen significant modifications in the world of work, such as the impact of technology on the labor market, constant economic crisis, migratory processes, the increasing complexity of the tasks/occupations and the tendency for structural reforms in the scope of social welfare and labor relations (Ribeiro et al., 2019Ribeiro, M. A., Teixeira, M. A. P., Ambiel, R. A. M. (2019). Decent work in Brazil: Context, conceptualization, and assessment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 112, 229-240. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2019.03.006
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2019.03.00...
). Then, it becomes increasingly important to develop socio-emotional competencies to deal with these challenges in a complex, multicultural and unstable world. The changing perspective from careers within organizations to protean/borderless careers could make the responsibility to develop socio-emotional aspects shift toward the individuals and the educational and professional training institutions. Several aspects support the plausibility of this assertion: the high cost that organizations would spend on programs in which effectiveness is not yet known; the desire of the individual in being more socially and emotionally competent and the replicability in different aspects of their lives; recruitment and selection processes requiring professionals that already have good levels of socio-emotional skills, among others.

Suggestions for future investigation include comparing socio-emotional elements in studies that use different terminologies as synonyms, in order to verify whether the authors are measuring the same phenomenon or related phenomena (e.g., socio-emotional competencies and emotional intelligence or soft skills). We suggest that Industrial and Organizational Psychology as a scientific field could contribute regarding emotions and interpersonal relationships in organizations at the theoretical, methodological and at intervention levels. Finally, psychometric studies concerning the social and emotional assessment in organizations and work are also recommended, in addition to longitudinal, experimental and quasi-experimental design to investigate the effectiveness of programs for training and development of socio-emotional competencies.

Acknowledgments

To Instituto Federal Catarinense for supporting the first author as a doctoral candidate. The authors also acknowledge the institutional support of Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina for the translation of the article.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    06 June 2022
  • Date of issue
    Jan-Mar 2022

History

  • Received
    17 Apr 2020
  • Reviewed
    19 Oct 2020
  • Accepted
    03 Dec 2020
Universidade de São Francisco, Programa de Pós-Graduação Stricto Sensu em Psicologia R. Waldemar César da Silveira, 105, Vl. Cura D'Ars (SWIFT), Campinas - São Paulo, CEP 13045-510, Telefone: (19)3779-3771 - Campinas - SP - Brazil
E-mail: revistapsico@usf.edu.br