Published on 10 Sep 2020

​​​ ​SIOP Best International Paper Award 2020

Research scientists from the Center for Leadership and Cultural Intelligence (CLCI) won the prestigious Best International Paper Award at the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology (SIOP) Conference. The research scientists are Dr Vanessa Barros; Associate Professor Thomas Rockstuhl; Professor Kok Yee Ng; and Distinguished University Professor Soon Ang.

The SIOP award honors high-impact research in industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology. The award committee, comprising scholars and practicing I-O psychologists, elects the paper that best advances science and practice to enhance workplace effectiveness. The award marks CLCI's 4th SIOP award and reflects its science-practice ethos.

CLCI is the world's first research center on cultural intelligence (defined as the capability to function effectively across cultures). It is founded and headed by Professor Soon Ang, who pioneered the science of cultural intelligence. Since its inception in 2003, scientists at CLCI have won 38 awards in research, teaching, and academic leadership. 

The award-winning study examines how global leaders resolve intercultural conflict using intercultural situation judgment tests (SJTs). The iSJTs present test-takers with intercultural conflict scenarios and assess the effectiveness of their responses. Dr. Barros shared the impetus of the research, "Surprisingly, much of our received wisdom on conflict resolution is based on experimental research with naïve students in the lab."

Dr. Barros and her colleagues tested C-suite and senior leaders from more than 40 countries using the iSJT. They presented the leaders with the conflict scenarios and conducted verbal protocol analyses on how they would resolve the conflicts. In addition, they collected peers' assessments of the leaders' reputational effectiveness in conflict management.

Results reveal two counter-intuitive findings. First, effective leaders compromise to resolve conflicts. This finding debunks the hype on win-win strategies, and shows that compromises are effective, if not more realistic to pursue. Second, effective leaders manage the emotional ambience to facilitate compromises. Rather than fixate on the task, effective leaders attend to emotions of others first. This paves the way for more "gives and takes" to resolve the conflict. 

Winning the Best International Paper Award was not the only good news for Dr. Barros. The award also coincided with the recent publication of her book "Don't Mess with My Professionalism!" (by Penguin Random House). Her book offers evidence-based strategies for managing intercultural conflicts and is endorsed by 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mrs Ouided Bouchamaoui.



Barros, V., Rockstuhl, T., Ng, K.-Y., & Ang, S. (2020, June). How global leaders resolve intercultural conflicts? Evidence using intercultural SJTs. Paper presented at the 35th Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Annual Meeting.