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The paper presents a theoretical overview of the relationship between nonacademic aspects of intelligence and success in immigrating to a new country. An empirical study is then presented that relates measures of practical intelligence and tacit knowledge to success at work criteria. Sixty-five scientists who emigrated from the former USSR to Israel participated in this study. Self-reported indices of practical intelligence and external indices of tacit knowledge (collected via structured interviews and supervisors' ratings) were correlated with ratings of success at research and development jobs. Correlations were found to be in the range of .07 to .60, most of them statistically significant. This supports our hypothesis dial a higher level of practical intelligence correlates positively with more successful adaptation to life in the new country. Contrary to previous writings, which have approached the issues of immigration from a group-oriented perspective, this paper emphasizes the intelligence of the individual immigrant and proposes that this factor is a major determinant of immigration success.
People's migrations from one place to another, for various purposes and durations, were a common characteristic of life in the early human tribes, and continue to be so for members of modern societies. People have migrated in search of food, shelter, and friendlier environments. Equally often, people's migrations have been driven by desires to fulfill their emotional or spiritual needs. Recently, political and economic changes, as well as cultural and religious differences between countries, have driven people's desires to leave their home countries and go to a different country.
One can also predict that recent political events--for example, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the decision of the European Community to establish unrestricted employment for citizens in all of its member countries, and changes in the former Soviet Union-will increase immigration processes, at least in Europe during the nineties. Another example is the wave of Jewish immigrants who left the former Soviet Union in order to come to Israel. From January 1990 to December 1991 close to 400,000 of these immigrants came to Israel, which had a population of less than 4,000,000 Jews.
SOCIOLOGICAL VERSUS INDIVIDUALISTIC APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF IMMIGRATION
Characteristically, social scientists who have studied immigration have followed a "group" orientation or sociological perspective. They have tried to identify and describe social, psychological, and economic processes that are common to all or most immigrants. There are many examples in the literature of empirical studies, as well as of theoretical contributions, where the major effort on the part of the researcher has been to generalize across cultures, locations, and individuals (i.e., Bar-Yosef, 1980; Grienberg & Grienberg, 1989; Horowitz, 1989; Moreland and Levine, 1983; Weinstein, 1989).
This paper attempts to tackle the issues of immigration from a different perspective--the perspective of individual differences. It is argued that most of the variance of immigrants' success can be related to individuals' capacities, especially practical intelligence. The basis for this kind of argument is a simple observation: In every group of immigrants who have moved to a new country at the same time, and who have come from the same country of origin, all of them without financial assets, some will "make it" and some will not. Once this world-wide phenomenon (of heterogeneity of success among groups of immigrants) is accepted as a fact, one must ask, why?
Tacit Knowledge and Practical Intelligence
In addition to general intelligence and so-called "academic" or "scholastic" intelligence, students of human intellectual abilities distinguish between various other forms of intelligence that are independent of one another. These include tacit knowledge (Polanyi, 1946, 1976; Wagner, 1987; Wagner & Sternberg, 1985, 1987), social intelligence (Barnes & Sternberg, 1989; Chapin, 1939; Horpfner & O'Sullivan 1968; Keating, 1978; Legree, 1995; Marlow, 1986; Wagner & Sternberg, 1987; Walker & Folley, 1973), emotional intelligence (Salovey & Mayer, 1990; Mayer & Salovey, 1993), interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence (Gardner, 1983), common sense (Sternberg, Wagner, Williams & Horvath, 1995) and practical intelligence (Barnes & Sternberg, 1983; Ford & Miura, 1986; Walker & Foley, 1973). In general, all of these types of intelligence refer to a person's ability to deal with some particular tasks from a wide spectrum of everyday-life tasks.
The concept of tacit knowledge, being a major component of practical …