Cultural intelligence for the company

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The Theoretical Perspectives And Practical Implications Of Cultural Intelligence For The Company

Executive Summary

Now most governors of our company may be engaged in cooperation across sections, transpose posts and accept expatriate work assignments etc. at any time. Not only must they reply to the normal challenges of outsourcing, they must also work with partners who possess different models of engagement, technical and professional perspectives and national cultures. This requires them to have an ability to adapt to different cultures. The new staff development in our company is about to start. With more and more rivals listing the Cultural Intelligence training plan into their training course, our manager is also thinking about whether our staff development should consist of this new concept.

This report sets out to relate the theory foundations and practical implication of Cultural Intelligence and summarize its findings.


The swift development of world economy urged each company to become global economy strategist along with times. The global economic leaders who truly deserved this honor can understand and respond to persons (e.g. counterparts and employees) coming from dissimilar nations or regions, live in different cultural background effectively and appropriately. It is just the very high CQ, what is a source of competitive advantage and strategic capabilities (Peterson, 2006, 229) they own that make them stand out.

At present CQ is a very important talent not only for those who deal with international business but also for everyone. However, whether this useful tool should be carried out for staff development, on the base of previous studies about CQ, this report aims to explore whether the establishment of CQ is viable. In this report, the theoretical perspectives about CQ of Earley and Ward and their colleagues will be respectively identified firstly, followed by the comparison and evaluation of each view covered during their course. Grounded in a 'real world' business context, other possible implementations of CQ in management arising from that discussion will also be displayed in this report.

Content Analysis

Earley and Mosakowski(2004) outlined the aggregate approach and the individual approach, whose focal points are both at the macroscopic level, as the two major traditional streams in Cross-Cultural Management.

The aggregate approach, referring to anthropological and sociological traditions to some extent, tended to concern about the general values and beliefs of average people across a particular community (a country or a region). It is known that Americas universally respect freedom and personality (Burchell, 1998, 74), so a company may enable American staff to acquire a sense of personal achievement by giving them opportunities for showing themselves. Then the company will definitely witness these employees work more actively and availably.

Even today, many managers are taught what approximate actions and behaviors should be appreciated for a certain constellation of culture in a given country. While addressing that each person may have difference and psychological concepts that make everyone unique and distinctive, the individual approach revealed that culture should be manifest at the individual level (Peterson, 2004, 34). For instance, what kind of training should be designed for a team from multiple cultural backgrounds. One framework is known as the person's self-knowledge, from which we can predict that a managerial training system carried out must vary from employee to employee in line with their own characteristics.

All these standpoints concluded, a new direction for Cross-Culture Management was put forward by Earley and Mosakowski(2004), which is referred to as Cultural Intelligence---an intelligence or a capability to effectively adjust to new or diverse cultural surroundings, including not only national boundaries, but also regions, industry sectors, organizations, professions and personal backgrounds as well as an essential foundational resource for anyone who desired to warmly interact across cultures( Livermore, 2009, 19). What is more, CQ represents a multidimensional construct of intelligence based on four components—Cognitive, Meta-cognitive, Motivational and Behavioral (Mobley, 2009, 228).

According to Earley, facing the inevitable shift from “cultural values as central” toward a more complex individual view, many companies must fully comprehend individual preference and needs in a unique situation rather than the provision of general rules and practices. Besides, any company competing in the global market e.g. Microsoft Corporation, Carrefour should develop and allocate CQ of its managers. In fine, Cultural Intelligence is a significant resource applied to serve the company well when it needs to adapt to culturally familiar or unfamiliar environments.

Nevertheless, it is equally important to know whether CQ works well or not. To evaluate this, Ward and his colleagues (2009) organized a several of studies designed to examine its utility. They exploded that CQ is a functional tool because there was no explicit evidence that the validity of CQ is incremental. It was unable to explain additional nuance in any of the psychological, sociocultural, and academic adaptation outcomes over and above that explained by language proficiency, personality and emotional intelligence. Furthermore, results of investigations also challenge respects of the construct validity of CQ and its overall utility. With the possible exception of Motivational CQ, cultural intelligence does not offer additional explanatory power in the prediction of cross-cultural adaptation.

Then they attempted to express the correlation between Cultural Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence. Their findings demonstrated that even though there are some conceptual overlaps between Cultural Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence, they still had 67.2% of shared variance, which exactly confirmed Earley and Ang's(2003) argument that Cultural Intelligence is separate and distinct from Emotional Intelligence.

Their series of studies proved it is a problem that the CQ tool is a self-reported instrument. The limitations of CQ as a self-report instrument can be seen from the critique that Ward lists more or less. A striking example of this has been provided by Brackett et al (2006), who found that the self-report measure of cultural intelligence tell no more about adaptive outcomes than established measures of personality and verbal intelligence. Generally speaking, they would like to prefer performance-based testing and ability testing rather than the self-report measures of cultural intelligence in the prediction of social competencies or cross-cultural adaptation. Yet what brings surprise is a range of fruitful methods that Lee and Templer (2003) enunciated to test CQ, including interview, observation, computer simulations interview, critical incidents, cultural assimilators, and assessment centers. They also declared that only when more sophisticated measures are available is CQ likely to be adequately accessed.

Discussions And Comparisons

Earley elaborated that CQ make a novel contribution and it has much potential to improve our understanding and acquisition of acculturation and adaptation. On the contrary, Ward's article pointed that CQ is a new construct and is worthy of further research and realization of its potential is hindered by its measurement in some degree.

However, what must be convinced is that every company is competing in a global marketplace, managing a diverse workforce and trying to keep up with a rapidly shifting trend (Livermore et al, 2009, 3). And there are with some managing aspects that Cultural Intelligence will provide a practical guide. They are as follows:

Firstly, CQ would instruct the decision making, which is the core of management. Now it is recognized that decision making is a multicultural challenge as many launches of management processes is cross-cultural. On the one hand, to an enterprise who wants to open or expand a host country market, all of its strategies and decisions must be in harmony with the culture of host state. For example, the advertisement decision of a company that focuses on Arabian market should take the custom that Arabs read from the right to the left into consideration, so the writing sequence of its advertisement should also be correspondingly from the right to the left. Consequently the advertisement can be approved unanimously by the Arabian customers. On the other hand, a company may jump into a new cross-culture situation at any time, CQ helps to motivate its work on the interface among all the different cultural occasions (Sternberg and Grigorenko, 2004).

Secondly, the company's operation is accompanied with negotiations every moment. The substantial of negotiation is just cultural collision and conflict (Starkey et al, 1999). Which determined CQ should play a significant role in the negotiation procedure. Moreover, as far as an internationalization team is concerned, the partition of time or space, the cultural difference and the bar of language all caused disadvantageous dimensions for members to communicate mutually (Cohen, 2007, 105-106). In such a case that facing a colleague who comes from a culture that values saving face above direct, straightforward way, how to get feedback from him? However, the superiors who have high CQ can adjust communication strategy in time, communicate clear and accurately with their subordinates. Perhaps they will revise differed rhythm, style and mannerisms to communicate with whom they are trying to connect.

Last but not the least, leadership practice and behaviors are influenced by the shared culture of people within organizations. For leadership to occur, the more about the core value and culture of his inferiority a manager knows, the better the effect of his leadership is. To our knowledge, CQ offers leaders an overall repertoire that can be utilized to a myriad of cultural situations.


What is noteworthy, Cultural Intelligence assists us to distinguish the mankind behavior different culture creates from the public's universal behavioral habit and an individual's special behavioral habit (Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1969). In the more diversified business environment, everybody has to master the ability to monitor cross-cultural conditions thus gaining a competitive edge and extra effectiveness.

On the basis of the fact that Cultural Intelligence is an innovative construct for cross-cultural transition and adoption in management and it can be learned by almost anyone, although it has some limitations that Ward illustrated, it is proposed that the company could still use it as an essential tool for diversifying our training.


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