Use cultural intelligence

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As the world economy becomes more prosperity, international communication is increasing along with the development of international tourism. According to the World Travel & Tourism annual report (2008-2009), tourism has become the largest industry in the world since 1992, and it made a significant contribution to the world economy. International tourism is highly concentrated in Europe and America, and some countries have an obvious advantage in this area, such as, the United States of America, Spain, and France. China and the United Arab Emirates have gained strength gradually in recent years. In 2009, China was in fourth place and the United Arab Emirates at ninth, in terms of visitor export earnings.

There are many hospitality research projects; however, most of those come off badly (Lugosi, P. et al., 2009, p.10). The World Travel & Tourism annual report (2008-2009) found, world tourism GDP growth dropped to 1.0% in 2008, the worst year since the beginning of the economic recession. The prospect of future years is still uncertain, a decline of 3.3 percent is predicted for 2009, and only 0.3 percent in 2010. Although it is a difficult time for the economy, there are still almost 219,810,000 jobs provided by the hospitality and tourism industry, which means for every 13.1 jobs there is one in the tourism industry (the World Travel & Tourism annual report, 2008-2009). The staffs come from different countries or areas with different cultural background. The manager should use the appropriate approach to deal with this situation, and should also consider the cultural influence on multinational enterprise.

The aim of this article is to identify the key challenges that such an industry attempts to solve problems through use of cultural intelligence. This, in turn, helps the industry to develop their framework. This article is structured into two parts; the first contains reviews of contemporary literature articles, and identifies the way of Cultural Intelligence is used to respond to the challenges of globalisation. The second part will establish a system for management.


Culture, FitzGerald (2002) states refers to the habits, outlook, education, and religion, of a particular group of people. Another definition of culture is provided by Bodley (1994, cited in Jervis, 2006, p4), “culture is made up of at least three components: what people think, what they do, and the material products they produce. ” In additional, Bodley (1994, cited in Jervis, 2006, p4), suggests that culture has several properties which are shared, learned, symbolic, transmitted a cross-generations, adaptive, and integrated. For example, Christians use the cross as their symbol, and many Buddhists are vegetarians because to them the killing of animals is prohibited. Peterson (2004, p17) explained “culture is the relatively stale set of inner values and beliefs generally held by groups of people in countries or regions and the noticeable impact those values and beliefs have on the peoples' outward behaviours and environment”. Culture is passed on from one generation to the next.

Modes of behaviour, social institutions and technologies are established to fit in with daily life. This means that if you live in an area where it is always raining, you will learn to take an umbrella with you. Culture also evolved to suit modern time. The core value of Chinese culture is Confucian thought, and the society status of women was very low many years ago. They did not have any choices, and it was impossible for women to say no, for example, women traditionally initially to their fathers, then to their husband, and finally to their son. While the old approach has changed, women now have a right to study, live and choose their own husband. The Hospitality and tourism industry receives guests from around the world, and should be aware of behaviour from different areas, for example, if they receive guests from China, FitzGerald (2002) suggests the best way is to be equipped with Chinese soy sauce, toothpicks, and chopsticks.

Intelligence is difficult to define. It could be visualised and conceptualised through analysis. It covers in several academic tasks which include logical and abstract reasoning. It also contains internal and external perspectives of intelligence. The skills and capability to solve problems in a new culture has been recognised and defined as cultural intelligence (CQ) Earley & Ang (2003, p59) in their work state that, Cultural intelligence refers to “a person's capability to adapt effectively to new cultural contexts”. It is thought to be a “culture-free construct that applies across specific cultural circumstances” (Ng & Earley, cited in Kerri, 2008, p2). Table 1 is a summary of definition of cultural intelligence.

CQ is composed of three parts; these are cognition, motivation, and behaviour (See figure 1 for analysis of components of CQ). Individuals with high levels of CQ use all three at the same time (Earley & Ang, 2003). Cognition means using knowledge of self, acknowledging the social situation, role identity, and reasoning frameworks (Earley & Ang, 2003); cognition using information stored in the memory to attract attention and comprehend the world, and help understand something when information is lacking (Thomas, 2006).

The implications of the motivation facet are suggested by Thomas (2006) as being different from others, individual seeking to fulfil themselves with their own cultural values. It is important to people self (Earley & Ang, 2003).This facet of CQ includes three primary self-motivators: enhancement, efficacy, and consistency (Earley & Ang, 2003).

The final facet of CQ is behaviour, or the response to a given situation (Earley & Ang, 2003). On one hand, behaviour refers to people in specific cultures, and includes getting along with family relationships in other cultures. On the other hand, cultural intelligence can also refer to the abilities and skills of people who adapt quickly (Brislin, et al. 2006).

There is another way that cognition can be motivated, and behavioural intelligence focuses on what individuals do rather than what they think or feel. In other words, Cognitive CQ is concerned with common sense and knowledge relating to the structures of culture. Motivational CQ considers each factor relative to different cultures. Behavioural CQ is the capability to demonstrate appropriate actions when in cross-cultures (Ang et al., 2006).

Why CQ is important? The reason for this is that it is easy to suitable for more different environments. It can make travelling or working aboard easier. Hospitality and tourism managers usually get an international task. IIt is stated as a ‘global management model' which means managers have to stay in a specific country for a short period of time with a responsibility to stay in several countries. For example, a global manager may stay in India for one month, and then stay in China for approximately two weeks, and finally stop in French. For these managers, the key factor is whether they have the capability to adapt to a new environment quickly and efficiently. Cultural Intelligence can enable global managers to gain an approach rapidly. It is easy to adapt to cultures for different groups, organisations and specialised fields. There will be a case study to analyse how the hospitality and tourism manager uses CQ to respond for challenges which arise as a result of globalisation.

China, as one of the four ancient civilizations countries, represents the oriental culture to a certain extent. It has traditional philosophy based ideas, such as Confucianism and Taoism. Confucianism in particular is treated as the basis of the social and political system, for example, it request group harmony and emphases collectivism.

Under the influence of such ideas, China government owned enterprises uses levels management system in human resources management. It leads employees to become accustomed to obey orders, rely on companies, and consider their job as life tenure.

In western countries, managers and employees tend to be equal. Jobs are fluid and less dependable. Westerners have different language to Chinese people which could make Chinese people appear rude (FitzGerald, 2002, p61). Westerners usually greet as ‘How are you?', ‘Goodbye', ‘Thank you', ‘Please', and ‘I'm sorry'. In contrast, some words are polite to Chinese people which can seem personal and impolite to Westerners. For example, Chinese often use ‘where are you going?', ‘How old are you?', ‘How much did it cost?' These are accepted by Chinese, though it is rather rude to Westerners.

Since 1987, China's economic system has changed from a planned to market. It has also changed from a single public market being owned by more than one party. The economic system is reformed, Western thoughts have flowed into China, and Chinese people begin to accept self-realisation, independence and Western value.

In order to guide the hospitality and tourism industry, the Chinese government are involved in the hotel industry, it addition to encourage domestic and foreign investors to involve in the hotel industry, government will pay their allowance (Chen et al., 2009, p3). In China, there are 137 hotels in 1978 which rise to 12,751 in 2006; almost 1.5 million rooms have risen (see Table 2) (China National Tourism Administration, 2007). During 2000 and 2006, the overall occupancy rates increased from 56 to 61 percent, which indicates that rooms the increasing number of rooms was sup­ported by demand. The World Trade Organization (2000-2002) forecasts that China will be the largest tourist destination in the world in 2020, with approxi­mately 130 million annual arrivals, and as a consequence the nation's hotel industry will need to expand even further.

The Great Wall Sheraton Hotel Beijing is the first joint venture five-start hotel in China and opened in 1985. It is located in Beijing's Embassy district, 22km from Beijing International Airport and is convenient for Beijing's major commercial and tourist districts (Sheraton Home Page, 2009)

The American ITT Sheraton Corporation joint venture with various Chinese business partners, which is operated by ITT Sheraton Hotels and Resorts through a management contract (Grance et al., 1998). The ITT Sheraton Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITT Corporation, a worldwide hospitality network which owns leases, manages and franchises 420 luxuries, upscale and mid-scale properties in 62 countries across all continents (Grance et al, 1998). The ITT Corporation has 50 properties in Asia-Pacific including five in China, which are Beijing, Tianjin, Xian, Guilin and Shanghai. (Sheraton Home Page, 2009)

The ITT Sheraton hotel operates in a very competitive market, as the number of hotels grows every year. It attributes its success to the quality of service and a variety of incentive programmes and facilities which aim to encourage customer loyalty. As the first five-star international chain hotel operating in China, it has created a reputation for delivering customer satisfaction. Most clients are international business guests and tourists.

The hotel's decision-makers are the Chinese partners who significantly influence all major decisions. The managers are mainly Chinese, except for several expatriate managers, and there are more than 1,000 members of staff. Although it is not a political hotel, the operations of the Great Wall Sheraton are affected by Party politics (Grance et al, 1998).

Guan xi is ordinary in Chinese society. There is no word with the same meaning in English. It is explained directly from Chinese dictionaries to mean “to concern, to relate, to make connections, to make relationships” (FitzGerald, 2002, p57). Guan xi is extremely important for doing business. If the ITT Sheraton hotel does not have several Chinese shareholders, it could find it difficult to survive in the Chinese hotel industry in Beijing.

Cultural differences in organisations can be changed by content. It is difficult to enforce the wishes at the management, if there is conflict between the workforce culture and ‘foreign' management. Current western management styles are based on corporate culture and develop service quality. The key elements of implementing cultural change are identified in the management of five parallel processes; these are leadership, teamwork, communication, people, and systems and measurement (Grance et al, 1998).

It is usual in China's hospitality industry. A successful hotel operation is in direct conflict with local cultural expectations. The hospitality industry in China has lacked of experience, infrastructure and modern technology in the past (Grance et al, 1998). After several years, Cheng Ming-Hsiang (2009, p15) uses the seven methods to value existing hotel properties, and several other international economy-scale hotel brands have already entered China's hotel market.

This work aims to indicate the changes in China's hotel industry which relate to cultural intelligence. International chain hotels established in China, and shareholders from China must consider other cultures from other countries in the world. For example, although, Christianity does not have any forbidden food, on Fridays (out of respect of Jesus who was shed on the cross) (FitzGerald, 2002), fish is commonly eaten, and managers from China should pay attention to this. Overseas investments want to enter China, and they must consider the Confucianism, guan xi and mian zi.


As part of the cultural literature and case study, it is important for managers to be aware of cultural intelligence. In modern times, as globalisation develops, managers should learn more about culture in order to understand the world. It also requires other capabilities, such as language.

From the whole article, in order to deal with challenges brought about by globalisation, there is a framework to use. Firstly, a common value should be developed in the enterprise. As part of culture, value will exist in a long time. There is a thought that only their culture is correct, others are strange, and in other countries, such strange behaviour is recognised to be normal. It is therefore significant to remove ethnocentrism, and respect and comprehends the culture of other people. Secondly, training managers with appropriate cross-cultural skills and knowledge is an efficient approach to use in order to protect and solve culture conflict. Managers can be trained from 4 sides; the first part is to learn about the culture of other people. As a manager, one needs to be aware of different cultures, and then, train employees to adapt to and to be sensitive to other cultures. Language is an important aspect of culture, and if someone does not understand the language of a culture, it would be hard for them to interpret information which others pass on to him. The last side should to be trained on the ability to communicate with clients who are from other cultures and have the ability to handle cultural conflicts. In a hotel or restaurant, people are the key resource, and hotels should try to attract people who work in a variety of countries. The reason for this is that, these people have experiences in dealing with business involving multi-culture societies.


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