Cultural Intelligence

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Coping with national cultures, corporate cultures and vocational cultures. Explanation of Cultural Intelligence of Earley and Mosakowski. ('04)


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Cultural IntelligenceCultural Intelligence (CQ) is the ability to cope with national, corporate and vocational cultures as described by Christopher Earley and Elaine Mosakowski in HBR of October 2004. CQ is the ability to understand unfamiliar contexts, and then to adjust. They describe three sources of Cultural Intelligence.

Three sources of Cultural Intelligence

  1. The Head /  Cognitive. Rote learning about the beliefs, habits and taboos of foreign cultures, will not work well.

  2. The Body / Physical. You will not disarm your foreign hosts, guests, or colleagues simply by showing you understand their culture; your actions and demeanor must prove that you have already to some extent entered their world.

  3. The Heart / Emotional/motivational. To adjust to a new culture involves overcoming obstacles and setbacks. People can do that only if they believe in their own efficacy.

While it shares many of the properties of emotional intelligence, Cultural Intelligence goes one step further by equipping a person to distinguish behaviors produced by the culture in question from behaviors that are peculiar to particular individuals and those found in all human beings.

Importance of Cultural Intelligence

Why Cultural Intelligence? In an increasingly diverse business environment, managers must be able to navigate through the thicket of habits, gestures, and assumptions that define their coworkers' differences. Foreign cultures are everywhere. In other countries, certainly, but also in corporations, vocations, and regions. Interacting with individuals within them demands sensitivity and adaptability. And the people who have those traits in abundance, are not necessarily the ones, who enjoy the greatest social success in familiar settings.

The people who are socially the most successful among their friends, often have the greatest difficulty to understand cultural strangers, and to accepted by them. Those who fully embody the habits and norms of their native culture, may be the most alien when they enter another culture. Sometimes, somewhat detached people from their own culture, can more easily adopt the habits and even the body language of an unfamiliar host. They are natural observers, and easily make a conscious effort to fit in.

Growing your Cultural Intelligence

Earley and Mosakowski conclude that anyone who is reasonably alert, motivated and poised, can attain an acceptable CQ. They recommend a 6 step approach to cultivating your cultural intelligence:

  1. Examine your CQ strengths and weaknesses. In this way you establish a starting point.

  2. Select training that focuses on your weaknesses.

  3. Apply this training.

  4. Organize support in own organization.

  5. Enter the cultural setting. Start with a focus on your strengths.

  6. Reevaluate (360°). Possibly define further training.

Cultural Intelligence Forum
  Cross-cultural Training Techniques Avoiding Expat Failure
48 percent of expats leave foreign posts early because of poor job performance and 37 percent return prematurely because they or their family members are unable to acclimatize in different cultures (Insch and Daniels as cited in Kreitner, 2009, p.106...
  Moving Cultural Intelligence to Practice: Requiring a Minimum CQ for Certain Professions?
There's plenty of amazing ideas, thought leadership, and unique perspectives in some of these discussion threads. Who is interested in collaborating on moving some of this into practice? Here are just 3 suggested scenarios (use cases) where we might ...
  Cultural Intelligence is an Acquirable Skill Set
A cultural misfit generally happens to be a business / organizational misfit irrespective of "Equal Opportunity" being practiced in these areas.
This is due to the feeling of alienation the culturally misfit person's behavioral aspects which mig...
  Using CQ and EQ as a Basis for Measuring Education, Leadership and Success?
If we want to solve the really "big" problems in our society (western, middle-eastern, European...), with instability, crime, social injustice, abuse of women & children that is on the rise, and our inability to co-exist with ourselves (let alone the...
  Public Sector Companies and Cultural Intelligence
It seems cultural intelligence (CQ) is going to play a crucial role in tomorrow’s global business. I’m specialized in management of Public Sector Companies (PSCs). Without the knowledge of CQ, many PSCs won’t survive in the globalized market. ...
  Cultural Adaptability
In an era of globalization cultural intelligence (CQ) becomes important. This does not mean adopting other people's culture but accommodating the culture of people in the official as well as personal network and having regards for different cultur...
  Cultural Intelligence Can Help Connect Cultures
It seems clear that with computer-information technology revolution, cultural integration and its attended potentials are becoming real.
Rich individuals in the techno-advanced world are recognizing that there is poverty plaguing a greate...
  Cultural Adjustment and the 'Collective Unconscious'
If you believe in Jung's construct, then there is no need to worry (ask Alfred E. Neuman); unless, there exists a cultural business requirement to fit a square peg in a round hole. Of course we know that business (national and international) has evol...
  Detached People Adapt Easily
“Somewhat detached people…. can more easily adapt” is an excellent insight in that there is not only fragmentation of culture across national or language boundaries, there is also fragmentation inside current cultural contexts and this is acceleratin...
  International Experience -> Cultural Intelligence?
On a very basic level, is it safe to say that a person working at retail store in an airport such as JFK or LHR will be or become culturally intelligent?...
  5 Tips for International Communication
In conducting business, cultural missteps can ruin a good opportunity. As the world shrinks and we work closer and closer together, accepting and understanding each other becomes more essential every day.
Communicating with clarity and purpose l...
  C.Q. is a Must in Today's Global Business Environment
Increasing liberalization of trade has lead to various factors including movement of labour / global workforce, diversity in supply chain....
Diversity in customers managed by multinational/multiculture teams.. A very true scenario in today's gl...
  Four Sources of Cultural Intelligence
We are exploring and researching similar concepts and have four sources of cultural intelligence: Head, Heart, Gut and Spirit. Cognitive, Emotional, Instinctual and Philosophical. Wisdom, Humanity, Courage and Resilience. We are doing stud...
  Cultural Intelligence vs Skills Culture
By accompanying transnational mergers, we sometimes realize how much skills culture can be more under question than national cultures. Production staffs understand each others borderless, whereas HR and marketing staffs fight in the sam...
  Cultural Intelligence and Personality Structure
Many people can identify their weaknesses and be trained so as to avoid any obstacles in understanding and be part of a culture. There are some people who cannot change due to their personality structures. How can such people be changed to accept and...
  Examples of Cultural Intelligent People?
Suggestions please for well-known people who we believe have Cultural Intelligence. Who are our Role Models? Why should we hold them up as role models?
Well known = perhaps well-known in their own country if not internationally. Can you...
  Significance of Cultural Intelligence for Multinationals
For global companies, the ability to incorporate cultural intelligence in their selection, hiring, education and management development processes seems important. Who can share some best practices or nightmares how this is done?...

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Best Practices - Cultural Intelligence Premium
  The Relationship of Cultural Intelligence (CQ) with IQ and EQ
Personal characteristics - such as cognitive ability and emotional intelligence - facilitate the process of acquiring particular types of information. But when you're working in an international or intercultura...
  Going Against Core Principles and Values... Tough
Adapting to a cultural situation is all well and good until an individual is faced with the need of going against their core principles and values and then the trouble starts... Do they do the right thing culturally and betray their own core v...
  Establishing Cultural Intelligence in Organizations
It all depends on the organizational culture and how an organization communicates this among its employees.
Keep it stupid simple, choose the right people (cultural fit) for your organization. And before they start to work, give them a

Expert Tips - Cultural Intelligence Premium

Pitfalls and Best Practices in Managing Multicultural Teams

Brett, Behfar and Kern describe 4 common problem areas in managing multicultural teams:
1. Direct vs indirect communication
2. Troubl...
Usage (application): Multicultural Teams

Theory of Multiple Intelligences

In 1983, Howard Gardner proposed the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. According to Gardner there are a wide variety of cognitive abilities (A ...
Usage (application): Skills Development

Negotiation in Middle Eastern and Western countries

Geert Hofstede’s research on cultural dimensions provides insights into other cultures so that we can be more effective when interacting with people i...
Usage (application): Cultural Dimensions, A Practical Example

How to Assess Your / Someone's Social Intelligence and Leadership Skills

In their article "Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership" (HBR, September 2008), Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis argue that a more rela...
Usage (application): Social Intelligence, Leadership Development

Cultural Intelligence in Mergers & Acquisitions

Cultural Intelligence in today's context assumes a great significance, particularly in the light of the frenzy of PE / M&A activity taking place all a...
Usage (application): M&A

Cultural Intelligence Profiles

In their article “Cultural Intelligence” (HBR, October 2004) P.C. Earley and E. Mosakowski identify 6 manager profiles according to their CQ methodolo...
Usage (application): Identify Personal CQ Profile

Thorndike on Intelligence 1920

E.L. Thorndike (1920: Intelligence and its uses) distinguished between three distinct types of intelligence:
1. Abstract or scholastic Intelligen...
Usage (application): 3 distinct types

Koreans vs Germans

In a recent interview on Business Spotlight 3/08, Mrs. Mee-Rae Kim, a leading expert in German-Korean intercultural business communication projects...
Usage (application): Differences in Business Communication

Key CQ Traits and Capabilities?

Here are some basic traits and capabilities of a high CQ.
1) Have clear understanding (strengths and weaknesses) of one's own culture
Usage (application): Cultural Intelligence

Resources - Cultural Intelligence Premium

Management Across Cultures: Managing in a Global Context

This presentation consist of six sections that together form an extensive description of management across cultures. These six sections are ordered as...
Usage (application): Cross-Cultural Management, Cultural Dimensions, Cultural Intelligence, Multicultural Teams, Global Leadership, Global HR

5 Strategies to Successfully Manage Cultural Differences

Cultural differences can be an asset rather than a liability to a team if carefully managed and other people are approached with an open mind.
Usage (application): Cultural Differences, Cultural Intelligence, Cross-Cultural Teams, Company Culture, Hofstede

Your Organization in a Globalized World

Presentation about organizational behavior in an age of globalization. The presentation includes the following sections:
1. Introduction
2. ...
Usage (application): Organizational Behavior, International, Hofstede, Organizational Culture, Globalization, Cultural Intelligence

Communication and Negotiation in a Cross-cultural Context

Presentation about Communications and Negotiations Across Different Cultures. The presentation includes the following sections:
1. Outline of Pre...
Usage (application): Cross-Cultural Communication, Cross-Cultural Negotiation

Corporate Diversity and Inclusion

In this introduction video, top managers of Skanska share their vision on Diversity and Inclusion and the importance of these instruments for their gl...
Usage (application): Cross Functional Team, Organizational Culture, Globalization, Organizational Change, HRM, Cultural Dimensions

Going Abroad / Cultural Intelligence Workshop

This presentation provides you with information about traveling the globe and cultural intelligence, with the main goal of helping you to understand o...
Usage (application): Cultural Intelligence, Intercultural Engagement, Cultural Adaptation

5 Options to Work with People from Another Culture

A. How to build a global leadership group in which people can cope with the complexity of working globally?
1. Recruit people for le...
Usage (application): MNCs, Multinationals, Multinational Companies, Globalization, International Leadership Development, Cultural Intelligenc

Leading a 21st Century Global Organization

William Fung Group, Managing Director of Li & Fung Ltd, recommends to be successful in a global business leaders have to keep several things in mind:<...
Usage (application): Global Leadership, Globalization, Multinational Corporations, MNCs

Culture, Cultural Competence, Cultural Intelligence and the CQ

This presentation is a good introduction to culture and contains three large sections: Culture, Cultural Competenence and Cultural Intelligence and th...
Usage (application): Cultural Intelligence

Perception of Cultural Intelligence in South African Organizations

Extensive presentation about Cultural Intelligence by Y. du Plessis, S. O'Neil and R. van den Berg. This presentation examines how South African manag...
Usage (application): Cultural Intelligence Results and Examples


Cultural Intelligence


Cultural Differences Adapt


Cultural Intelligence


Cultural Differences Adapt


Cultural Intelligence


Cultural Differences Adapt


Cultural Intelligence


Cultural Differences Adapt

Compare with Cultural Intelligence:  Emotional Intelligence  |  Cultural Dimensions  |  Culture Types  |  Social Intelligence  |  Framing  |  Levels of Culture  |  Coaching  |  Mentoring  |  Changing Organizational Cultures  |  Path-Goal Theory  |  Contingency Theory  |  Attribution Theory

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