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Cultural intelligence, cultural quotient or CQ, is a theory within management and organisational psychology, positing that understanding the impact of an individual's cultural background on their behaviour is essential for effective business, and measuring an individual's ability to engage successfully in any environment or social setting. A current trend is to use cultural intelligence in pre-employment assessments.[1] First described by Christopher Earley and Soon Ang in Cultural Intelligence: Individual Interactions Across Cultures.[2] The book was published in 2003 by Stanford University. In Singapore, Soon Ang has created the Center for Leadership and Cultural Intelligence.[3] with its U.S. counterpart, the Cultural Intelligence Center [4] based in East Lansing, Michigan

Christopher Earley and Elaine Mosakowski in the October 2004 issue of Harvard Business Review described cultural intelligence. CQ has been gaining acceptance throughout the business community. CQ teaches strategies to improve cultural perception in order to distinguish behaviours driven by culture from those specific to an individual, suggesting that allowing knowledge and appreciation of the difference to guide responses results in better business practice.

CQ is developed through:

  • cognitive means: the head (learning about your own and other cultures, and cultural diversity)
  • physical means: the body (using your senses and adapting your movements and body language to blend in)
  • motivational means: the emotions (gaining rewards and strength from acceptance and success)

CQ is measured on a scale, similar to that used to measure an individual's intelligence quotient. People with higher CQ's are regarded as better able to successfully blend in to any environment, using more effective business practices, than those with a lower CQ. Soon Ang worked together with Linn Van Dyne to validate the Cultural Intelligence Scale.

David Livermore has written several books applying cultural intelligence to various fields, including Leading with Cultural Intelligence and The Cultural Intelligence Difference.

Dr. Richard D. Bucher has also written on this topic: "Building Cultural Intelligence - Nine Megaskills." These megaskills are Understanding cultural identity; Checking cultural lenses; Global consciousness; Shifting perspectives; Intercultural communication; Managing cross-cultural conflict; Multicultural teaming; Managing bias; and Understanding the dynamics of power - published by Pearson in 2008. Building CQ website

Cultural intelligence is a particular concern for expatriates in foreign environments where not knowing what to expect and the differences that can be encountered upon arrival and in the early stages of settling in can often result in culture-shock – the disorientation felt by a person subjected to an unfamiliar way of life.[5]

See also


External links

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