HOW CAN CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE BE MEASURED?
Cultural Intelligence can be termed as an individual’s ability to adjust and adapt himself successfully, to the different cultures with unfamiliar attributes from cultural and traditional point of view (Earley & Ang, 2003). It involves the ability to think and analyse an unfamiliar situation in a specific manner, develop motivational strategies and attitude and then act accordingly considering various cultural differences (Tan, 2004).
In these highly advanced and modernized world, many of the companies and organizations across the globe are multi-cultural. Organizations design and develop their products in one particular country, set it for production in multiple number of countries and include its selling and marketing in even more number of countries (Culture and international business: recent advances and their implications for future research, 2005). All this is possible even though there are number of cultural differences among the countries owing to the different languages, religions, economies, political structures, ethics and other such characteristics. There are many factors influencing the cultural intelligence and its effect on the performance of the individuals. We are going to observe the work and researches done by various well known researchers in this field.
Cultural intelligence follows Emotional intelligence. It takes the approach from that point where emotional intelligence ends (Earley & Mosakowski, 2004). Emotional intelligence refers to the logic that people are used to culture that is familiar and they carry their interaction with the other people with the same familiar approach. They do not have a broader vision of getting themselves acquainted and adapted with the differentiation of the cultures. On the other hand, cultural intelligence inculcates the logic of interacting with people with unfamiliar cultures and background and that too, while living in an unfamiliar environment (Tan, 2004).
Let us see an example which displays both the type of intelligence: An American manager who was in Germany for his work was heading a team of engineers. When other members of the teams proposed their ideas and plans, two of the German engineers criticized their ideologies. On this, the American manager developed a conclusion that the Germans are insensitive and rude (Earley & Mosakowski, 2004). In this case, he was considering the people who gave their views and not the actual views. This approach depicts Emotional intelligence part and it can be stated that a better understanding and approach is needed to inculcate cultural thinking and eradicate emotional quotient (Morris, 2005). A more rational approach towards cultural thinking could have helped the manager to understand that the criticism provided by the German engineers was more because of their engineering background, rather than generalising their behaviour to the Germans. On the other hand, German engineers depicted an approach inculcating cultural intelligence where in spite of the speakers being of the same culture that they belonged to, criticized their ideology and plan.
Cultural Intelligence is measured by four factors given by Soon Ang in 2003 and 2007, various authors and researchers like Imai, Early, War, Triandis who have discussed Ang’s research and carried further studies. In terms of measuring the Cultural intelligence, there are four core components or dimensions which were proposed by Ang and other fellow researchers with him and they are:
It refers to the approach as well as the attitude of an individual when he deals with an unfamiliar situation or problem which may involve cross cultural entities. People need to broaden their way of thinking which will thereby improve the way they act (Vianen, Pater, Brown, & Johnson, 2004). As discussed in the example above, if the manager had understood the true meaning of the criticism offered by the German engineers, he would have thought on the clauses mentioned by them rather than drawing to a conclusion that inculcated emotional behaviour.
It is related to the behavioural factor and takes it a step ahead by describing and evaluating the type of behaviour that inculcates cultural thinking. It states that a person should not only consider the way he thinks but should also focus or work on the expression of his words. One should always remember that Words can help to make or break the enthusiasm of the people (Neeley, 2012). In the above example, the manager should have motivated the German engineers for providing honest and useful feedback and could have asked them to develop a better proposal and plan. (Tan, 2004)
It refers to the act or process understanding and acquiring knowledge regarding the various cultures and their systems. It is observed that each and every culture has got its own perspective of thinking. Hence, it is necessary that efforts should be made in understanding the various regional, traditional, ethical and other such cultural factors of a particular nation. People who have a broadened vision and wide range of acceptance can evolve themselves in the field of cultural intelligence (Ang S. , Dyne, Koh, & others, 2007). In the example, American manager can show a better understanding of the German ideology instead of judging them on the whole.
It follows the cognitive factor through deepening the approach of understanding each other’s culture by having a better and adequate understanding of individual’s own thought process. One has to awaken, realize and work on the thoughts within himself in order to understand others (Ang S. , Dyne, Koh, & others, 2007).
They considered the relationship of these dimensions with the effectivity of three intercultural outcomes which are judgement of culture and decision making, adapting cultures and performing tasks. Before the study, they carried out validation and implementation of the multi-dimensional cultural intelligence 20 points scale across the samples in USA and New Zealand among 1360 people and then the study was carried on 794 people. It was obtained that cognitive and meta- cognitive factors affected the decision making, behavioural and motivational assisted cultural adaptation and behavioural and metacognitive helped in developing task performance (Ang S. , Dyne, Koh, Chandrasekar, & others, 2007).
Early and Mosakowski in 2004, also developed three components of cultural intelligence which supported Ang’s theory and they are cognitive, physical, emotional and emotional/ motivational (Earley & Mosakowski, 2004).
Triandis, a researcher in 2006, defined cultural intelligence on the basis of two terms: Idiocentrism, which involves thinking, feeling and acting as it is in individualistic culture whereas Allocentrism which means thinking like the people in collectivist cultures. (Triandis, 2006).
On the other hand Lmai and Gelfand in 2010, developed a research on the effects of cultural intelligence on various relations and found that it does not have that much effect on the thinking capability of the individual during diverse situations, but presence of CQ helps an individual in intercultural negotiations. (Imai & Gelfand, 2010).
A well-known researcher, C. Ward along with his associates in 2011, carried a research on three studies. The first study was based on the four factors provided by Ang and was carried on a sample of around 336 international students. It was found that the results developed by the Ang’s study were not applicable everywhere across the globe as they considered only two nations, namely USA and New Zealand in their research, whereas the effect of the cultural intelligence is well beyond these factors. Second study, was carried to determine the relationship between cultural and emotional intelligence on 118 international students. A strong correlation of around .82 was obtained which implies large correlation of the emotional aspect in the cultural intelligence which is contradicting to the Ang’s and other studies. The third study was carried to determine the score of cultural intelligence and test the cognitive factors related to it with the help of MPQ Multicultural Personality Questionnaire sub-scales where a very less amount of relation was obtained among the CQ scores and the adapting capabilities of the individuals (Wilson, Fischer, & Ward, 2011).
Advise for the managers about measuring and understanding cultural intelligence:
Managers must understand that a team that is multi-cultural will provide various benefits to the organizations by possessing in depth knowledge of the product, its marketing and promotion across different cultures and appropriate customer satisfaction through all the cultures across the globe. But, this may also increase the work of the manager where he has to put more efforts and supervision among the staff from different cultures (Ward, Fischer, Lam, & Hall, 2009). A manager has to take care and analyse the root cause of the mutual conflicts occurring due to cross cultural clashes. Along with that, a proper understanding and application of the above mentioned four factors of cultural intelligence will help him to channelize the multi-cultural team towards the achievement of the organization’s goals and objectives (Brett, Behfar, & Kern, 2006).
Organizations consider cultural intelligence as an advantage in terms of market reach, competitions and development of strategy. Huge, MNCs like Lloyds TSB prefers individuals who are multi-cultured and have a sensible understanding of the cultural intelligence. This helps them to provide a wide range of customer service. Companies like Lufthansa and Levi Strauss prefer the individuals with cultural intelligence that provide the man advantage for better product development and its marketing (Tan, 2004).
Thus, it may be observed that only the four factors suggested by Ang are not capable enough to determine the capability of the individual to adapt, but special observation and analysis needs to be made on individual level by the managers (Earley & Mosakowski, 2004).
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