Cultural intelligence (CQ)

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This article describes the relationships of cultural intelligence (CQ) with other types of intelligence, motivation, and leadership behavior. Mindfulness provides for a conceptualization of intercultural competence. CQ is a useful competency for acculturation challenges as required for expatriate talents in multinational enterprises. People used to minority status, people from more diverse environments, and those with higher CQ experience more positive acculturation and psychological well-being. For Global Talent Management CQ is essential as a predictor of performance and creativity and therefore increasingly used as assessment tool also for transformational leadership styles.

Emotional and social intelligence, motivation, and leadership behavior

Human capital is the major sub-factor of intellectual capital that contains a measurement of “sharing and reporting knowledge” [1], indicating that social competencies are acquired capabilities on the basis of emotional intelligence [2]. Cultural intelligence (CQ) might be essential to enable sharing across cultures as it means the ability to adapt to a new culture through open-mindedness and judgment-free respect for others [3]. CQ moderates emotional intelligence and leadership behavior [4]. Indeed, to understand emotional intelligence, cross-cultural differences need to be understood too [5]. As emphasized in the theory of emotional and social intelligence competencies (ESC), the motivation to make use of the competencies is vital to consider too [2].

Mindfulness, acculturation, and psychological well-being

Mindfulness might provide for a comprehensive conceptualization of intercultural competence as a cultural sensitivity that is put in action as a result of reflection [6]. Cross-cultural intelligence can be taught through different respectively the combination of methods such as lectures, literature, exchange sessions, and most effectively field trips [7]. CQ is also a significant contributor to career capital [8], potentially not only across geographies, but also in navigating company cultures [9]. Direct inter-cultural contact impacts both cultures involved, a process that is called acculturation [10]. The challenges that come with such foreign cultural influences might be a reason why it is often difficult to find talents who are willing to live abroad. People used to minority status, people from more diverse environments, and those with higher CQ experience more positive acculturation and psychological well-being [11].

Performance improvement and transformational leadership

Assessing CQ is highly useful for global talent management as there is a proven positive correlation with job performance [12]. Thanks to higher-quality cross-cultural social exchanges, knowledge hiding, on the one hand, can be decreased and creativity, on the other hand, improved [13]. It is, therefore, not surprising that culturally intelligent global leaders are high in demand [3]. An impressing percentage of 92% (out of 100) of companies who invested into improving CQ increased revenues within one and a half years [14]. Multinational organizations’ talent management functions fare well with using CQ as a selection tool [15]. Social intelligence and CQ also predict effective transformational leadership styles [16] as it allows the appropriate adaption of behavior to cultural differences [3].


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[3] Ramsey, J. R., Rutti, R. M., Lorenz, M. P., Barakat, L. L., & Sant’anna, A. S. (2017). Developing Global Transformational Leaders. Journal Of World Business, 52(4), 461-473. doi:

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[5] Bangun, Y. R., & Iswari, K. R. (2015). Searching for Emotional Intelligence Measurement in Indonesia Context with Innovative Approach. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 169(The 6th Indonesia International Conference on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Small Business (IICIES 2014), 337-345. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.318

[6] Tuleja, E. A. (2014). Developing Cultural Intelligence for Global Leadership through Mindfulness. Journal Of Teaching In International Business, 25(1), 5-24.

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[11] Volpone, S. D., Marquardt, D. J., Casper, W. J., & Avery, D. R. (2018). Minimizing Cross-Cultural Maladaptation: How Minority Status Facilitates Change in International Acculturation. Journal Of Applied Psychology, 103(3), 249-269. doi:10.1037/ap10000273


[13] Bogilović, S., Černe, M., & Škerlavaj, M. (2017). Hiding behind a mask? Cultural intelligence, knowledge hiding, and individual and team creativity. European Journal Of Work And Organizational Psychology, 26(5), 710-723. doi:10.1080/1359432X.2017.1337747

[14] Roberts, L. G. (2010). Looking beneath the tip of the iceberg: cultural intelligence in international education. International Schools Journal, 30(1), 38.

[15] Jyoti, J., & Kour, S. (2017). Factors affecting cultural intelligence and its impact on job performance Role of cross-cultural adjustment, experience and perceived social support. Personnel Review, 46(4), 767-791.

[16] Robert, E., & Radha, S. (2012). Measuring social and emotional intelligence competencies in the Indian context. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, (1), 30. doi:10.1108/13527601211195619



About mathias sager

Thinking and writing for happiness, painting colorfully, and enabling personal growth for all. Fostering co-operative and humanitarian principles, economic and social equality, as well as environmental sustainability. Using broad international experience and progressive, egalitarian and global outlook to promote care for the next generation.
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2 Responses to Cultural intelligence (CQ)

  1. regerman says:

    Insightful read. Thank you

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