Cultural Intelligence and Experiential Learning Powering Faculty Intercultural Leadership Development

Cultural Intelligence and Experiential Learning Powering Faculty Intercultural Leadership Development

Althia Ellis
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9577-1.ch016
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A look at today's higher education institutions shows an increasing number of culturally diverse students. The ability of faculty to value these learners can serve as an unmatched resource to enrich the learning experience for students and enhance the intercultural leadership development of faculty. We will explore how the integration of research in experiential learning and cultural intelligence (CQ) can help develop a process model for faculty to turn their interactions with diverse students into learning outcomes (Ng, Van Dyne, & Ang, 2009). The application of cultural intelligence, which offers a four-factor framework (metacognitive intelligence, cognitive intelligence, motivational intelligence, and behavioral intelligence) might increase the likelihood that faculty who interact with diverse students will engage in the four-stage theory of experiential learning: experience, reflection, conceptualization, and experimentation (Ng, Van Dyne, & Ang, 2009; Mezirow, 1997). The experience will impact experiential and learning outcomes, and can lead to multiple advantages.
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The demography of the student population at colleges and universities has clearly shifted over the last fifteen years (Chun, 2009). It means that leading in a multicultural environment today is increasingly becoming a challenge. This is especially evident in today’s higher education community, where effective leaders are needed and are an important asset (Ng, Van Dyne, & Ang, 2009). According to (Dhaliwal, 2010), the increasingly multicultural student bodies pursuing opportunities in a global environment and the complexities in institutions of higher learning make it all the more critical for instructional leaders to have the capacity to be mindful, sensitive, and understanding of students particularly as it relates to the advantages that students and instructional leaders stand to gain. Leading in the 21st century requires cultural intelligence combined with the knowledge of how to lead. This can have a significant impact on intercultural interaction and workplace success. What is needed in educational institutions today are culturally intelligent and interculturally competent leaders who are well equipped to function in diverse learning environments. As Chun (2009) posits, “From the standpoint of resources, faculty and staff represent the institution’s intellectual and creative capital, the talent that drives the engine of academe” (p. 16). The training and development of classroom leaders therefore, should be a priority that impacts the effectiveness and competitiveness of higher education institutions.

Patterson (2009) declared that there is a basic expectation across the education community that cultural proficiency is considered a component of teaching. It is becoming more and more apparent that the interaction among culturally diverse groups on college and university campuses needs to be addressed whether through professional development training delivered on-site by the institution or by a consulting firm or other means of professional enrichment. Ng et al. (2009) asserts that while exposure to the difficulties of living and working in a foreign country may be a viable intercultural development initiative to nurture educational leaders, this option is not feasible for all. A more salient approach involves dimming the focus on the performance and adjustment aspects of leaders in multicultural learning environments and placing the emphasis on learning outcomes. This level of attainment can come about by cultivating knowledge of behaviors that are appropriate when communicating with people from various cultures, having greater awareness of cross-cultural differences, and the ability to communicate in a foreign language. People appreciate cultures when they can learn from them. Instructors who adopt a mindset by which they attempt to view things from the perspectives of other people will add knowledge to their personal repertoires (Samovar, Porter, & McDaniel, 2012). The goal, therefore, is to empower faculty with the skills, knowledge, abilities, and other characteristics that are relevant in the classroom.

By using adult learning theories, we will develop a procedures model that influences learning effectiveness of classroom leaders. We introduce Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning theory to explain steps instructors can take to develop their intercultural leadership through their interaction with students. We also apply the values of cultural intelligence in showing the level of reliance on experiential learning as instructional leaders engage students from various backgrounds. We define cultural intelligence (CQ) as one’s understanding of what is required to manage and function effectively among individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds (Earley & Ang, 2003).

We will start with a review of experiential learning assumptions as told by Kolb (1984), including its application to faculty intercultural development. We will present the four factors of cultural intelligence as well as the role cultural intelligence plays in supporting experiential learning context.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Diversity: The existence of cultural difference; for educational purposes – a focus on social justice and respecting the individual differences among students and staff.

Cultural Intelligence (CQ): A collection of skills that enables individuals to function effectively and appropriately in culturally diverse contexts.

Multiculturalism: The view in a society that cultures are deserving of equal respect and interest.

Intercultural Sensitivity: The ability to make complex perceptual distinctions among patterns of culture.

Intercultural Competence: The ability to communicate in an effective and appropriate manner in intercultural contexts based on a person’s intercultural knowledge, skills, and ability.

Ethnorelativism: Viewing our own culture in the context of other cultures.

Self-Efficacy: The belief that an individual has in his/her capacity to engage in behaviors that are necessary to generate specific performance attainment.

Ethnocentrism: The use of one’s own cultural standards to negatively judge aspects of another culture.

Experiential Learning: The critical role of experience in affecting learning and change.

Leadership: An influence relationship in which leaders and followers work toward real changes and outcomes that reveal their shared purposes.

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