The Foundation of Cultural Intelligence: Human Capital

The Foundation of Cultural Intelligence: Human Capital

Ben Tran (Alliant International University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6220-9.ch020


Globalization has expanded the domain of human capital requirements. Besides the traditional human capital requirements of technical knowledge and skills, the experience and skills associated with working in culturally diverse settings are becoming increasingly important (Tran, 2008). This additional human capital dimension—cosmopolitan human capital—is the focus of this chapter and the reason to study cultural intelligence, because they are so inextricably interlinked. Cosmopolitan human capital as a conceptualization has been expanded to include cosmopolitan human capital so as to include international experiences and cultural intelligence capabilities. Tomasello (2001) has argued that culture is what, in large part, separates human from animal intelligence. Tomasello (2001) states that humans have evolved as they have in part because of their cultural adaptions, which in turn develop from their ability even in infancy from about nine months onward to understand others as intentional agents. As such, the purpose of the chapter includes the foundation of cultural intelligence as it relates to human capital, and it concludes with recommendations on how to assess and evaluate whether an organization possesses human capital. The chapter will also assist organizations with evaluating whether they are equipped with developing human capital for competitive advantages based on 11 different types of intelligence.
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Foundation Of Cultural Intelligence (Cq)

In the history of research on cross-cultural competency, the construct of CQ has been described as a “new kid on the scientific block” (Gelfand, Imai, & Fehr, 2008, p. 376). Despite its relatively short history, CQ has undergone a remarkable journey of growth. The concept was first formally introduced by Early and Ang 2003 in their book, Cultural Intelligence: Individual Interactions Across Cultures. Ng, Van Dyne, and Ang organized the first symposium on CQ as the Academy of Management annual meeting in 2004. The following year, Ng et al. published a special issue devoted to the conceptualization and empirical investigation of CQ in Group and Organization Management. In the same year, Ng et al. organized the first Global Conference on Cultural Intelligence which started a diverse network of researchers from different cultures and different disciplines who continue to exchange ideas and work collaboratively to advance the research on CQ to this day.

In 2007, Ang et al. published the first article on the measurements and predictive validity of CQ in Management and Organization Review. By offering a validated scale to assess individuals’ CQ, this article triggered exponential growth in empirical studies on CQ across diverse disciplines, including cross-cultural applied linguistics (Rogers, 2008), military operations (Ang & Ng, 2005; Ng, Ramaya, Teo, & Wong, 2005; Selmeski, 2007), United Nations peacekeeping operations (Seiler, 2007), immigrants (Leung & Li, 2008), international missionary work (Livermore, 2006, 2008), and mental health counseling (Goh, Koch, & Sanger, 2008).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Intelligence: Targeted-at interpersonal relations, emotional intelligence.

Metacognitive (Cultural Intelligence [CQ]): Reflects mental processes that individuals use to acquire and understand cultural knowledge, including knowledge of, and control over, individual thought processes relating to culture.

General Intelligence (IQ): The ability to grasp and reason correctly with abstractions and solve problems.

Cognitive Intelligence: Knowledge structures and is consistent with Ackerman’s intelligence-as-knowledge concept, which argues for the importance of knowledge as part of intellect.

Motivational Intelligence: The mental capacity to direct and sustain energy on a particular task or situation and recognize that motivational capabilities are critical to real-world problem-solving.

Metacognitive Intelligence: Control of cognition: the processes individuals are to acquire and understand knowledge.

Behavioral Intelligence: Outward manifestations or overt actions: what a person does rather than what he or she thinks.

Behavioral (Cultural Intelligence [CQ]): Reflects the capability to exhibit appropriate verbal and nonverbal actions when interacting with people from different cultures.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Targeted at understanding one’s and others’ emotions, and practical intelligence targeted at solving practical problems.

Motivational (Cultural Intelligence [CQ]): Reflects the capability to direct attention and energy toward learning about and functioning in situations characterized by cultural differences.

Cultural Intelligence (CQ): Person’s capability for successful adaptation to new cultural settings, that is, for unfamiliar settings attributable to cultural context or an individual’s capability to function and manage effectively in culturally diverse settings.

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