Cultural
Intelligence:
A Key Competence for
Managers in a Diverse
and Global Workplace
By:
Yvonne du Plessis
Sumari O’Neil
Riana van den Bergh
University of Pretoria
South Africa
Overview
What is Cultural Intelligence
Importance of Cultural Intelligence
Purpose of this study
Methodology
Results
Discussion & Conclusion
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What is Cultural Intelligence?
The ability to adapt to new cultural settings
Capability to cooperate effectively with other
people from a dissimilar cultural background
and understanding
Ability to function in Culturally Diverse
situations
Thomas & Inkson (2003) Early & Ang (2003) Early, Ang & Tan (2006)
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Basis of Cultural Intelligence (CI)
CI finds a place alongside the different
components of intelligence:
Emotional Intelligence (EI)
Social Intelligence
CI picks up where EI leaves off by taking the
impact of culture on interactions into account
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Components of Cultural Intelligence
Meta-Cognition (Head)
Learning Strategies
Clues to shared understandings
Motivation (Heart)
Overcome setbacks
High Self-Efficacy & Confidence
Behaviour (Body)
Mirror Customs & Gestures
Adopt Habits & Mannerisms
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Importance of (CI):
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Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to explore how
managers in South African organizations,
who have to succeed in an existing multicultural workplace, perceive the term cultural
intelligence, as well as its importance as a
key managerial competence
Capture the experiences and perceptions of
South African managers in culturally diverse
settings
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WHY?
The need for this study
CI is a relatively new and unexplored concept as
a holistic phenomenon (lot on Diversity and EI,
but not CI)
Assess, Evaluate and Develop managers in
diverse environments – Sustainable performance
in diverse globally competitive environments
Intercultural/multi-cultural training & development
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Methodology
Qualitative part of a broader study
Basis of Questionnaire: CQ™ Self Assessment
(Linn van Dyne & Soon Ang, 2005)
Convenience Sample of 500 SA Managers
Response Rate: 70.6 % (353)
Development of a CI measurement instrument for South African Managers
(Poster presentation by Ms. Sumari O’Neil, Dr Yvonne du Plessis and
Prof Leo Vermeulen)
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Methodology (Cont…)
Cultural Intelligence Questionnaire
Section A: Biographical Information
Section B: Cultural Intelligence
• 37 Closed-ended Items, 5-point Scale
(Motivation, Cognition, Behaviour)
• 6 Open-ended Questions
(Experiences, Perceptions,
Attitudes,Motivation)
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Data analysis
Qualitative Analysis of 6 Open-Ended
Questions
Emergent themes per question coded
Frequency Analysis
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Results
Question 38:
An employee from another culture
invites you for dinner and you
know that the food may be different
to what you are used to. What do
you do?
………………………
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Themes:
Give it a Try
Accept Invitation
Only eat certain
Foods
Inform host of dietary of
requirements
Ask for guidance w.r.t.
Tell
host of likes/dislikes
menu/explore
the food
beforehand
Decline Invitation
Only Accept if I want to
Feel Uncomfortable
get to know the person better
Don't Eat/Eat Beforehand
Suggest a restaurant/
different venue
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Question 39:
My most exhilarating moment in having
to deal with people from different
cultures was:
……………………………..
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Themes:
Teamwork/ Teambuilding
Work-Related Experiences
Negotiating
Presenting
Education-Related
Experiences
Student Life/Schooling
Workshops/Training/
Teaching
Understanding differences/Similarities
Celebrating
Differences
Mutual
Understanding
Learning more about different cultures
Interactions with different cultures
Language
Travel/ Learning
about other cultures
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Conversations
Cultural Events
(weddings, funerals, dinners)
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Question 40:
My most embarrassing moment in
having to deal with people from
different cultures was:
………………………………
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Themes:
Race/Gender-related issues in the workplace
Discrimination
Categorisation/Stereotyping
Cultural Rituals & Ceremonies
Cultural Events
Dinners & Social Gatherings
Cultural Misunderstandings
Assumptions
Greetings
Gestures/Comments/Actions
Language Barriers
Insensitivity/Lack of knowledge
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Question 41:
What are your goals as a
manager/supervisor of a
multicultural group?
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Themes:
Cross-Cultural Understanding
Knowledge & Understanding
Respect Differences/Tolerance
Equal/Fair Treatment, Maximising Potential
Productivity
Organisational Objectives
Achieve Results irrespective of Culture
Managing Diversity
Communication
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Question 42:
Are you actively trying to learn
about other cultures?
How?
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Themes:
Participation in Cultural Events
DIRECT INTERACTIONS
Travel
Social Interactions, Asking Questions
ACTIVE LEARNING METHODS
Reading
Learning a new Language
Training
Television/Radio/Internet
Forums
Workshops
Passive Learning/Not Learning
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Question 43:
In having to deal with people
from different cultures I would
like to have answers on the
following:
………………………………..
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Themes:
Taboos/Offensive Behaviour
Greetings/Display Respect
SOCIAL CONDUCT/
Language & Communication
APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR
PERCEPTIONS BETWEEN CULTURES
Globalisation
Stereotypes/
Specific Cultural Questions
How different cultures
perceive each other
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Discussion & Conclusion
Managers in SA state that CI is important as key
competence in multicultural settings
Managers are positively inclined towards learning
more about different cultures, especially through
active participation in cultural events, learning new
languages and interaction with other cultures
The achievement of organisational goals take
preference above cultural intelligence
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Key issues that emerged from
the analysis:
Participation in multi-cultural events
Mutual understanding and acceptance
Achieving organisational objectives
Learning and understanding through
interaction
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Discussion & Conclusion (Cont…)
Suggestions for future research:
Test validity of emergent themes (replication
study)
Exploring the attitudes, perceptions and
experiences of managers outside the RSA
context in order to determine the
generalisability of results
Comparison of results across different
nationalities/countries
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Outcome of the study
We hope that these shared experiences and
perceptions of South African managers on
Cultural Intelligence will inspire
the rest of the world.
Managers can benefit
from CI as key competence, to deliver
sustainable performance in a diverse
global competitive environment.
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Any Questions?
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Thank you
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