Promoting Cultural Intelligence in the Workplace

Topics: Culture, Cross-cultural communication, The Culture Pages: 12 (3455 words) Published: December 24, 2008
Background of the Report

Methods of Investigation

In order to have a better understanding on some of the issues of cultural intelligence and how we can better promote cultural intelligence in the workplace, the team conducted an intensive research on this issue through various research studies, academic journals and book references. In the process of the research, we also made several references to numerous videos relating to cultural intelligence. The videos were found mostly on the internet as well as in some movies.

Once we felt better equipped with the knowledge of culture and cultural intelligence, we headed out onto the streets to conduct interviews with business professionals to get a firsthand account on their experiences of working with people from different cultures.

Additionally, we also conducted short interviews with our peers to get an overview of the youths’ take on Cultural Intelligence and its importance in society. Some of the peers whom we spoke to were from overseas and thus, this gave us a greater insight on cultural sensitivity which contributed to helping us formulate our report outline.

Lastly, in order to investigate the level of awareness and the importance on the issue of Cultural Intelligence, we posted up an online survey on Zoomerang. From the survey, we then discovered that although 73% of the 100 respondents have worked with people from a different culture, majority (71%) of them were either unaware or vaguely aware of the issue on Cultural Intelligence. However, once the concept of Cultural Intelligence was explained, majority (60% of them thought that Culture Intelligence is very important in the workplace. Additionally, it is also noted that 33% of the respondents have ever been at the receiving end of cultural/racist jokes and thus, this leads in to the importance of our topic. (Please refer to the appendices for the entire survey questionnaire and survey results) Objectives

To address the issue of cultural intelligence and the significance and importance of it in the workforce. •To increase awareness of the various cultures and some of the fundamental issues in cross cultural interactions •To examine the various factors that contribute to cultural intelligence and use this knowledge to help one be more culturally sensitive. •To investigate some of the problems and challenges in the workforce in the issue of cultural intelligence •To enable one to have a repertoire of behavioural skills that would enable them to respond appropriately to different intercultural situations. •To propose solutions that can help one increase his or her cultural intelligence which would in turn, contribute to a more effective workforce in the globalised society.


Everybody has heard of IQ, the measure of one’s learning potential and the ability to reason. (Wrightslaw, 2008) More recently people have become familiar with EQ—emotional intelligence. However, Cultural intelligence, or CQ, is an unfamiliar concept to many as it is a new idea that builds on these earlier concepts, while incorporating the capability to interact effectively across cultures.

Culture and Cultural Intelligence

Culture is frequently described as an iceberg as most aspects of culture are intangible and hidden - just like an iceberg which hides most of its bulk under the water.

As it was in Titanic, the shop sank as the captain did not notice the iceberg. Similarly, in this context, culture is also an obstacle block that most of may not notice but is yet, an important aspect that we must take note of when communicating with people of a different culture. If the presence of such icebergs is neglected or ignored, it can be highly detrimental, resulting in the loss of friendships, respect, employment opportunities and even business deals.

However, this can be avoided with intercultural knowledge and skills, otherwise known as cultural intelligence.
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