CQ - Cultural Intelligence

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CQ - Cultural Intelligence

  • OISE England
  • Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Just as IQ is a measure of intellectual intelligence, CQ is the measure of cultural intelligence.  A short text on this topic.


In an increasingly globalised world the ability to successfully communicate cross culturally is becoming invaluable. Given the worldwide surge in international travel and business links Cultural Intelligence (CQ) as a desirable quality is the natural progression from just possessing Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Cultural Intelligence can be understood as a measure of a person’s capacity to work effectively in intercultural settings. This includes a variety of things such as understanding common place greetings and social expectations in different cultural settings. As well as having an awareness of differences in faiths and beliefs and thus ensuring your own behaviour reflects this respectively. It is a sign of advanced cultural intelligence if a person is able to interact fluidly between a multicultural groups in a way that also translates and involves everyone who may not be as culturally aware.

As successful businesses are seldom contained within one country CQ is beginning to displace the desirability of a high IQ in a person’s employability. Even without a particularly high IQ a person can be exceptionally successful if they have the ability to connect and communicate well with others in multi-cultural settings. Conversely, low CQ reduces even a well-intentioned, intelligent professional to an inferior position in any social interaction. CQ creates opportunity because a person demonstrating excellent communicative skills in multi-cultural settings is far more likely to inspire others and therefore utilise the strengths of a whole group.

Cultural Intelligence, similarly to our intellectual interests, is something which can be continuously improved. Unlike more traditional forms of learning CQ is acquired through experiences. Confidence is at the core of Culture Intelligence and is the greatest asset a person can have aiding their ability to function interculturally. Having the self-assurance to immerses yourself in another culture and learn from the people who live there is a multifaceted learning process. You gain not only new knowledge but also the social skills necessary to coexist with people who share few of your own experiences and potentially beliefs and values. The single greatest way to develop CQ is through taking an interest in cultural exchange in order to gain experience living among multi-cultural groups while you gain life enhancing social skills.