Copyright © 2017 by David C. Thomas and Kerr Inkson All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.
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Third Edition Paperback print edition ISBN 978-1-62656-865-5 PDF ebook ISBN 978-1-62656-866-2
IDPF e-book ISBN 978-1-62656-867-9
Produced and designed by BookMatters. Copyedited by Tanya Grove. Proofread by Janet Reed Blake. Indexed by Leonard Rosenbaum. Cover designed by Dan Tesser, Studio Carnelian.
To the champions of diversity in all nations
1. Living and Working in the Global Village 2. Cultural Knowledge 3. Mindfulness and Cross-Cultural Skills 4. Making Decisions across Cultures 5. Communicating and Negotiating across Cultures 6. Motivating and Leading across Cultures 7. Working with Multicultural Groups and Teams 8. Developing Cultural Intelligence in an Interconnected World
Conclusion: The Essentials of Cultural Intelligence
Appendix: Short Form Cultural Intelligence Assessment (SFCQ) Notes Bibliography Index About the Authors
Cultural intelligence is a critical skill in surviving and thriving in today’s global environment. In the second edition we applied cultural intelligence broadly to people’s interactions not just in organizations but in their daily lives. In this third edition we focus on how to develop this critical ability.
We are reminded daily of the globally interconnected world in which we live. Events on one side of the globe reverberate instantaneously on the other. Globalization has many effects, but one of the most important is the dramatic increase in the opportunity and need to interact with people who are culturally different from us. We are exposed on a daily basis to a wide variety of attitudes, values, beliefs, and assumptions that culturally different individuals hold about appropriate behavior. In order to solve the problems of today’s global society, indeed in order to function day to day, we must learn to understand and integrate these differences. The range of cultures we encounter in the multicultural cities in which we live may be slightly unusual, but only slightly, as migration patterns around the world respond to rapid economic and political changes. The world is becoming more interdependent; to keep pace we must all learn to think globally—we must all develop our cultural intelligence!
The aim of this book is to help you acquire the global people skills you need to deal with individuals from other cultural backgrounds, which will make you more effective in your all-around performance in the years ahead. It is for people who travel overseas and encounter new cultures, as well as for those who stay at home and find that other cultures have come to them. It is about acquiring the cultural intelligence not only to survive without embarrassment in a new multicultural environment but also to pursue your goals with the confidence needed for success.
Like its predecessors, this book is different from many other books you may have seen about cross-cultural skills or living and working in other countries.
First, this book is not country-specific. We do not provide laundry lists of drills and routines that should be applied in this country or that. Our intent is rather to help you to acquire a way of thinking and being that can be applied to any number of countries and cultures.
Second, this book is based on years of sound academic research. However, it is not an academic text, and we have tried to present important
concepts in a straightforward way. To make the learning concrete, we have illustrated each chapter with a number of case studies in cross-cultural behavior, from various cultural settings.
Finally, we don’t promise that this book will solve all your interpersonal problems, either at work or in your daily life. However, we sincerely believe that if you read and apply the concepts outlined here, you will be well on your way to acquiring a critical contemporary skill— cultural intelligence.
Cultural intelligence builds on earlier concepts that you have probably heard of: the intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ), the idea that it is important how we handle our emotions. Cultural intelligence (CQ) incorporates the capability to interact effectively across cultures.
The concept is easy to understand, but it takes time and effort to develop high levels of skill. Becoming culturally intelligent is essentially learning by doing and has useful outcomes beyond the development of intercultural skills. In addition, different cultures are fascinating, and learning about them can be a lot of fun.
The first three chapters outline the fundamentals of cultural intelligence. Chapter 1 shows how a lack of cultural intelligence can negatively affect intercultural interactions. In it we examine the problems with current methods of addressing these cross-cultural issues and identify acquiring cultural intelligence as a more productive approach. The next two chapters outline the principles and practice of cultural intelligence. In Chapter 2 we help you to understand what cultural differences are and how they are reflected in different people’s behavior. Chapter 3 helps you to discard your assumptions about the way people “should” behave, practice mindfulness— a kind of attention to culturally based behavior— and develop skills for use in cross-cultural situations. The message in these chapters is that the task of understanding culture is difficult but not impossible, and that if you learn the basic principles, adopt a mindful approach, and are prepared to act as a culturally adaptive person, you can function effectively in a variety of cross-cultural settings, and find the experience rewarding.
In the next four chapters we apply the fundamentals of cultural intelligence to a number of common interpersonal challenges in multicultural settings. By applying the principles outlined, you can be more effective in making decisions in different cultural contexts (Chapter 4); communicating, negotiating, and resolving conflicts across cultures (Chapter 5); leading and motivating others who are culturally different
(Chapter 6); and designing, managing, and contributing to multicultural groups and teams (Chapter 7). In Chapter 8 you will learn how cross- cultural understanding, mindfulness, and skills are acquired and can be developed by means of education, everyday experience, and foreign travel. This edition also includes the newest measure of cultural intelligence, which is presented in the appendix. This measure is a result of a decade- long research project conducted by an international team of university- based researchers to define and measure the concept of cultural intelligence. The result is a short but theory-based measure of the concept that we hope will be a useful tool to assess and help individuals develop their cultural intelligence. Finally, we provide a bibliography of key sources for those wanting to explore cultural intelligence in more depth.
Kerr is a Scot who lives and works in New Zealand. Dave is a New Zealand citizen but was born and educated in the United States and now lives and works in Canada. As we write and teach about cultural diversity, we are constantly reminded of our own cultural backgrounds. While we both have extensive international experience and between us have lived and worked in eleven different countries, we know that these backgrounds influence how we think and write. We have worked very hard to be objective in this regard, but we would be pleased to hear from readers who feel we have missed or misinterpreted things that are obvious to them from their cultural perspective.
In this book we have attempted to help readers understand and integrate cultural differences, to appreciate the wonderful diversity of our fellow human beings all around the world, and to help people everywhere become more knowledgeable, more attentive, and more skilled in their interactions with others. We sincerely believe that by developing cultural intelligence, we can all make the world a more productive and a happier place.
Dave Thomas Kerr Inkson
Numerous individuals, organizations, and environments have contributed to the production of this volume. We are grateful to Berrett-Koehler for convincing us to make room in our schedules to do a third edition. We thank everyone at BK for caring about our books and making them the best they can be.
Many of the ideas in this book were the product of, or refined in, numerous discussions that Dave has had with members of the International Organization Network (ION). The development of this book was based on the work of the Cultural Intelligence Project. Led by Dave, the members of the original Cultural Intelligence Project are Kevin Au, Zeynep Aycan, Richard Brislin, Jean-Luc Cerdin, Bjørn Ekelund, Efrat Elron, Mila Lazarova, Martha Maznevski, Andre Pekerti, Steven Poelmans, Elizabeth Ravlin, and Günter Stahl. We are especially grateful to Stacey Fitzsimmons and Yuan Liao for their contributions to our work.
This volume is informed not only by our academic study but also by the numerous cross-cultural encounters that make culture come alive for us. Therefore, we thank all those people who have helped to educate us and beg forgiveness from those we have offended along the way through our own lack of cultural intelligence.