Cross-Cultural Leadership Assessment
� What is cultural intelligence, according to the books or journal articles you found?
� Why is cultural intelligence important for HR practitioners?
� What are three recommendations to help develop one’s cultural intelligence?
� How well-developed is your cultural intelligence, and what tells you that?
� Considering what you read on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s site, why is cultural intelligence
important, even if your career is exclusively in the United States?
What is cultural intelligence?
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Cultural intelligence spells out an individual’s capability to work or relate across different
cultures in an effective manner (Winn, 2013, p. 10). In essence, it refers to the natural ability
exhibited by an individual in interpreting unfamiliar gestures in the same manner that the person
from the specific culture would (Stening, 2006, p. 74). Cultural intelligence has gained
popularity over the years as the world increasingly becomes a global village and cross-cultural
organizations continue to emerge (Livermore, 2010, p. 3). Individuals must therefore be in a
position to understand others effectively in order to communicate and co-exist effectively.
Importance of cultural intelligence for HR
The relevance of cultural intelligence for HR practitioners in indisputable, as portrayed by
various studies which have sought to identify the significance of culture on managerial behavior
(Winn, 2013, p. 10). This is often driven by the fact that workplaces are becoming increasingly
multicultural and managers must therefore understand cultural impact and how to deal with it
positively to promote organizational performance (Winn, 2013, p. 11). Human resource
practitioners should definitely be interested in cultural intelligence as it helps them make
effective decisions during selection, recruitment, training and development of their employees
(Stening, 2006, p. 74-76). Before sending employees on assignment as expatriates for example,
the HR manager would need to determine who are best suited for the assignment, as well as the
kind of training required for the individuals to effectively interact with persons from a different
religious, ethnic and linguistic background. Effective understanding of cultural intelligence is
also of great importance in promoting a cohesive workforce, resolving intercultural conflicts and
addressing ethical dilemmas (Livermore, 2010, p. 2).
Developing cultural intelligence
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The following three recommendations can help an individual to develop cultural intelligence.
Have the drive: Developing cultural intelligence calls for one to have motivation or interest to
understand and learn another culture. When interest is shown towards a particular aspect, the
mind also opens and allows for learning to take place (Livermore, 2010, p. 5).
Acquire knowledge: Understanding another culture is not an easy task and someone must
therefore invest in acquiring relevant knowledge (Livermore, 2010, p. 5). This includes learning
how culture influences behavior, beliefs and values. Knowledge can be acquired through
constant interaction with members of different cultures and groups, reading cultural history and
literature on beliefs, values and behavior, observing behavior of people from different culture
especially when they interact with each other and learning foreign languages (Stening, 2006, p.
Action: This refers to how you utilize acquired knowledge and generally portray your cultural
intelligence. In essence, it involves utilizing the knowledge learned during one’s interactions
with people from different cultures, gaining experience and learning from mistakes (Livermore,
2010, p. 5-6). With time, an individual becomes naturally capable of intercultural interaction and
hence becomes culturally intelligent.
My cultural intelligence development
I consider my cultural intelligence quite advanced; having lived, schooled and interacted with
people from vast cultural backgrounds. I do not have major difficulties in interacting with people
from different communities and I am able to adapt to my surroundings quite easily. In most
circumstances, I can effectively build rapport with people from different cultures without any
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difficulty. This is because I have taken the time to interact with others from similar cultures and
learn more about their behavior, values and expectations. In addition, I can effectively pick out
peoples’ needs and emotions through cultural intelligence by being in tune with their beliefs,
values, attitudes, expressions and body language. Through cultural intelligence, I have learned to
monitor my own actions and refrain from judging others and relying on stereotypes. Instead, I
always take my time to observe and adapt to my behavior according to the people I am
interacting with. While I may not be an expert in every culture, I often use my observation,
intelligence and empathy to understand people and situations and thus understand the behavior of
Importance of cultural intelligence
Cultural intelligence is of great importance even for people whose careers will be exclusively in
the United States. Having read on the Southern Poverty Law Center, it is apparent that this
institution handles people from numerous social and ethnic backgrounds and having cultural
intelligence is of great relevance to people who work in such organisations. This is mostly so
because of its popularity in dealing with victims of hate groups, discrimination and racial
segregation. Each individual requiring civil rights litigation comes with the expectation that they
will be understood and treated well by those serving them despite of where they come from.
Accordingly, possessing cultural intelligence would ensure that individuals can be treated with
empathy and that their needs can be identified effectively in order to provide the required
assistance. As noted by Winn (2013, p. 12), cultural intelligence is highly important in
understanding the behavior of others; which in turn plays an important role in the development
of interpersonal interactions. The more an individual is exposed to people from different
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cultures, the more culturally intelligent they should be in order to work well with others and also
ensure that they can fit in anywhere without many challenges.
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Livermore, D. A. (2010). Leading with Cultural Intelligence : The New Secret to Success. New
York: American Management Association, AMACOM Division.