What Is Cultural Intelligence?

4 min

Cultural intelligence is a person’s ability to relate and work effectively in culturally diverse situations.

Developing cultural intelligence will help you succeed in the global workplace.

What does culture mean?

Psychologist Geert Hofstede says culture is the “collective
programming of the mind” that differentiates one society from another.

Another way to think about it is
the way we do things around here,” with "here" being anywhere that group norms and habits guide how people think and behave, which could be a state, a country, or a company.

Cultural intelligence (CQ) refers to more than just knowing basic information about a culture, like what language they speak or how they greet one another.

Having high CQ means being flexible and adaptive in culturally diverse situations knowing how to respond appropriately and thrive.

Let's practice:

Rosario has just been assigned to work on a team whose members are located in three different countries and speak several different languages. She’s very familiar with the project, and is considered a "people person" but still feels anxious about working on this team.

Quiz 1 of 1

How can cultural intelligence help Rosario to succeed in her new position?

She’ll be able to speak to people in a different language.
She’ll be more flexible in culturally diverse situations.
She’ll be able to adapt to different time zones.
She’ll meet more diverse people.

The correct answer is B. 

Developing her cultural intelligence can help Rosario adapt and thrive in diverse situations.


How comfortable do you feel in culturally diverse work situations? If you were assigned to a multicultural team, would you feel prepared to adapt and thrive?

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