Cultural intelligence is applied in a global business environment. A global environment is in different sovereign countries having factors that are outside its home environment. The differences influence use of resources and capabilities of each worker. Global environments have differences in their economic status, tax rates, cultures, technology regulations, social lives and political lives (Ang et al., 2007). Each country has its different way of operating its rules and regulations, which makes it important for leaders to have skills on cultural intelligence.
Kawar (2012) explains that cultural intelligence is required in multi-national corporations to analyze other cultures in factors such as
Individualism vs. collectivism because some cultures emphasize the individual and others emphasizes groups.
Power distance; most cultures insist that power should be distributed equally while others believe that only some single individuals should be in power.
Uncertainty avoidance; some cultures respond positively to change while others reject it.
Masculinity vs. feminity; organizations ought to overlook masculinity and feminity in order to add value to other issues such as assertiveness and achievement.
Cultural intelligence is the ability of people to reason and observe to interpret new gestures in order to respond to certain behaviors. Ang et al. (2007) defines cultural intelligence as the capability of people to effectively manage situations having people of different races, nationality, and intelligence. A multidimensional construct consists of mental capabilities such as Meta cognition, motivation and cognition. It also includes behavioral capabilities that include people’s actions. It involves elements such as cognitive, emotional, and physical components. Meta cognitive intelligence controls cognition in individuals, used to obtain knowledge and understand it.
A proper culture in countries influences behaviors in organizations as well as the behavior of workers in that country. Cultural intelligence is important in organizations because there are many differences brought in by people from different ethnic backgrounds. Leaders should have enough knowledge on how to manage the differences to have positive effects of the performance in an organization. Examples leaders must have cultural intelligence to assist their employees depending on collectivism and individualism as well as management of relationships and work.
Cultural intelligence has its own intelligence because it assists leaders on how to communicate negative feedback, make informed decisions, and motivate their employees. Motivational intelligence is the mental capacity of properly controlling, sustaining and directing their energy on particular tasks and situations (Kawar, 2012). It also helps employers to solve real world problems. In addition, employers have skills on how they can best reward their employees from all cultures. Control in organization is well monitored among people of all cultures.
People with high cognitive component obtain skills on how to get sense from present situations as they occur. They easily understand the culture of people in all forms and interpret them easily (Kawar, 2012).
This involves self-motivation and self-confidence. It helps people to persist and learn from their mistakes and master the gained techniques (Kawar, 2012). As people adapt to new cultures, emotional component helps them overcome obstacles and setbacks because they believe in themselves and their efficacy. Confidence assists people master techniques of solving certain problems, which helps them gain confidence when performing particular tasks.
Physical component assists people to change their speech patterns, expressions and body language and their abilities to match with people from another culture. They also adapt other cultures, gestures, habits and mannerisms . As a result, they experience the lives of other people.
Behavioral intelligence involves people’s actions over their thoughts. It is the exhibition of appropriate verbal and non-verbal actions when mixing with people from various cultures. People with high cultural intelligence demonstrate flexible repertoire of behaviors with verbal and non-verbal capabilities. They include words, tone, facial expressions, and gestures.
Emotional intelligence among leaders helps them to control their emotions, read, and interpret other people’s emotions. These leaders understand the capabilities of their employees analyze them and allocate them duties accordingly. This process helps them achieve the best results and reach their targets. Leaders with cultural knowledge and emotional intelligence easily categorize skills such as technical and cognitive, which includes analytical reasoning and competencies (Reilly & Karounos, 2010). They demonstrate emotional intelligence and ability to work with others in an effective manner. Cognitive skills involve thinking about the big picture and the future vision of the organization to gain excellent performance. Effective leaders in organizations with different cultures require having emotional intelligence to demonstrate self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.
Self-awareness is important in organizations with employees from different ethnic backgrounds because it enables leaders to understand their emotions, weaknesses, drives, needs, and strengths and how they affect others. These leaders are confident, realistic, assess, and have a sense of depreciating humor.
Self-regulation skill helps leaders to control their emotions and moods and suspend judgments. They also redirect disruptive impulses, which demonstrate their ability to think before they act (Reilly & Karounos, 2010). As a result, they embrace integrity, trust, open to changes, and are comfortable with ambiguities.
Motivation effect enables leaders to increase the performance of workers by giving promotions, gifts, money, and advices. Workers strive to excel even when there are higher chances of failure. It also increases organizational commitment.
Empathy helps leaders to know the emotional structure of other people. The skill helps organizations to interact with others. These include services given to clients and customers in their cross-cultural environment (Reilly & Karounos, 2010). Social skill gives leaders the ability to manage relationships in organizations. Workers from different backgrounds have their own interpretations of good relationships thus managers help to build networks and find common grounds and rapport in organizations. They embrace characteristics such as persuasiveness, leading change, team leading, and expertise building. Cultural intelligence also helps to realize similarities that exist among employers to extract similar views as a way of effective leadership.
Ang, S., Dyne, L.V., Koh, C., Ng, K.Y., Templer, K., Tay. C.,C. (2007). Cultural intelligence: its measurement, effects on cultural judgment, decision-making, cultural adaptation, and task performance. Management and organization review, 3(3), 1-37.
Kawar, I.T. (2012).Cross-cultural differences in management. International journal of business and social science,6(3),1-7.
Reilly, A., & Karounos, T. (2010). Exploring the link between emotional intelligence and cross-cultural leadership effectiveness. Journal of international business and cultural studies, 1-13.