What is cultural intelligence?

Cultural intelligence is a fundamental step in achieving cultural competence. Acquiring and developing intercultural skills can help you have a smoother and more successful international career. To become a successful global mind, here are some useful tips.


Recognize the culture of your home country

To make a good transition it is important that you analyze the relationship with the culture of your country of origin before (source: meowessay.com). Ask yourself what are the typical products of your country, the most popular and practiced rites, how the most important social systems and institutions work, the norms and attitudes that influence the origins and functioning of such social institutions (discipline in a family, for example).

What are the values that such beliefs reveal? Social attitudes towards children's obedience would imply that power and hierarchy are very important to that culture. Once you ask yourself these questions, you can try to discover common ground between your home culture and the culture you will be entering, and thus begin to acquire cultural intelligence.

You will probably start with clichés and stereotypes of different countries and cultures. This is not exactly cultural intelligence, but it is not necessarily bad, either. Stereotypes exist because they are simple to understand and easy to remember. Reflect on your culture and gather information about the new culture to understand where they come from.

The culture of the destination country

Start taking language courses, because while non-verbal communication conveys a lot of useful information, language skills allow you to increase your level of communication, access cultural facts and understand your mistakes quickly.

Insert yourself in the rites and products of the country. You can read tourist guides, cook new recipes, consume some of the pop culture, research your destination on the Internet or buy books about living abroad. This way you can learn about the history, geography and politics of the country, as well as useful tips for dealing with certain social situations.

The theory of cultural intelligence

The importance of intercultural skills is undeniable. Global communication is no longer limited to certain industries and top executives, but occurs everywhere. While superficial cultural differences may disappear with globalization, the underlying social values remain.

When you do business internationally, intercultural skills are vital to your success. Practical skills are the most difficult to acquire in multicultural learning. It means that you are able to analyze misunderstandings and correct or even avoid them in the first place.

The practice of cultural intelligence

A great example of cultural intelligence in action is that of a manager of Western origin who is trying to improve the efficiency of group projects in his company's offices in Asia. To do so, he promised the most productive members a bonus, regardless of their hierarchy or time in the company. Not only did this not work, but it even led to a further drop in productivity.

What happened? By remunerating one team member, he chose a single person to praise, generating embarrassment in the rest of the team. To protect their co-workers, the workers adjusted their behavior accordingly and avoided overproduction. No one wanted to be the winner, if it meant that they were going to affect the dignity of their co-workers.

When the manager discovered that he was offending the basic values of a hierarchical and collective culture, he decided to change the incentive and promised to compensate the whole team if they achieved a certain goal. In the face of this, productivity rose significantly. The ideal of cultural intelligence is to achieve these results, even when dealing with delicate situations.


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