What is Cultural Intelligence ?

Heard about IQ, EQ, and CQ ?   What are they, and how they help you in your personal development to the next level.


IQ is Intelligence Quotient 智力商數/智商, which is a total score derived from a set of standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence.  Historically, IQ is compared with the person's mental age score as a fraction, multiplied by 100 to obtain the IQ score.  In modern IQ tests, the medium raw score of the norming sample is defined as IQ 100, and scores each standard deviation defined as 15 IQ points greater or less.  By this definition, approximately 2/3 of the population scores are between IQ 85 and IQ 115, and 2.5% above IQ 130.  Traditionally, people pay a lot of attentions to IQ because they consider people with higher IQ are more clever.  However, people found some other factors are also important in real life to become successful.

EQ is Emotional Quotient 情緒商數/情商, also called Emotional Intelligence (EI), is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, and the ability to use these emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.  It is about the ability to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one's goals.  EQ appeared in the area of psychology back in 1964, but became popular around 1995.  Empathy is typically associated with emotional intelligence, because it relates to an individual connecting their personal experiences with those of others.

There are different models of emotional intelligence, in particular a mixed model that combines ability EI and trait EI.  EI was considered as the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance.  The trait model encompasses behavioral dispositions and self perceived abilities, and is measured through self report.  The ability model focuses on the individual's ability to process emotional information and use it to navigate the social environment.  Studies have shown that people with higher EI have great mental health, job performance and leadership skills.

CQ is Cultural Intelligence (CI), or sometimes also called Cultural Quotient (CQ) 文化商數 can be understood as the capability to relate and work effectively across different cultures, or about cross-cultural competence in leadership.  This is a relatively recent study originally developed around 2002/3.  In business, it is more a theory within management and organisational psychology towards the impact of an individual's cultural background on their behaviour is essential for effective business, and successful engagement in any environment or social settings.

CQ has been gaining acceptance throughout the business community, aiming to improve cultural perception in order to distinguish behaviours driven by culture from those specific to an individual, suggesting that allowing knowledge and appreciation of the differences to guide responses resulting in better business practice.  To go further, it is about Intercultural Competence, which is a range of cognitive, affective, and behavioural skills that lead to effective and appropriate communication with people of other cultures.  No doubts to say, this is one of the important factor in business for success in international organizations, and international leadership.

IQ, EQ and CQ are the characteristics of each individual.  While part of them are tied to the personal traits of the individuals, but part of them can also be trained and improved once there is awareness, and are helpful and constructive in the self development of the individuals.


PMCS works with KnowledgeWorkx to provide workshops on Intercultural Intelligence (ICI).  The workshops aim at providing awareness of cultural intelligence for business leaders, the importance of ICI in today's complicated mix and organizational development for international businesses and cross-cultural teams.  The workshop will dive into different worldviews by people from different cultures, and understanding of cultural differences in 12 different dimensions.  In the workshops, each individual will go through their individual's worldview and 12-dimensional assessment tools to get a better understanding of themselves as a starting point, and utilize this as their tools to understand other people from other cultures too.