Emiratisation and Cultural Intelligence - CQ

The Abu Dhabi slogan "Leadership in a Changing World: From Dreams to Actions" (Abu Dhabi Executive Council January 2010) is the platform on which we find ourselves today.

I believe that there are many factors that influence our workforce, and Emiratisation is a journey to be travelled, not a destination.

I don’t want to repeat many of the valuable discussions that have been published or have taken place, but would like to share some diverse thoughts and possible future workplace trends that can perhaps be explored in further workshops, inshallah!

C Q or Cultural Intelligence is something I think will play a very important role in our vision of converting Dreams to Actions.

What I mean is simply The Tao of Business Success on which the platform is The Tao of Cultural Intelligence. (please see - http://www.1000ventures.com/business_guide/crosscuttings/cultural_intelligence.html)

1. YIN (passive, accepting side). Outside-In: your capability to grow personally through continuous learning and good understanding of diverse cultural heritage, wisdom, and values.

2. YANG (active, aggressive side). Inside-Out: your capability to deal effectively with people from different cultural background and understanding.

With greater diversity in the workforce demography and business organisations entrenched in the global economy, individuals need to work and inter- act regularly with those who have different cultural or ethnic backgrounds.

Working with people from different cultures can be difficult for individuals and for their organizations because cultural barriers can cause misunderstandings that detract from efficient and effective interactions.

It is therefore important to understand why some individuals are more effective than others in dealing with situations that are culturally diverse.

Responding to this need, Earley and Ang (2003) conceptualized a multifactor concept of cultural intelligence (CQ) that includes mental (meta- cognitive and cognitive), motivational, and behavioural components. Earley and Ang defined CQ as an individual’s capability to deal effective in situations characterized by cultural diversity. Mental intelligence includes meta- cognitive and cognitive capabilities (i.e., cognitive processes and cognitive knowledge); motivational intelligence acknowledges that most cognition is motivated and that the magnitude and direction of an individual’s energy represents motivational intelligence; while behavioural intelligence focuses on what individuals do (i.e., their overt actions) rather than what they think or feel (i.e., thoughts and emotions). In parallel fashion, meta-cognitive CQ reflects the processes individuals use to acquire and understand cultural knowledge. Cognitive CQ is general knowledge and knowledge structures about culture.

Motivational CQ is magnitude and direction of energy applied toward learning about and functioning in cross-cultural situations. Behavioral CQ is the capability to exhibit appropriate verbal and nonverbal actions when interacting with people from different cultures.

Given the newness and novelty of the construct, empirical research on CQ is sparse albeit growing. In a paper that presented validity evidence for the four-factor measurement of CQ, Ang, Van Dyne, Koh, and Ng (2004) showed that CQ significantly explained variance in performance and adjustment over and above effects of demographic characteristics and general cognitive ability among international executives and foreign professionals.

Specifically, Ang and colleagues (2004) demonstrated that mental (meta- cognitive and cognitive) CQ significantly predicted cultural judgment and decision making (JDM) and task performance; motivational CQ significantly predicted general adjustment in intercultural environments, while behavioural CQ related to task performance and general adjustment in inter- cultural environments.

In another study, Templer, Tay, and Chandrasekar (2005) showed that motivational CQ significantly predicted cross-cultural adjustment of foreign professionals, over and above pre-job assignment interventions such as realistic job previews and realistic living conditions previews.

This topic is as wide as it is deep, and I hope that I have many more conversations with those that are leaders in this field and who have a definite interest in solutions on motivating and retaining our Emirati workforce.

Source: Group & Organization Management, Vol. 31 No. 1, February 2006 100-123

(Adler, 2002; Gelfand, Nishii, Holcombe, Dyer, Ohbuchi, & Fukuno, 2001; Kraimer, Wayne, & Jaworski, 2001; Lievens, Harris, Van Keer, & Bisqueret, 2003; Takeuchi, Yun, & Tesluk, 2002).

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