Cultural Intelligence (CQ): What is it? And, how does it affect Global Organizational Change Leadership?

Other    Other

Download a Printer Friendly Version (PDF)
TITLE Cultural Intelligence (CQ): What is it? And, how does it affect Global Organizational Change Leadership?
RESEARCHER Pooja Patankar
School of Education
Northwestern University
Capstone graduate project: Fall 2016

The purpose of this study was to explore the construct of cultural intelligence (CQ) and the effect of a leader’s level of CQ on leadership capabilities.


Participants were recruited through various social media platforms, of which 212 (74% response rate) completed the Cultural Intelligence Scale (Ang et al., 2007) and the Leadership Practices Inventory. Internal reliability coefficients in this study were .79 Model, .83 Inspire, .79 Challenge, .79 Enable, and .91 Encourage.

Multiple linear regression analyses were run with each of the four components of cultural intelligence as independent variables and the five leadership practices as dependent variables. The amount of explained variance (R2) for the leadership practices on cultural intelligence ranged from 9-16 percent. All five leadership practices contributed significantly to Motivational cultural intelligence and Model and Inspire contributed significantly to Metacognitive cultural intelligence.

The author suggests (p. 10):

If an organization is going through change at whatever level or scale, a leader, whether a people manager, supervisor or project lead, must have the strong willingness and desire to inspire others via the head and the heart to join together as one coalition to move towards the future state. In order to do so and most importantly enable others to act, a leader must adapt one’s behaviors to communicate effectively and resound a strong message to employees of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, generations, tenure, thought, etc. For a leader to be able to adapt, he or she must first be aware of one’s own behaviors and internal processes and that of the surrounding as well.

The combination of metacognitive processes or one's ability to reflect and make sense of one's thought processes in different settings, specifically thinking about what is happening around oneself and drawing on one's cultural knowledge to make decisions and solve problems, and motivational CQ specifically one's level of interest, energy and self-efficacy to adapt to norms and traditions cross culturally and work through intercultural conflict suggest change leadership effectiveness than simply exhibiting leader behaviors in rote fashion as indicated by no statistically significant relationship between behavioral CQ, the “action” dimension of CQ alluding to a person’s ability to simply display verbal and nonverbal behaviors across diverse cultural settings, and the five leadership practices.