With the world becoming increasingly global and connected, it is importance to develop Cultural Intelligence (CQ) not only for expat managers at work but also in life for your spouse and children. The cultural intelligence is a person’s capability to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity. CQ is a critical capability that enhances employee, manager, and organizational effectiveness. It also enhances interpersonal interactions in a wide range of social contexts.
Most of people working with cross-cultural communication and intercultural training and coaching have heard about the Five Hofstede’s Intercultural Dimensions (http://www.geert-hofstede.com/)
Geert Hofstede defines culture as:
- The first, most common, meaning is “civilization”, including education, manners, arts and crafts and their products.
- The second meaning refers to the way people think, feel, and act.
Geert has defined it as “the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from another”. The “category” can refer to nations, regions within or across nations, ethnicities, religions, occupations, organizations, or the genders. A simpler definition is ‘the unwritten rules of the social game’.
Professor Hofstede’s five intercultural dimensions are (http://www.geerthofstede.nl/culture/dimensions-of-national-cultures.aspx)
- Power Distance : Measures inequality
- Individualism: is the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups
- Uncertainty Avoidance : indicates to what extent people feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations.
- Masculinity: Masculinity versus femininity, refers to the distribution of emotional roles between the genders
- Long-Term Orientation: Long term oriented societies foster pragmatic virtues oriented towards future rewards, in particular saving, persistence, and adapting to changing circumstances. Short-term oriented societies foster virtues related to the past and present such as national pride, respect for tradition, preservation of “face”, and fulfilling social obligations.
I think it is important to understand that the tool developed by Hofstede is just a support that can be used to stimulate questions and help people from different cultures to share information and discuss about meta-communication (communication about the communication process). It is not a way to judge, there are no good or bad intercultural dimensions. The tool may increase awareness about our own culture and others and therefore helps to identify specific skills needed for candidates for expatriation or identify skills to develop.
Use this tool to compare two countries: for example your home culture with your host culture: http://www.geert-hofstede.com/hofstede_dimensions.php
- Firms succeed offshore by cultivating cultural intelligence at home (lovinglanguage.wordpress.com)
- Research Findings: The Value of Intercultural Skills in the Workplace (zestnzen.wordpress.com)
- Are you teaching cultural awareness or intercultural awareness? (elteachertrainer.com)