The Research Behind Cultural Intelligence

How it All Got Started

Cultural Intelligence was first discussed by academics about 25 years ago. Since that time, over 1,000 articles about CQ have been published in scholarly journals.

CQ research has been conducted across more than 150 countries throughout the world and published in over 600 scholarly journals. Scholars across a wide variety of disciplines (management, psychology,  diversity and inclusion, leadership, language studies, counseling psychology, etc.) are contributing to CQ research

Research Summary

Many studies by different research teams in different parts of the world show the reliability and validity of the CQ Assessment.

Published peer-reviewed research shows that Cultural Intelligence predicts a wide range of cultural effectiveness outcomes.

Research also demonstrates that Cultural Intelligence interventions help people to enhance their CQ, and this should facilitate cultural effectiveness.


— Matsumoto & Hwang’s critical review of ten cultural competence measures Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, July 2013

Learn More About the Research

Request a copy of our Research Guide which describes the CQ research including:

  • Conceptualization of Cultural Intelligence
  • Development and Validation of the Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS)
  • Psychometric Properties of CQS
  • Outcomes of Cultural Intelligence
  • Specific CQ Research Studies
  • CQ Research Brief

Evolution of Research on Cultural Values: Introducing Individual Behavior Preferences

Researchers have used the term ‘cultural values’ in two different ways. For example, the original Hofstede research referred to cultural values at the country level. Research on national cultures showed cross-border differences in the typical approaches to decision-making (collectivistic and individualistic), communication styles (direct and indirect), approaches to uncertainty (low and high low uncertainty avoidance), etc.

More recently, scholars have recognized the diversity of values within cultures and within countries. So today, we find it more useful to recognize these differences and focus on individual level preferences instead of country level preferences. Individual “Behavioral Preferences” provide a non-judgmental, easy to understand way to discuss individual differences. Understanding the preferences  of others and adapting to these differences enhances teamwork and improves work performance.

Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS)

Ang and Van Dyne (2008) expanded upon Earley and Ang’s (2003) original three-factor conceptualization of Cultural Intelligence (motivation, cognition, and behavior) and advanced a  four-factor model (motivation = CQ Drive; cognition = CQ Knowledge; metacognition = CQ Strategy; and behavior = CQ Action).

CQ Drive

Your level of interest, persistence, and confidence during multicultural interactions.

CQ Knowledge

Your understanding about how cultures are similar and different.

CQ Strategy

Your awareness and ability to plan for multicultural interactions.

CQ Action

Your ability to adapt when relating and working in multicultural contexts.

Scale development followed rigorous construct development procedures involving multiple development samples over several years. A multicultural team (including members from North American, Europe, and Asia) used data from different cultures and a variety of multicultural teams to assess the psychometric properties of the CQ scale.

Cross-validation replicated the four-factor structure in different samples (e.g., other people in different cultural settings).

Predictive Validity - Published peer-reviewed research shows that Cultural Intelligence predicts adjustment, well-being, cultural judgment and decision-making, task performance, citizenship performance, adaptive

performance, and leadership performance in culturally diverse settings

Cultural Intelligence Research Resources

We offer multiple  resources that focus on the research behind Cultural Intelligence.

Complimentary Research Guide

Request a copy of our Research Guide document which describes the research in more detail and covers the following topics:

  • Conceptualization of Cultural Intelligence
  • Development and Validation of the Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS)
  • Psychometric Properties of CQS
  • Outcomes of Cultural Intelligence
  • Specific CQ Research Studies
  • CQ Research Brief

Complimentary Cultural Intelligence for Leaders Packet

Learn to Lead with Cultural Intelligence

Now, more than ever, companies need effective leaders at all levels of the organization. Being able to bring together and get the best out of team members from different generations, socio-economic backgrounds, ethnic roots, countries, religions, and educational backgrounds requires a Culturally Intelligent Leader.

We have a collection of Cultural Intelligence leadership articles written by social scientist, speaker, and author Dr. David Livermore.  The article topics include:

  • 5 Questions Culturally Intelligent Leaders Ask Themselves Every Day
  • Leadership Advice You Should Ignore
  • How Culturally Intelligent Leaders Make Decisions

About the Author

David Livermore, PhD (Michigan State University) is a social scientist devoted to the topics of cultural intelligence (CQ) and global leadership and the author of several award-winning books. Learn more about Dr. David Livermore by visiting his website.

To receive your complimentary CQ for Leaders Packet, please provide your email address below.

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