Cultural Intelligence Research

More than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles by scholars and research teams from all over the world document the scientific knowledge about CQ. The following is a brief overview of the seminal findings across the studies on cultural intelligence.

CQ Key Research Question


What is the difference between individuals and organizations that are effective in today’s multicultural, globalized world and those that fail?

Going beyond existing notions of cultural sensitivity and awareness, CQ captures the capabilities of individuals and organizations that successfully and respectfully accomplish their objectives, whatever the cultural context.

CQ Model

Earley and Ang built on Sternberg and Detterman’s multiple loci framework on intelligence to argue that intelligence must go beyond mere cognitive abilities. Ang and Van Dyne developed an initial nomological network of predictors and outcomes of four CQ capabilities:

  • CQ Drive (Motivational CQ): the level of a person’s interest, persistence, and confidence to function in culturally diverse settings.
  • CQ Knowledge (Cognitive CQ): the level of a person’s understanding about how cultures are similar and how they are different.
  • CQ Strategy (Meta-cognitive CQ): the degree to which a person plans for, remains aware during, and checks after multicultural interactions.
  • CQ Action (Behavioral CQ): the extent of a person’s flexibility and appropriate use of a broad repertoire of behaviors and skills during multicultural encounters.

Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS and E-CQS)


Following rigorous scale development procedures over many years, the Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS) was developed, refined, validated, and cross-validated using a series of culturally diverse samples that included executives, expats, professionals, students, and members of multicultural teams throughout the world. Click here to read more about this process.

Next, an Expanded Cultural Intelligence Scale (E-CQS) was developed, which has separate scales for each of thirteen sub-dimensions. Results demonstrate strong incremental, discriminant, and predictive validity of the CQS and E-CQS. The CQS and E-CQS are the basis of the CQ Self-Assessments and the CQ Multi-Rater Assessment (360°).

CQ has predictive validity above and beyond social desirability, personality, experience, and a host of other constructs. Accordingly, it’s not easy to “game” the assessment and there’s a high level of convergence between self-ratings and observer ratings across several thousand participants.

Download a summary of technical information on the reliability, factor structure, validity, etc. of the CQS.

Cultural Intelligence Outcomes

  • High-quality decision-making
  • Trust, cooperation, and negotiation effectiveness
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Adjustment and resistance to fatigue/burnout
  • Work performance (individual and team) and leadership effectiveness
  • Profitability and cost savings

See Leading with Cultural Intelligence (2nd edition) for a summary of the research on CQ outcomes including case studies from specific organizations.

Future Research


The research on cultural intelligence continues to expand across the globe.

If you wish to conduct academic research aimed at publication in scholarly journals, please contact us for more information on using our copyrighted CQ scales.

View more of our research books and articles

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CQ is an ongoing education

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