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’s the difference between individuals and organizations that succeed 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 framework of multiple loci of 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 interest and persistence to function in culturally diverse settings.
  • CQ Knowledge (Cognitive CQ): The level of understanding about how cultures are similar and how they are different.
  • CQ Strategy (Meta-cognitive CQ): The extent of planning, awareness, and checking, before, during and after intercultural interactions.
  • CQ Action (Behavioral CQ): The extent of flexibility and appropriate use of a broad repertoire of behaviors and skills during intercultural encounters.

Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS and E-CQS)


Following rigorous scale development procedures, 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 over and above 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 reliability, factor structure, validity, etc. of CQ.

Cultural Intelligence Outcomes

  • Intercultural Adjustment
  • Cultural Judgment and Decision Making
  • Intercultural Negotiation Effectiveness
  • Trust, Idea Sharing, and Creative Collaboration
  • Cultural Leadership Effectiveness
  • Individual and Group Performance on cultural tasks and in culturally diverse settings

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 want to conduct academic research aimed at publication in 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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