Ying Yi Hong Ph.D. is a Professor in the Division of Strategy, Management and Organisation at the College of Business (Nanyang Business School), Singapore. David Livermore Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Global Learning Center in Michigan, a visiting research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and a senior research consultant with the Cultural Intelligence Center in Michigan. Ying Yi and David presented a breakout session titled ‘The Neuroscience of Cultural Intelligence’ on Day 2 of the 2010 NeuroLeadership Summit.This session explored what neuroscience is revealing about culture and the brain, how the findings can assist individuals develop the capability to adapt to cross-cultural environments, and what the differences are between individuals and businesses that succeed in today’s complex globalized world and those that fail.In response to the growing importance of these areas a new form of intelligence, Cultural Intelligence (CQ), has emerged as an area of focus and research. Cultural Intelligence is defined as the capability to function effectively across various cultural contexts (national, ethnic, organizational, generational, etc.).Some of the current intercultural competency myths that exist are:
- International experience = cultural competence
- Technical competency = success
- High emotional intelligence = high cultural intelligence
Although some correlation exists none of these indicators are clear predictors of an individuals success. In fact in some cases the very thing that makes someone successful in one country may be the thing that erodes or frustrates their success in another country.
The neuroscience research into CQ reveals that cultural experiences shape the wiring of the brain and that these neural systems are malleable and responsive to new cultural influences. As these systems are dynamic, not static, it is possible to acquire more than one cultural meaning system and be able to switch between these cultural frames when there is a demand or necessity to do so.
By understanding the neurological differences between cultures, organizations can leverage from the different perspectives. By employing the most appropriate and effective cultural frame for a given situation, organizations can harness the benefits of each system in the areas of decision making, learning, and problem formation and analysis.
So how do we develop CQ? With the volition and agency to do so, anybody can develop cultural intelligence and the ability to brain switch between systems.
The 4 CQ capabilities:
1. CQ Drive [Motivation] - our level of interest, drive and motivation to adapt cross-culturally
2. CQ Knowledge [Cognition] - our level of understanding about cultural issues
3. CQ Strategy [Meta-cognition] - our level of awareness and ability to plan in light of our cultural understanding
4. CQ Action [Behavior] – our level of adaptability when leading and relating cross-culturally
Cultural intelligence is progressively becoming more relevant and important for organizations and individuals operating in a global context. Understanding the research and frameworks and employing strategies to enhance CQ capabilities in individuals and teams will improve effectiveness, creativity and adaptability in the culturally diverse workplace.
Click here to access the webinar recording for a full debrief of the 2010 Summit sessions
For more information on Ying Yi's work visit http://research.ntu.edu.sg/
For more information on David's work visit http://davidlivermore.com/
For more Summit Insights visit http://blog.neuroleadership.org
To order the 2010 Summit recordings and accompanying slides click here