If Only Cultural Chameleons Could Fly Too: A Critical Discussion of the Concept of Cultural Intelligence

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    The article offers a critique of the concept of cultural intelligence (CQ) from a semiotic perspective. It addresses three assumptions that underpin the CQ concept: that CQ exists, that conflict and misunderstandings are antithetical to CQ and that metacognition involves a cultural dimension. The analysis focuses in particular on the dimension of cultural metacognition which has recently been claimed to be the CQ concept’s main contribution compared to earlier concepts such as cross-cultural or intercultural competence, a claim which is found to be overstated. The article uses the example of CQ training to illustrate the need for greater attention to context and motivation when CQ is deployed for business purposes, as well as to the role of experience in cultural learning processes. At a broader level, the article urges caution in assuming that all human attributes can be trained for business purposes, especially through short-term interventions.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Cross Cultural Management
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)229-245
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Cross-cultural management
    • Metacognition
    • International Business
    • Intercultural Communication
    • cultural intelligence
    • Cultural Learning

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