Today, I learned about Cultural Intelligence in one of my classes. The term Cultural Intelligence is also known as Cultural Quotient (CQ).

An individual’s capability to function effectively across national, ethnic, and organizational cultures.

Ang & Van Dyne Handbook of Cultural Intelligence, 2008

Cultural intelligence: an outsider’s seemingly natural ability to interpret someone’s unfamiliar and ambiguous gestures the way that person’s compatriot’s would.

P. Christopher Early & Elaine Mosakowski, Harvard Business Review 2004

Cultural Intelligence, or CQ, measures your capability to relate and work effectively in culturally diverse situations.

Cultural Intelligence Center (

What’s the benefit of knowing this term? A person with an understanding of cultural values and differences of different countries or people will help them to easily adjust and work effectively in an environment setting with different cultures, norms and values.

For example, if we compare the national cultural differences of Japan and the Philippines using a certain model (as in this case using the Hofstede 6 Cultural Dimensions Theory), we can see the differences in terms of national culture. See the Figure below.

Comparison of Japan and Philippines using the Hofstede 6 Cultural Dimensions Theory

How can we use this figure for our benefit?

You can check on the link to see the description of the 6 cultural dimensions.

The power distance in Japan is relatively low compared to the Philippines. In relation to this, it is possible that people are being treated in an equal manner whether they are in high or low-rank positions. As I observed in the Philippines, high-rank members of society are specially treated compare to low-rank members or common people.

With regard to individualism, the Philippines has low value compared to Japan. We tend to depend more on the collective value or norm or support from a group or society. For example, people with a close relative or friend in a high-rank position in a company have a higher chance of getting a job inside that company.  In that sense, sometimes bonds and relationships in a group are highly valued more than the skills and competency of an individual. This is just my opinion and not the absolute truth in all circumstances. In terms of masculinity, uncertainty, and long term orientation, the Philippines has low value compared to Japan, which has one of the highest in the world. If this is the case, I would expect that Japanese people value output, accuracy, achievement, and success through careful planning and management. I think these kinds of values have led to the development of high-quality products and services from Japanese companies. In terms of indulgence, Japan and the Philippines have similar values.

How can I use this information? 

Definitely, there are several values that I need to adjust to meet these expectations if I am currently living or studying, or working in Japan. First, in terms of self-management, I think I should learn to plan ahead of time, prepare more, and be more proper when presenting myself. With the high expectation to be successful, I should train myself to be at my best which will help me to perform effectively in the chosen field of work. This lesson is very helpful information for me not only in a work setting but also understand the academic setting in a Japanese university. It helps me to get a view of cultural differences and expectations. 

Why is CQ important to learn? 

CQ is important to understand the cultural differences, to easily adjust to different values and work effectively in an environment setting with multinational employees, clients, or as in my case students. Since the values and culture of a company, institution, or university highly depend on the background of the place where it is located, hence CQ is an effective skill to develop when operating in a global or multinational setting. 

PS. Now that I wrote this, I think I have to recheck the grammar of my recently submitted homework because I’m finding some mistakes. I learn, we can never make an output with no mistake. We’re just always trying to asymptotically reach the point of perfection, but we will never be.

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