An impressive broad range of literature relating to ‘cultural intelligence’ (Earley & Ang (2003), i.e. the capacity individuals need to have in order to be able to effectively communicate and act across cultures and to be able to integrate into new cultural contexts. For an overview of the literature see David Thomas et al. (2015) and Ilan Alon et al. (2016).
However, new perspectives and issues are emerging due to the current wave of refugees and the observation that within numerous societies there is a widening gap between those who have some education and a workaday culture that fits labour market requirements, and others who don't.
The pressing issue therefore is: What can and should be done if significantly large groups of the population - for whatever reason - simply do not have developed ‘cultural intelligence’?
We suggest that a promising response considers that there is a need of counterparts who are willing and able to guide and to support the development of ‘cultural intelligence’ and can set adequate intentional actions which foster integration processes. Thus, there is a need of ‘strategic cultural intelligence’ devised by organisations, groups or individuals, who are well embedded into the higher order social system into which foreigners and locally marginalised groups might want to be integrated: into a society, into a corporation, into a university, or into a small scale enterprise whose owner is in search of appropriately educated young people for a job as an apprentice.
We therefore see at least four important contexts open to empirical research in this Special issue:
- Integration of migrants
- Integration of staff of acquired firms
- Integration of university students
- Integration of unemployable individuals
From our point of view the theory of ‘positive scholarship’ (Stahl & Tung 2014) offers promising perspectives for this context. We only add that there is a need to devise cross-cultural strategies which emerge from the value system of a ‘higher order’ social system and to help to define goals, which might be reached, as well as to devise intentional action on how these goals can effectively be reached.
In a university context Spencer-Oatey and Dauber (2015) identified the need for a strategic agenda for integration, which includes an intercultural component, i.e. supporting those who need or want to integrate. This means that there seems to be at least one important key to successful integration - institutional support.
From a theoretical agency theory perspective, Fink, Yolles and Dauber (2013) identified a new theoretical construct, which they called 'cultural figurative intelligence' (see also Yolles & Fink, 2015) and that also points at the importance of institutional support and the goals which are to be pursued with that institutional support, and finally, on practical measures, types of behaviour that materialise the goals. The generic nature of the theory allows an application in different contexts, where a 'higher order' agency (an institution) is guiding a 'lower order' agency in the adaptation process; in view of the four contexts that we have named we would like to indicate a few non-exhaustive series of interaction chains from ‘higher order’ to ‘lower order’ examples of interacting social sub-systems:
a) From university to students:
University, study abroad centre, departments, professors, volunteers and students
b) From acquiring firm to acquired firm:
Management levels: top, middle, low, and staff/specialised departments: marketing, production lines, sales, supply, finance and accounting
c) From society to migrants:
Political parties, government, institutions, corporations, NGOs, groups and individuals among residents, classes of migrants or refugees
d) From society to non-employable individuals:
Political parties, government, labour market management, institutions, corporations, small scale firms, NGOs, parents of unqualified young people, groups and individual residents.
In all four contexts it is important to enable individuals to build positive social bonds with their peers, and in particular with those who have something to tell and teach.
We therefore also invite theory development papers which highlight the interaction between teaching (or training), learning (or adaptation), motivation for (or resistance to) effective transfer of cultural knowledge.
Thus, the call for papers is directed at scholars who perceive themselves as teachers, trainers, volunteers, or politicians, who want to contribute to a better world. The editors also hope that the same kind of people will be interested in reading about others' experiences and theoretical thought.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited, to the following:
- Cultural intelligence
- Teaching and learning cultural intelligence
- Contextual intelligence
- Motivation and resistance in culture learning processes
- Cross-cultural communication
- Cultural variation (e.g. among internal and external stakeholders)
- Individual, organisational and national identity
- Organisational culture
- Positive cross-cultural scholarship
- Cultural synergies
Submission of manuscripts: 19 December, 2016
Ilan Alon, Michele Boulanger, Julie Ann Elston, Eleanna Galanaki, Carlos Martínez de Ibarreta, Judith Meyers, Marta Muñiz-Ferrer & Andres Velez-Calle (2016). Business Cultural Intelligence Quotient: A Five-Country Study. Thunderbird International Business Review (forthcoming).
Ang, S., Dyne, L. Van, & Koh, C. (2006). Personality Correlates of the Four-Factor Model of Cultural Intelligence. Group & Organization Management, 31(1), 100–123. http://doi.org/10.1177/1059601105275267
Ang, S., Dyne, L. Van, Koh, C., Ng, K. Y., Templer, K. J., Tay, C., & Chandrasekar, N. A. (2007). Cultural Intelligence?: Its Measurement and Effects on Cultural Judgment and Decision Making , Cultural Adaptation and Task Performance. Management and Organization Review, 3(3), 335–371. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-8784.2007.00082.x
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