The rapid rate of globalisation is changing the face of the business environment. Not only do managers have to deal with challenges such as multiple time zones and geographically divergent locations, but they must also increasingly operate in culturally diverse environments and work with employees from various cultural backgrounds. The importance of culture in the workplace is often neglected, and this may have a negative impact on the overall success of organisations. Cultural Intelligence is a facet of intelligence that describes the success with which individuals such as managers are able to deal with people from different cultural backgrounds. By exploring the degree of Cultural Intelligence of a management corps, it is possible to address the training needs in a given organisation in order to optimise the performance and productivity of a team. It was apparent that, because Cultural Intelligence as a concept is a relatively new and unexplored notion, there was an urgent need for further exploration in this field. The purpose of this study was therefore to compare two groups of managers, one from South Africa and one from the Netherlands, in terms of their levels of Cultural Intelligence and to explore the generalisability of a Cultural Intelligence measurement instrument across cultures. The Cultural Intelligence Questionnaire was administered to the two groups under review and the results were subjected to exploratory factor analysis (EFA), chi-square testing and independent t-tests. Various iterations of the exploratory factor analysis indicated that the primary components of Cultural Intelligence, namely Motivation, Behaviour and Cognition, were present in both groups. Independent t-tests showed that there were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of their levels of Cultural Intelligence. Both groups had high scores on Factor 1: Cultural Identity (related to the behavioural component of Cultural Intelligence) and Factor 3: Willingness to Learn about Different Cultures (related to the meta-cognitive component of Cultural Intelligence), and both groups had moderately high scores on Factor 2: Adaptability to a Multi-Cultural Setting (related to the motivational component of Cultural Intelligence). A high level of reliability for the instrument was established for both groups with a Cronbach alpha of 0.85 for the sample from the Netherlands and a Cronbach alpha of 0.75 for the South African sample. Exploratory factor analysis yielded similar factor loadings for 22 of the 24 items that were included in the final factor analysis. The exploratory research conducted in this study has contributed to the refinement and expansion of Cultural Intelligence theory. The instrument that was used for assessment can be a useful tool in selecting and developing managers to work with multi-cultural groups.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2008.