Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

Exploring Cultural Intelligence Truths: A Systematic Review

Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

Exploring Cultural Intelligence Truths: A Systematic Review

Article excerpt


Globalisation, a force firmly rooted within the current era of unprecedented technological advancement, is increasingly exposing both individuals and organisations to situations of cultural heterogeneity in which they are required, and indeed expected, to function effectively (Alon et al., 2016). With the aim of explaining why some persons are able to operate more successfully than others in such circumstances, Earley and Ang (2003), through their seminal work, conceptualised cultural intelligence (CQ). CQ targets capabilities to comprehend, process and act effectively in an array of intercultural exchanges and interactions (Ang et al., 2007).

CQ is presently experiencing increased momentum in terms of research efforts to better explain the construct. In this regard, Bücker, Furrer, Poutsma and Buyens (2014, p. 2068) affirm that CQ is 'attracting growing attention in academic literature'. In evaluating such literature, it would be important to ascertain the degree to which it situates within the general body of scientific knowledge framework (see Babbie & Mouton, 2011), particularly in terms of the truth statement elements thereof. Although there have been some efforts to explore the literature - for example, Ang, Van Dyne and Rockstuhl (2015), who reported on the origins, conceptualisation, evolution and methodological diversity of CQ, and Bovornusvakool, Ardichvili and Rana (2015), who considered different CQ approaches - the authors are of the view that further value could be provided if the CQ truths were to be systemised accordingly.

Truth statements consist of knowledge declarations and may arise from testing hypotheses (Schutte & Steyn, 2015), that is, they are generated following the production of empirical evidence in support of the hypotheses in question. As such, they are indicative of theory reflected as reality. Hypotheses comprise statements of expectation concerning a proposed relationship between two variables (De Vos, Strydom, Fouche & Delport, 2013) and are normally associated with quantitative research (Schutte & Steyn, 2015) in that they necessitate the use of measures (Whetten, 1989).


The purpose of this study was to report on CQ truths. As a result, non-validated hypotheses were not considered.

Research question

The question this study aimed to address was the following: What do the CQ truths reveal?

Literature review

As this study covered CQ truths, the literature review targeted an explication of both truth and CQ and was hence divided into two separate sections. In the first section, attention was devoted to understanding the concept of truth and the role that science plays in the quest to achieve it. The second section covered CQ and its constituent dimensions.

Truth and scientific knowledge

For millennia, the topic of truth has stimulated much debate (Glanzberg, 2014). Disagreement exists amongst scholars as to a uniform definition of truth (Badenas, 2012) and this has given rise to a variety of different truth theories, examples of which include the correspondence, coherence and the deflationary theories.

The correspondence theory argues that truth is with a fact and is most often attendant with metaphysical realism, that is, truth is the equation of thing and intellect (Marian, 2015) or the 'correspondence between a statement and the reality' (Badenas, 2012, p. 8). As such, the correspondence theory suggests that a proposition is true only when that proposition and a fact actually correspond. Young (2015) indicates that the coherence theory of truth asserts that a proposition is considered to be true when it is in coherence with a definite set of propositions. The coherence theory thus differs from the correspondence theory in that in the former the truth of a proposition ascends from the existence of an association between additional propositions and the proposition being considered, whilst in the latter a proposition is assessed as true when it is related to a worldly fact. …

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