Can Business Schools Make Students Culturally Competent?

Can Business Schools Make Students Culturally

Competent? Effects of Cross- Cultural Management Courses

on Cultural Intelligence JACOB EISENBERG

University College Dublin (UCD)

HYUN-JUNG LEE London School of Economics

FRANK BRÜCK Bocconi University

BARBARA BRENNER Danube University Krems

MARIE-THERESE CLAES Louvain School of Management

JACEK MIRONSKI Warsaw School of Economics (SGH)

ROGER BELL ESADE Business School

The rapid increase in courses dealing with cross-cultural management (CCM), brought about by economies’ globalization and increased workforce mobility motivated us to examine the impact of cross-cultural management courses on cultural intelligence. Cultural intelligence (CQ) refers to individual’s abilities and skills to effectively manage interactions in cross-cultural situations. It includes four dimensions: metacognitive, cognitive, motivational and behavioral. In two multinational longitudinal studies using matched samples and pre- postintervention measures, we assessed the effects of academic CCM courses on students’ CQ. We found that after the courses, students’ overall CQ was significantly higher than at Time 1. No effects on CQ were detected in the control group, where students worked in multicultural settings but did not take a CCM course. Cross-cultural management courses had stronger effects on metacognitive and cognitive CQ than on motivational and behavioral CQ. We found an interesting pattern regarding students’ international experience: While international experience in Time 1 positively related to students’ CQ, at Time 2, this relationship became nonsignificant (Study 1). These findings contribute to understanding the antecedents of cultural intelligence and how educational interventions affect it, with practical implications for designing and developing international management education and training programs.


� Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2013, Vol. 12, No. 4, 603–621.


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The rapid increase of globalization processes in many aspects of social and work life in the last 2 decades of the 20th century resulted in record num- bers of individuals who, on a daily basis, interact and work with individuals who have been social- ized in significantly different cultures. This situa- tion created an acute need to understand the role of national culture in management and organiza- tional dynamics and has led to an urgent need for employees, managers, and indeed, organizations, to become cross-culturally competent.

Practitioners and academics alike broadly agree that for today’s international managers, cross- cultural competence and skills are not only desir- able, but rather necessary (Chao & Moon, 2005; Ng, Van Dyne, & Ang, 2009). Several studies demon- strated that cross-cultural experiences and cross- cultural competence are either direct predictors, or mediators of managerial performance while work- ing overseas or when working extensively with culturally diverse populations (e.g., Earley & Peter- son, 2004; Kim & Van Dyne, 2012).

The acute necessity of having cross-cultural management competencies in the workplace is vividly reflected in the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business’ ( AACSB) accredi- tation process. In its recent publication, Eligibility Procedures and Accreditation Standards (July, 2009: 4), the AACSB stated: “Complex demands on man- agement and accounting education mirror the de- mands on organizations and managers” and listed four main challenges. Two of these challenges are directly related to cross-cultural management ed- ucation: “Differences in organizational and cul- tural values” and “cultural diversity among em- ployees and customers” (AACSB, 2009: 4). Thus, the AACSB explicitly expects that as part of an accred- ited business university program these challenges should be addressed through programmatic ele- ments in undergraduate and graduate business degree programs.

The importance of effective cross-cultural inter- actions has encouraged researchers to identify rel-

evant competencies in the disciplines of cross- cultural psychology (e.g., Smith & Bond, 1999); cross-cultural communication (e.g., Ting-Toomey, 1999); and, more recently, international manage- ment and HRM (e.g., Thomas & Fitzsimmons, 2008). Studies indicated that certain individual charac- teristics are positively related to effective cross- cultural interactions. For instance, Gelfand, Erez, and Aycan (2007) found that expatriate managers’ effectiveness and adjustment were predicted by both stable factors, such as the personality traits of openness to experience, conscientiousness and self-monitoring, and more malleable factors, such as attitudes.

Although the number and variety of cross- cultural management courses offered by academia and industry grew dramatically, little systematic research exists on the effects of specific academic programs on students’ cross-cultural competence. Our study aims to contribute to the debate on the effects of educational interventions on students’ cultural competencies, namely, the effect of univer- sity management courses on four cultural intelli- gence (CQ) dimensions.

In the next sections we review the CQ concept and its four dimensions. We then describe several types of academic cross-cultural training ap- proaches and the characteristics of university courses that aim to increase students’ knowledge of cross-cultural issues in management. We pres- ent our study hypotheses while discussing the con- text and scope of the educational environment where our work took place.


Cultural Intelligence: Nature and Conceptualization

During the last 5 years, research on cross-cultural competencies has become more sophisticated as the concept of cultural intelligence (often known as CQ) gained increased interest among manage- ment researchers. Described by Earley and Ang in their 2003 book, as well as in Thomas and Inkson’s (2004) book, cultural intelligence (CQ) is a construct that seeks to integrate several existing concepts and frameworks revolving on people’s abilities and skills to effectively manage themselves and to interact with others in cross-cultural situations and environments. Cultural intelligence has been defined as individuals’ capabilities to function and

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Jacob Eisenberg, UCD School of Business, U College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4. Ireland. E-mail:

We wish to thank Associate Editor Alvin Hwang and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and sugges- tions in developing this manuscript. This work was partially supported by a Seed Funding scheme grant from U College Dublin and by a RDI grant from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, both awarded to Jacob Eisenberg.

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manage effectively in culturally diverse settings (Earley & Ang, 2003).

Recent developments contributed to both theo- retical and empirical progress in this new area, as evidenced by a special issue of a leading journal dedicated to CQ (Earley & Ng, 2006) and by system- atic empirical operationalization and validation of the CQ construct (e.g., Ang et al., 2007; Van Dyne, Ang, & Koh, 2008). The CQ is positioned as related to, but essentially different from more stable indi- vidual differences, such as personality traits. Thus, while certain personality characteristics (e.g., Openness to Experience from the Big Five model) predict CQ levels to some degree (e.g., Ang, Van Dyne, & Koh, 2006), CQ explains variance in cross-cultural competence above and beyond sta- ble individual differences.

The concept originates in Sternberg and Detter- man’s (1986) multiple intelligences framework, which put forward the concept that there are dif- ferent ways to conceptualize and assess intelli- gence, beyond the traditional exclusive focus on cognitive elements. Cultural intelligence is a spe- cific form of intelligence focused on capabilities to grasp, reason, and behave effectively in culturally diverse situations (Ang et al., 2007). It is a multidi- mensional construct that follows Sternberg’s (1986) framework, where he proposed different aspects of intelligence. Three of the four dimensions, meta- cognition, cognition, and motivation, are seen as mental capabilities residing in internal affective and cognitive systems, while the fourth dimension, behavioral capabilities, captures the overt action domain.

According to Earley and Ang (2003), cognitive CQ focuses on explicit knowledge of values, norms, and practices in different cultures, including knowledge of social, economic, and legal systems in various cultures. Individuals with high cogni- tive CQ are able to analyze and understand simi- larities and differences across cultural contexts. Therefore, they can form more accurate expecta- tions and are less likely to make inaccurate inter- pretations of cultural interactions (Triandis, 1995). Metacognitive CQ focuses on higher order cogni- tive processes, those that individuals use to orga- nize and comprehend cultural knowledge. Related capabilities include observing and revising men- tal models of cultural norms and behaviors. Meta- cognitive CQ helps individuals to be better aware of others’ cultural preferences and intentions be- fore and during intercultural interactions.

Motivational CQ reflects individuals’ ability to initiate, maintain, and sustain learning and other functional behaviors in culturally unfamiliar or di- verse situations. Individuals with higher motiva- tional CQ are capable of coping better, affectively and cognitively, in demanding multicultural con- ditions. Those with high motivational CQ tend to be inherently interested in learning about and ap- proaching new cultural phenomena, and they are likely to be more confident when they find them- selves in culturally diverse situations.

The fourth dimension is behavioral CQ, which reflects individuals’ ability to employ the appropri- ate verbal and nonverbal actions when interacting with people from different cultures. Such behavior includes actions related to tone, gestures, physical space, and touching rules, dress codes, and the practice of appropriate time management norms. Those with high behavioral CQ have a flexible enough repertoire of culturally diverse behaviors and are able to display and change them accord- ing to the cultural demands of the situation.

The four CQ dimensions are qualitatively differ- ent, and each contributes in its own fashion to cul- turally savvy and competent interactions. While the four CQ facets are considered as conceptually independent of each other, they tend to be moder- ately and positively correlated (e.g., Ang et al., 2007; Van Dyne et al., 2008). To sum, CQ is an aggregate multidimensional construct where the four dimensions represent different capabilities that combine to make up the overall construct.

Following the conceptual model developed by Earley and Ang (2003); Ang, Van Dyne, Koh, and Ng (2004) developed and validated the Cultural Intel- ligence scale (CQS) as a measure for the four- factor CQ construct. The final version of the CQS (Ang et al., 2007) was found to be valid and reliable across samples, time, countries (e.g., Singapore and the United States) and methods (self- and peer ratings). Furthermore, the results of their six stud- ies, conducted across different cultural, educa- tional, and work settings, demonstrated that systematic relationships exist between CQ dimen- sions and specific intercultural effectiveness out- comes (Van Dyne et al., 2008). They found that CQ has unique explanatory power in predicting sev- eral aspects of intercultural effectiveness (cultural judgment and decision making, interactional ad- justment, mental well-being, and task perfor- mance) above and beyond general mental ability, emotional intelligence, and individual character- istics, such as personality, age, and sex.

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These results are especially important in the context of our longitudinal studies here, where we examined the effects of university courses on the CQ of an international sample of university stu- dents. Since we argue that systematic training as well as exposure to cross-cultural and interna- tional experiences can enhance individuals’ cul- tural competence, the CQS instrument, which assesses ability rather than stable inherent capac- ities, serves as a suitable variable for the purpose of this study (see also MacNab, 2012). We now out- line and explain our main hypothesis, which deals with the expected effects of cross-cultural manage- ment education on CQ.


Affecting Cross-Cultural Competence Through Training and Education

Following global trends of increased workforce im- migration and mobility, many private- and public- sector organizations and, especially, multinational corporations (MNCs) have responded to the grow- ing need for a cross-culturally competent work- force by seeking to train their expatriate or sojourner personnel through specially designed training programs (Earley & Peterson, 2004). At the same time, business schools around the world re- sponded to these needs by preparing their stu- dents with enhanced cross-cultural skills and com- petencies. This led to a proliferation of teaching and educational activities designed to equip stu- dents with the necessary cross-cultural competen- cies and, in many business school’s programs, the rapid growth of cross-cultural management (CCM) courses and modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Often, advanced CCM classes aim not only to increase students’ knowledge of cross-cultural management topics, but also to help them become more effective in cross-cultural encounters, espe- cially in their future international management ca- reers (MacNab, 2012). It is important, therefore, to find out whether and to what degree CCM academic training achieves these aims. Our study tackles this challenge and, building on the argument that CQ is malleable to learning and experience, we propose that professionally designed cross-cultural manage- ment courses, delivered by business schools, in- crease students’ cultural intelligence.

While several studies looked at training meth- ods of expatriates and their relative effectiveness (e.g., see meta-analyses by Deshpande & Viswes- varan, 1992; Morris & Robie, 2001), very few pub- lished studies empirically examined the impact of academic interventions on students’ cross-cultural skills and abilities. Among the few exceptions, Gannon and Poon (1997), for instance, examined the effectiveness of cross-cultural training on cul- tural awareness and whether integrative (includ- ing a lecture, video, and exercises), video-based, and experiential (role-play) methods had differing effects on MBA students’ cultural awareness. Using a pretest–postest experimental design, they found that all three training methods had significant posi- tive effects on perceived cultural awareness; how- ever, they did not find any significant differences among the three delivery methods. Their sample was mainly U.S. nationals, and the training sessions lasted 3 hr. The Intercultural Awareness Self-Report measure was developed by the authors for the pur- pose of their study, but it did not undergo extensive reliability and validity tests.

More recently, Sizoo, Serrie, and Shapero (2007) used a pretest–postest design with a control group to examine the effects of a combination of in-class and at-home exercises on intercultural sensitivity (ICSI; Bhawuk & Brislin, 1992). Participants in the treatment group were undergraduate business stu- dents in a U.S. university who were tested on ICSI before and after taking a semester-long course, Culture and International Business, containing culture-focused activities. The control group, on the other hand, took Introduction to International Business, which did not have the culture-focused activities. The authors found that the treatment group’s ICSI improved significantly after the course, but the control group’s ICSI did not. Of three control groups included in the study, how- ever, only one group was demographically and educationally comparable to the treatment group’s profile. Also, the statistical analysis did not in- volve matched samples.

The most relevant study for our context was re- ported in a very recent paper by MacNab (2012), who was the first to assess the impact of manage- ment education on CQ, using a pre- and posttest design. While the sample was drawn from a multi- cultural university student population, over 60% of participants were Chinese. MacNab found that an 8 week long educational process, which was de- signed specifically to enhance students’ CQ using experiential learning methods, increased partici-

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pants’ metacognitive, motivational, and behavioral CQ. The exact procedure is not clear, but the samples were not matched and no control group was used.

Thus far, only a limited number of published studies have tested the effects of management courses on students’ cultural skills and compe- tence. While the studies above suggest that both short-term educational interventions as well as semester-long courses have significant impact on students’ cultural attitudes, we believe that it is important to replicate and extend these effects by using a culturally diverse population (i.e., not only U.S.-based students); by using a more rigorous de- sign of matched samples; and by using a different criterion variable for cultural skills such as CQ. Echoing MacNab’s (2012) call for giving CQ more attention in management education, we believe that using CQ as the criterion variable would allow the field to move from assessing courses’ impacts on attitudes to assessing their impact on capabilities.

Although the number of empirical studies look- ing at the effects and correlates of CQ with a host of attitudinal and behavioral outcomes has been steadily increasing, MacNab’s (2012) study was the only published empirical study we found that tested the effects of targeted educational interven- tions on learners’ CQ. Thus, our study aims to fill two gaps in the field: one, which exists in the management education literature, where there is a need for rigorous longitudinal studies testing the effectiveness of cross-cultural management cours- es; and a second gap, which exists in the cultural intelligence research stream, where there is a need to examine how and whether CQ can be improved by academic management education in- terventions. We pursue these aims through speci- fying several hypotheses and conducting two sep- arate studies to test them. In the following section, we present our hypotheses and their rationale. We then present Study 1, which was conducted in a single country location. After presenting the re- sults for that, we describe Study 2, which took place in several locations and also included a con- trol group. After presenting the results for Study 2, we integrate insights from both studies and dis- cuss our findings and their implications.

Building on the works of Gannon and Poon (1997); MacNab (2012); and Sizoo et al. (2007); our first hypothesis deals with the effects of cross- cultural (or intercultural) management courses: Hypothesis 1: Academic training, in the form of

cross-cultural management courses,

affects CQ, so that students’ CQ at Time 2 is higher than their CQ in Time 1.

While we hold that overall CCM academic training (in the form of university courses) in- creases students’ cross-cultural competence as re- flected by CQ scores, we believe that certain types of courses would affect certain elements of CQ more than others. We have analyzed the CCM courses in our two studies on the basis of cross- cultural training classifications arrived at by Tung (1981) and Gudykunst and Hammer (1983). For our purposes, the relevant dimension is the relative emphasis on intellectual versus experiential learn- ing. Intellectual-centered learning is sometimes referred to as a traditional academic approach, where lectures and readings are used as the main means of learning or study. Experiential learning places more emphasis on emotional and behav- ioral elements through sending students to field visits, using simulations, interactive exercises, and case studies (e.g., Kolb & Kolb, 2005; Ng et al., 2009).

Although the CCM courses examined in our studies have attempted to include experiential ele- ments as well, overall, both Study 1 and Study 2 programs were embedded in a traditional aca- demic environment and delivered by cross-cultural management professors, leading to a predomi- nantly intellectual style courses. At the same time, Study 1 and Study 2 courses differed in few minor ways. While the Study 1 course was shorter and more intensive, placing relatively more emphasis on aspects pertaining to several national cultures due to its more specific training goals, Study 2’s courses had less nation-specific focus, using a more general, comparative approach to teach- ing CCM.

Following Earley and Peterson (2004), who sug- gested that the main impact of academic courses is on cognitive and meta-cognitive dimensions of CQ (referred to as “mental dimensions”), we believe that the impact of our educational training inter- ventions will differ in magnitude across the four CQ dimensions. Moreover, Van Dyne et al. (2008; Study 3) report that during their tests of whether the CQS instrument is generalizable across time, they found that undergraduate students in Singa- pore, who completed the survey in two different times, reported higher scores on the cognitive and behavioral CQ dimensions 4 months later, in Time 2. Their explanation for these results was that stu- dents’ increase in cognitive CQ was due to their

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study of cultural values, and the change in behav- ioral CQ was due to students’ participation in ex- periential role-playing exercises during the man- agement course.1 Altogether, this leads us to offer the next hypothesis: Hypothesis 2: Intellectually oriented CCM courses

more strongly affect the meta- cognitive and cognitive dimensions of CQ than the motivational and be- havioral dimensions.

In addition to the effects of CCM education, we also examined the effects of a more distal cross- cultural factor on CQ: the experience of living abroad. Following others (e.g., Earley & Peterson, 2004; Shannon & Begley, 2008), we suggest that international experience (i.e., living in foreign countries) increases one’s cultural knowledge, pro- vides opportunities to develop self-efficacy to man- age culturally diverse environments, and makes students feel more at ease in culturally diverse environments.

While several studies suggested that this indeed may be the case, not many studies actually exam- ined the effects of living abroad on cultural com- petence. The majority that empirically examined these effects reported that international experi- ences of working and living in a foreign culture positively impact various aspects of expatriates’ cross-cultural skills (e.g., Gudykunst & Ting- Toomey, 1988; Mendenhall & Oddou, 1985). Sizoo et al. (2007) found that years lived abroad predicted students’ intercultural sensitivity. Piaskowska and Trojanowski (in press) found that executives’ inter- national experiences during their formative years (early 20s), was a significant predictor of effective decisions made by their teams on international business aspects several years later.

Finally, there have been a few recent studies that specifically examined the effects of interna- tional experience on CQ (see Ang, Van Dyne, & Tan, 20112 for a recent review). Our conclusion is similar to that of Ang et al. (2011), who note that there are substantial inconsistencies among stud- ies. For example, a series of studies by Ang et al. (2007) reported contradictory results regarding the relationship between international experience and CQ scores. In two of their studies, they found that international experience of both U.S. and Singa-

pore undergraduates correlated with cognitive, metacognitive, and motivational CQ. In another study, they found that international managers’ in- ternational experience (number of countries an ex- patriate worked in) correlated positively and sig- nificantly with all four dimensions of expats’ CQ. However, a fourth study, conducted with midcareer foreign professionals, found that international ex- perience (number of countries lived in) did not cor- relate with any CQ dimension (Ang et al., 2007).

We also observed that not only were the effects of international experience on CQ inconsistent, the operationalization of “international experi- ence” differed from study to study: While some studies used “length of stay” to assess interna- tional experience (e.g., Tay, Westman, & Chia, 2008), others used “the total number of countries visited” to tap international experience (e.g., Crowne, 2008).

We reasoned that one of the possible explana- tions for the inconsistencies reported is using inadequate metrics for assessing international ex- perience. For example, some of the studies opera- tionalized international experience as number of countries lived in, without indicating any minimal length of stay as a qualifying criterion. Thus, some participants may report a country they lived in for a month in the summer as a place they lived in while others may consider that only longer periods of residence abroad merit mentioning.

We agree with Ang et al. (2011) that not all inter- national experiences are equal and that the in- ternational experience needs to be substantial enough to bring about impact. Given our partici- pants’ age group and based on our familiarity with the sample, we reasoned that a substantial inter- national experience should be operationalized as the number of countries where students lived for at least 6 months prior to taking the cross-cultural management courses. Given the all-round experi- ential nature of living abroad, we expected that all four CQ dimensions would be affected by this ex- perience and that international experience would enhance CQ. Hypothesis 3a: International experience is posi-

tively related to students’ CQ at Time 1.

While we propose that CCM courses would in- crease all students’ CQ, we reason that this learn- ing experience may be especially important for those students with little or no international expe- rience. That is, we suggest that CCM courses help minimize the gap between the more and less inter-

1 We thank one of the anonymous reviewers who brought this study to our attention. 2 We thank one of the anonymous reviewers who brought this source to our attention.

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nationally experienced students by providing the latter with knowledge and learning experiences that are comparable to those gained by students who did have the opportunity to acquire them through living abroad.

While some evidence from other training do- mains supports our reasoning (e.g., Ilkiw-Lavalle, Grenyer, & Graham, 2009, found that following a 2-day intensive aggression management training, staff with prior learning experience benefited less in knowledge acquisition than inexperienced staff), we did not find studies testing such differ- ential effects in cross-cultural management educa- tion and learning literature. For our study, we pro- posed that the correlation between international experience and CQ would be stronger in Time 1 (prior to taking the CCM courses) than in Time 2 (measured after courses’ completion) because CCM courses partially act as relative “equalizers” of differences in cultural intelligence between the more internationally experienced and the less ex- perienced. In accordance with our reasoning in support of Hypothesis 2 above, we expect that these effects would be more pronounced for the two cognitive dimensions: cognitive and meta- cognitive CQ. Hypothesis 3b: Following cross-cultural manage-

ment courses, the relationship be- tween students’ international expe- rience and CQ at Time 2 is weaker than this relationship at Time 1.

Our last hypothesis is an extension of Hypothe- sis 1 above but pertains only to Study 2, which included a control group in its design: Hypothesis 4: Cross-cultural management courses

affect CQ, so that students’ CQ at Time 2 is higher than their CQ in Time 1. No such effect is expected in the control group, where students took part in an international busi- ness program and had cross-cultural field experiences but did not take a CCM course.


Sample and Data Collection Procedures

Study 1 was conducted in a single location at a large research university in Austria and is based on a relatively culturally homogenous sample, comprised of mainly Austrian students who have a moderate level of prior international experience.

The CCM course focuses on preparing mostly un- dergraduate students enrolled in an international management program to effectively cope with cultural challenges during their study abroad semester.

The aim of the Study Abroad program, which typically runs for 4 months (a full semester) is to (a) increase students’ language knowledge, (b) pre- pare them for international job placements by in- creasing their intercultural competencies, and (c) enhance their intellectual capacity by exposing them to different study programs and teaching methods. The CCM course has been taught for several years in that program and is delivered as an intensive block period of 2 1/2 days. The content of these courses consists of about 60% academic based activities, such as lectures on cultural di- mensions and definitions of culture, and about 40% experiential content, such as simulation games, interaction with nationals from the target culture, and cultural self-awareness exercises. Each course is divided into two parts: The first is comprised of a common general cultural element and the second of region-specific cultural elements corresponding to where the students in that group are going to study (e.g., North-East Asia).

The final sample consisted of 289 respondents who completed both Time 1 (in the first minutes of the course) and Time 2 (as the concluding activity of the course) surveys, which gives a response rate of 90%. The respondents in Study 1 consisted of 80% Austrian nationals with the remaining 20% being German (5.1%), Slovak (2.7%), Hungarian (1.8%), Italian (1.5%), Polish (1.5%) and Bosnian nationals (1.2%); 3% of the total sample was dual-nationals. Average age was (22.81 SD: 2.17), and 59% were females. The average number of countries that these students had lived in for 6 months or longer prior to taking the course is 1.94. The average num- ber of languages the students reported speaking proficiently was 2.74 (SD: 0.95).


Cultural Intelligence

Ang et al.’s (2007) CQS questionnaire was used to measure students’ cultural intelligence. The CQS is comprised of 20 items and uses a 7-point Likert- scale for response (7 corresponding to “Strongly Agree”). We chose this instrument since it gives a holistic measure of CQ as well as producing four distinct components, namely the metacognitive,

2013 609Eisenberg, Lee, Brück, Brenner, Claes, Mironski, and Bell



cognitive, motivational, and behavioral facets of CQ, which correspond to our conceptual interests. The following are sample items for each of these dimensions:

Metacognitive: “I am conscious of the cultural knowledge I apply to cross-cultural interactions.”

Cognitive: “I know the cultural values and reli- gious beliefs of other cultures.”

Motivational: “I enjoy interacting with people from different cultures.”

Behavioral: “I change my nonverbal behavior when a cross-cultural situation requires it.”

Cultural intelligence was measured twice: first, at the beginning of the CCM course (Time 1); sec- ond, at the end of the CCM course, before the students go abroad (Time 2). Cronbach’s alpha re- liabilities of the each CQ dimension ranged be- tween .75 and .82, which are similar in terms of the magnitude in various studies reported in Van Dyne et al. (2008).

International Experience

Students’ international experience prior to the CCM course was measured by the number of coun- tries in which students lived, worked, or were ed- ucated for at least 6 months.

Demographic Variables

Consistent with previous research linking cultural intelligence to demographic variables (e.g., Earley

& Ng, 2006), we asked each respondent to report their sex, age, and the number of languages they speak proficiently.


The means, standard deviations, correlations, and reliabilities are shown in Table 1. The magnitude of intercorrelations among the four CQ dimensions ranged from low to moderate, which is comparable to correlation magnitudes reported in recent stud- ies using the CQS (e.g., Ang et al., 2007; Van Dyne et al., 2008).

Hypotheses testing results are presented in Ta- bles 2 and 3. Our Hypothesis 1 posits that CCM training affects CQ in that students’ CQ at Time 2 is higher than their CQ at Time 1. In order to test if there was an increase in students’ CQ scores, we conducted a t test for the pretest and posttest scores of overall CQ. As shown in Table 2, the difference in mean overall CQ scores between Time 2 and Time1 was positive and significant (t � 4.33, p � .001, d � .28); therefore, our Hypothesis 1 is supported. Our Hypothesis 2 posits that the CCM course affects more strongly the metacogni- tive and cognitive dimensions of CQ than the mo- tivational and behavioral dimensions. The pre- and posttest paired sample t tests results indicated that the improvement from Time 1 to Time 2 was sizeable for metacognitive CQ (t � 6.54, p � .001, d � .43) and cognitive CQ (t � 6.53, p � .001, d � .43). The motivational and behavioral dimen- sions of CQ, however, did not improve. In fact, contrary to our expectations, motivational CQ in

TABLE 1 Means, Standard Deviations, Correlations, and Reliabilities: Study 1 (N � 289)

Variables M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

1. Age 22.81 2.17 — 2. Sex (1: male, 2: female) 1.41 0.50 �.19 — 3. Language 2.74 0.95 .02 .11 — 4. International experience 1.94 1.29 .17 .02 .25 — 5. MC T1 4.72 0.95 .14 .03 .06 .18 (.78) 6. COG T1 4.18 0.92 .10 �.01 .08 .20 .37 (.78) 7. MOT T1 5.71 0.84 �.01 �.01 �.01 .20 .38 .43 (.80) 8. BEH T1 4.81 1.03 .12 �.02 �.04 .14 .38 .28 .56 (.82) 9. MC T2 5.11 0.88 �.01 .10 .03 .01 .38 .16 .20 .30 (.78)

10. COG T2 4.56 0.85 .09 .00 .08 .02 .18 .39 .16 .06 .46 (.76) 11. MOT T2 5.56 0.81 �.05 .10 .06 .13 .19 .25 .53 .25 .56 .35 (.75) 12. BEH T2 4.93 0.95 .06 .04 .04 .02 .27 .07 .11 .35 .64 .31 .40 (.79)

Note. Correlations equal to or bigger than .12 are significant at p � .05; figures in bracket on main diagonal are Cronbach’s alpha reliabilities. International experience � no. of countries lived in; Language � no. of languages proficiently spoken; MC � metacog- nitive CQ; COG � Cognitive CQ; MOT � Motivational CQ; BEH � Behavioral CQ; T1 � Time 1; T2 � Time 2.

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Time 2 has decreased (t � �3.64, p � .001, d � �.21), while behavioral CQ did not change significantly (t � 1.58, ns). This provides support for our Hypoth- esis 2, which states that the CCM course affects more strongly the metacognitive and cognitive di- mensions than the motivational and behavioral dimensions of CQ.

Our Hypotheses 3a and 3b concern the relation- ship between international experience and CQ. We proposed in Hypothesis 3a that the interna- tional experience relates positively to the students’ CQ at Time 1. In order to test this hypothesis, we ran hierarchical regression analyses of CQ scores at both Times 1 and 2 on international experience prior to the CCM course. In Step 1, we controlled for age, sex, and the number of languages that stu- dents speak fluently, then entered international experience in Step 2. Table 3 presents the results of hierarchical regression analyses on the interna- tional experience.

International experience was positively and sig- nificantly associated with metacognitive CQ (� � .18, p � .01), cognitive CQ (� � .16, p � .01), and motivational CQ (� � .26, p � .001) at Time 1, although its relationship with behavioral CQ at Time 1 was positive but not significant. Our Hy- pothesis 3a is, therefore, mostly supported.

Our Hypothesis 3b posits that the relationship between international experience and CQ be- comes weaker at Time 2 than it was at Time 1. The regression results in Table 3, with Time 2 CQ scores as the predicted variable, show that except for motivational CQ, which decreased in strength but remained significant (� � .15, p � .05), interna- tional experience was not significantly associated with the other three facets of CQ. In order to deter- mine the statistical significance of the differential association of international experience with CQ at Time 1 and Time 2, we applied Fisher’s r to z transformation of correlation coefficients, then ran

TABLE 2 Average CQ Scores on Pre- and Posttests and Improvement: Study 1 (N � 289)

Pretest (Time 1) Posttest (Time 2) Improvement:

posttest–pretest t value Effect size: Cohen’s d

Overall CQ 4.83 5.01 0.18 4.33*** .28 Metacognitive CQ 4.71 5.12 0.39 6.54*** .43 Cognitive CQ 4.18 4.55 0.37 6.53*** .43 Motivational CQ 5.74 5.56 �0.18 �3.64*** �.21 Behavioral CQ 4.83 4.93 0.10 1.58 ns .11

Note. CQ: Cultural Intelligence. ***p � .001, **p � .01, *p � .05.

TABLE 3 Hierarchical Regression of CQ Scores at Time 1 and Time 2: Study 1 (N � 284)

Dependent variables


Metacognitive CQ Cognitive CQ Motivational CQ Behavioral CQ

Time 1 Time 2 Time 1 Time 2 Time 1 Time 2 Time 1 Time 2

Step 1 Age .15* .04 .14* .08 .04 �.03 .14* .09 Sex (1: male, 2: female) .03 .07 .04 .02 .06 .06 �.00 .04 Language .02 .03 .03 .06 �.12 .03 �.05 .05

Step 2 International experience .18** .04 .16** .02 .26*** .15* .09 .04 R2 .07 .01 .06 .01 .07 .03 .03 .02 �R2 from Step 1 to Step 2 .03** .00 .02** .00 .06*** .02* .01 .00 F 4.86*** .58 4.15** .90 5.28** 2.10 2.17 1.18

Note. International experience � no. of countries lived in; Language � no. of languages proficiently spoken. Coefficients are the standardized beta obtained from the final regression equation with all variables entered.

***p � .001, **p � .01, *p � .05.

2013 611Eisenberg, Lee, Brück, Brenner, Claes, Mironski, and Bell



a z test between Time 1 and Time 2 scores (Cohen & Cohen, 1983). Results show that the difference between Time 1 and Time 2 for metacognitive CQ (z � 2.05, p � .02) and cognitive CQ (z � 2.40, p � .008) were statistically significant. The differ- ences for motivational and behavioral CQ, how- ever, were not significant; therefore, our Hypothe- sis 3b is partially supported.


We designed Study 2 to replicate findings from Study 1 in a different educational setting and to extend them under a more demanding context and design. A main limitation of Study 1 was the ab- sence of a control group, which was not feasible given that the intensive CCM course was tailor- made for the student population involved in order to prepare them for their study abroad semester. While using a control group when assessing the impact of educational interventions is often diffi- cult on both practical as well as ethical grounds, it is desirable, as it allows researchers to minimize the threat of “third variables” having an unknown impact on the outcome measures. For Study 2, we were able to utilize a design that included a treat- ment group (CCM) and a control group, thus allow- ing us to test Hypothesis 4.

In addition, due to the different nature of the students and programs in both studies, in many ways Study 2 represents a much tougher test of the impact of CCM courses on CQ. Treatment group participants in Study 2 were drawn from an elite Master’s in International Management program, which has high candidate selectivity and is char- acterized by a multitude of nationalities and a requirement to master two foreign languages upon graduation. Moreover, since the CCM courses al- ways take place in the second semester, by the time the second semester started (at which point we took our Time 1 CQ measure), students had already engaged in a full semester of international and cross-cultural experiences through studying in a foreign country or through working in culturally diverse classes. Compared to Study 1 CCM courses, those in Study 2 were somewhat more theoretically oriented, employed a comparative approach rather than region-specific, were set at a higher academic level, were longer in duration, and accounted for a larger amount of academic credits. We used the same measures and data col- lection procedures as in Study 1.


Sample and Data Collection Procedures

Study 2 was conducted with postgraduate students who were enrolled in two business school master’s programs. The treatment group was enrolled in the Masters in International Management (MIM) pro- gram, which is part of a global alliance for man- agement education (referred to here as GAME), comprised of 28 leading business schools located in 27 countries. As part of the MIM program, stu- dents study in at least two countries. While most of the students still come from Europe, an increasing number comes from other continents. The core el- ements of the MIM include the course Global Strat- egy in the first semester, a CCM course in the second semester, and an internship at the end of the program. The CCM core courses are delivered during the second semester in all GAME schools. While the courses differ in their focus and cover- age and are taught by different faculty, they share common themes and are positioned as advanced master’s courses. Their content and format are re- viewed on an annual basis by the GAME CCM Faculty Group, which is comprised of members from the alliance’s business schools (see Appendix 1 for a list of core themes and approaches included in these CCM courses based on the Faculty Group’s recommendation).

Data were collected by CCM course lecturers at two times: The Time 1 survey took place at the be- ginning of the CCM course (typically during the first day), and the Time 2 survey took place at the end of the course (or within 2 weeks of finishing the course). The duration of classes varied be- tween 1 and 12 weeks, with the majority taking place over at least 8 weeks and accounting for 7– 8 internationally standardized European Credit Transfer & Accumulation System (ECTS), which re- flect the time and effort demanded from students taking a certain course.

Treatment group participants were 230 graduate students who took the CCM core course at six part- ner universities of the GAME network during the 2008 –2009 academic year. The sample included students belonging to over 15 institutions, who studied the CCM course in large universities and business schools in one of the following countries: Ireland (12), Spain (42), Finland (13), U.K. (46), Po- land (20), and Austria (17). The numbers in brackets indicate the subsamples of total usable, matching N of Time 1 and Time 2 data. Class sizes varied between 25 and 60 students, and the response rate

612 DecemberAcademy of Management Learning & Education



for Time 1 was 80%. Due to the longitudinal nature of the study design, as well as some students drop- ping out or missing classes, the total usable num- ber of the matched sample was 150, representing over 65% of the total sample. The students in the treatment group were from 46 nationalities with the great majority (87.6%) being Europeans. The average age of the 150 students who participated in Study 2 was 23.7 (SD: 2.25), and 36% of the sample were male. The students had lived, on average, in about three countries for a period of at least 6 months in each (M: 2.89, SD: 1.27) before the start of their CCM course. The students spoke, on aver- age, three languages at a proficient level (M: 3.07, SD: 0.85).

The control group consisted of 40 students (35 students completed both Time 1 and Time 2 ques- tionnaires, resulting in an 87.5% response rate) en- rolled in the Master of International Business Ad- ministration (MIBA) program with half coming from a major research university in Vienna, Austria, and half from a major research business school in St. Petersburg, Russia. This control group participated in an intensive 3-week summer school interna- tional marketing program worth 10 ECTS, which took place in St. Petersburg. After morning lectures from 8 a.m.–2 p.m., students worked intensively on a competitive project in culturally diverse teams consisting of 4 –5 members for another 4 hr during the afternoons. Cross-cultural management issues were not included in the course curriculum. The survey at Time 1 was taken at the beginning of the course in September 2009; the Time 2 survey was taken at the end of the program 3 weeks later. Participants comprised nationalities with the ma- jority (62.8%) being Europeans and the rest consist- ing of 12 Russian and 1 Chinese student. Their average age was 22.71 (SD: 2.55), and 40% of the sample were male. On average, the students had lived in about two countries for a period of at least 6 months in each (M: 1.92, SD: 1.04) before the start of their summer school course. On average, each student spoke three languages at a proficient level (M: 3.03, SD: 0.92).


Means, standard deviations, correlations, and reli- abilities of the study variables are reported in Ta- ble 4. We report separately results for the control group and the treatment group. Cronbach’s alpha reliabilities for the each of the four CQ dimensions were satisfactory, ranging between .71 and .83,

which are similar to those reported in Van Dyne et al. (2008).

Hypothesis 4 posits that academic CCM courses affect CQ, so that students’ CQ at Time 2 is higher than their CQ at Time1. However, no such effect was expected in the control group, where students were exposed to international and cross-cultural field experiences but did not take a CCM course. Table 5 shows the results of pre- and posttest scores comparison of the treatment group and the control group. To assess practical impact, we also report effect sizes (using Cohen’s d) for the treat- ment group’s CQ improvement. The change in overall CQ scores from Time 1 to Time 2 (i.e., post- test score–pretest score) was positive and signifi- cant, indicating a medium effect size (t � 4.55, p � .001, Cohen’s d � .35) for the treatment group, but it was not significant for the control group. The improvements in metacognitive CQ (t � 4.39, p � .001, Cohen’s d � .44); cognitive CQ (t � 3.01, p � .01, Cohen’s d � .26); and motivational CQ (t � 2.92, p � .01, Cohen’s d � .25) were all positive and significant for the treatment group. The im- provement in behavioral CQ for the treatment group was positive but not statistically significant. As shown in Table 5, no significant effect was found in any facets of CQ change in control group. Our Hypothesis 4 is therefore supported. The pat- tern of Study 2 results (see Table 5) partially sup- ports Hypothesis 2, which predicted stronger changes for the two cognitive CQ facets than for motivational and behavioral CQ. Students’ metacog- nitive CQ at Time 2 showed the strongest improve- ment; cognitive and motivational CQ showed similar improvement indicated by a medium effect size, while behavioral CQ did not improve significantly.

As for the relationship between international ex- perience and CQ at Time 1 (H3a), the beta coeffi- cients of multiple regression analyses are reported in Table 6. The beta coefficients of international experience in the equations were positive and sig- nificant for metacognitive, motivational, and be- havioral CQ. It was only marginally significant (p � .10) for cognitive CQ. The results, therefore, generally support our hypothesis predicting a pos- itive relationship between students’ prior interna- tional experience and their Time 1 CQ scores, with the exception of cognitive CQ, where the relation- ship was in the right direction but only marginally significant.

Our Hypothesis H3b concerns decreased associ- ation of international experience and CQ mea- sured at Time 2, compared to Time 1. As in Study 1,

2013 613Eisenberg, Lee, Brück, Brenner, Claes, Mironski, and Bell





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