Frequently Asked Questions
General CQ Questions
About the Assessment
More than 100 peer-reviewed articles demonstrate that the CQ assessment is a reliable and useful way to predict effectiveness in culturally diverse settings.
The Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS) has been validated in many different culturally diverse samples, including executives, expats, professionals, employees in multicultural teams, and students. Dozens of academic studies demonstrate that the CQS predicts a wide variety of outcomes, including cultural
decision-making, intercultural negotiation effectiveness, idea sharing with culturally diverse others, global potential, effective leadership in culturally diverse settings, and adjustment to culturally diverse contexts.
Self-Assessment Vs. Multi-Rater Assessment
Research demonstrates the reliability and validity of both the self- and observer-rater versions of the scale (i.e., the 360° assessment) as well as an expanded version of the scale with sub-dimensions for each of the four capabilities (E-CQS).
The most effective way to assess cultural intelligence is with the CQ Multi-Rater Assessment (360°), which enables you to compare your self-ratings with your observer-ratings. The self-assessment, however, is also a valid way of measuring CQ. Research demonstrates the predictive validity of the self-report scale, even after controlling for demographic characteristics, personality traits, prior cultural experience, and social desirability. Thus, it’s not as easy to “game” the assessment as one might think.
In addition, our large database shows convergence in self- and observer-ratings in most groups—such that the scores are practically equivalent. In fact, it is not unusual to see self-rated scores that are slightly lower than observer-rated scores. Additionally, self-rated scores are often more nuanced than observer- rated scores because most people have more detailed knowledge of their own capabilities than observers do. In sum, both approaches to the assessment are valuable and reliable.
It is possible that exposure to a new culture or a novel experience has increased your understanding of what you don’t know about culture, or how difficult it is to exhibit culturally appropriate flexibility. In addition, the CQ questions begin with the phrase, “compared to your peers,” so it is possible that your situation or point of reference has changed since you took the assessment previously (e.g., you’re in a new job and have new peers, or you’ve had other new experiences that have changed your perspective on your CQ capabilities).
Cultural intelligence is not static and can change depending upon your circumstances.
The worldwide norms show the distribution of scores for all the individuals throughout the world who have taken the CQ assessment. To date, the norms include more than 75,000 individuals, from over 98 countries, and from every major industry and region of the world.
A low score means you rated yourself in the bottom 25 percent of worldwide norms. You perceive yourself as having a lot of opportunity to grow this CQ capability.
A moderate score means you rated yourself in the middle 50 percent of worldwide norms. You perceive yourself as equivalent to the norm on this CQ capability.
A high score means you rated yourself in the top 25 percent of worldwide norms. You perceive this CQ capability as one of your strengths.
The worldwide norms provide a way for you to put your feedback in perspective. It’s more important to pay attention to your scores relative to worldwide norms (low, moderate, or high) than to focus on the absolute scores (the numerical value). We encourage participants to think of how they can use the feedback to become even more effective in intercultural interactions and settings.
When people interact with you cross-culturally, judgments are made about your CQ capabilities compared to other people they know—not compared to an arbitrary number. Therefore, viewing your ratings relative to worldwide norms (low, moderate, or high) is the most insightful way to think about the feedback.
In most groups, there is usually a range of scores—with some participants having scores that are low, others moderate, and others high. The objective is to set goals and work to enhance all four of your CQ capabilities so that you can improve your cultural effectiveness. The primary purpose of the feedback is to help you reflect on your CQ strengths, as well as your CQ capabilities that need the most improvement, and decide what action steps you will take based on the feedback.
The norms reflect the distribution of how everyone who has taken the assessment rated themselves on each CQ capability. Most people rate themselves higher on some CQ capabilities and lower on others. For example, individuals consistently rate their CQ Drive higher than their CQ Knowledge. As a result, the cutoff (i.e., the absolute numerical score) for the “high” range of CQ Drive is higher than the absolute cutoff for the “high” range of CQ Knowledge. This is another reason why it is more important to focus on where you score is relative to the worldwide norms rather than your absolute scores.
Most people take the CQ assessment as part of a required course or program. Therefore, the worldwide norms include people with a wide range of interests and are not based on those who already believe in the value of CQ.
Multi-Rater Observer Ratings
It depends. If you rated yourself significantly higher than your observers, it may suggest that you have an inflated view of your capabilities. Or, it could mean that you don’t do a good job of demonstrating your capabilities to these observers. For example, you may be highly motivated to learn about different cultures (high CQ Drive), but you may not show this in ways that are apparent to others.
If you rated yourself significantly lower than your observers, it may suggest that you are not fully using a capability others see in you. The most important point is to spend time thinking about why you and your observers might have different perceptions and to work on ways to close the gap.
The assessment includes items that assess your personal preferences on individual cultural value orientations. The items were compiled by the Cultural Intelligence Center and informed by the extensive research published by Hofstede, Trompenaars, Edward Hall, the GLOBE leadership study, Schwartz, and others.
The cultural clusters are the 10 largest cultural groupings in the world, based on the work of Ronen and Shenkar, and later built upon by the GLOBE leadership study. Not every national or ethnic culture fits into these 10 clusters, but they are the largest cultural groupings globally and serve as a starting point for understanding the dominant cultural values found in these clusters. The countries listed are not the clusters themselves. Instead, they are examples of places where a large number of people have this cluster of cultural values.
There are many different dimensions to how individualism and collectivism can be conceptualized and measured. Some apply primarily to personal and family or in-group relationships, and others are more relevant to organizational contexts. The questions we developed focus on your preference for working in groups versus on your own. In addition, the current emphasis on teamwork in many schools and work settings results in relatively high scores for many on this collectivism scale.
Finally, your ratings may be partially influenced by the reference point you had in your mind (e.g., comparing your preference for working autonomously to that of other colleagues with whom you work).
For the most part, cultural value orientations are stable over time. They represent your beliefs and preferences based on early childhood socialization. It is not “better” to be on the left or right side of the continuum. The position on the range has no evaluative meaning. Thus, there is no need to try to change your cultural values. Instead, you should be aware of your own preferences, and learn how to recognize similarities and differences in your cultural values compared to others. Most importantly, you need to develop ways to interact effectively with people who have different cultural value preferences.
National culture and early socialization are the primary sources of your cultural value orientations. This means that there is usually no relationship between demographic characteristics or functional background and cultural values. Instead, your cultural values may influence your career choices and personal interests.