Chapter 2. A REVIEW OF THE CQ LITERATURE
A literature review is the starting point for any piece of scholarly work, as significant research cannot be performed without first gaining an in-depth understanding of the existing literature (Boote & Beile, 2005). My thesis contributes to the scholarly conversation on CQ, which is why a review of the CQ literature is a natural starting point. I read, reviewed and considered a substantial amount of literature to not only understand how the CQ construct has developed, but to also identify and uncover gaps within the literature. In my review, I synthesize prior research to critically analyze the methods used in order to identify new perspectives and future research avenues (Hart, 1999). The processes used to synthesize and learn from previous research were primarily undertaken to identify and understand how I might make a contribution. My systematic review of the literature includes the identification, selection and critical analysis of previous studies in order to find ways to enhance the theoretical and methodological sophistication of my study (Boote & Beile, 2005).
In this chapter, I review the extant literature on CQ to determine what has been learned about the construct since its introduction over a decade ago. Then I systematically and critically analyze the theoretical developments within the literature, and investigate links between CQ and related variables. I develop a model of the broader CQ literature and discuss how CQ has been utilized as an independent, dependent, mediating, and moderating variable within scholarly work. Finally, based on the major findings of the review, I provide specific recommendations for future research.
The following is a co-authored work titled ‘CQ: A Review and New Research Avenues’ that was submitted to the International Journal of Management Reviews. At the time of writing this thesis, the paper was under final revision after a third review round, which recommended ‘minor revisions’. The paper was originally submitted to the journal on 13 November 2014, and following the first review round an invitation to resubmit after ‘major revisions’ was received on 24 January 2015. The paper was then resubmitted for a second review round on 23 March 2015, following which, on 18 May 2015 a second invitation to resubmit after ‘major revisions’ was received. The paper was resubmitted again on 10 September 2015, and following the third review round an invitation to resubmit after ‘minor revisions’ was received on 22 December 2015. Some portions of the following paper have been adjusted in order to keep within the formatting and citation style guidelines as required by the university.
CQ: A review and new research avenues
CQ, an individual’s capability to function and manage effectively in culturally diverse situations and settings, has become the focus of a vibrant scholarly conversation and a flourishing area of multidisciplinary research. Since the introduction of the concept in 2002, substantial research has been conducted concerning its definition, the validation of its measurement, and the examination of its development and predictive capabilities. The present paper reviews 63 conceptual and empirical articles published on CQ from 2002 to 2014 in management and international business journals as well as in education and psychology. We systematically organize the knowledge that has so far been accumulated on CQ, analyze the existing studies along a few selected dimensions, identify patterns, achievements and gaps within the literature, and suggest promising avenues for future research.
Identifying individuals with the skills and abilities to interact effectively with people from diverse cultural backgrounds continues to occupy the attention of researchers and practitioners alike. Exactly which characteristics and competencies are necessary in an ever more diverse business environment, and how to identify people who have them, are relevant questions. Spitzberg and Changnon (2009) listed over 200 characteristics that have been used to refer to what these individuals possess, but a lack of construct validity has continued to plague this area of research, with some scholars calling for research on these skills to be “abandoned altogether” (Van de Vijver & Leung, 2009, p. 405).
A specific concept, CQ (referred to as CQ because it is conceptualized as a facet of intelligence), was introduced in an article by Earley (2002) and in Earley and Ang’s (2003) book Cultural Intelligence: Individual Interactions across Cultures. CQ is defined as “a person’s capability for successful adaptation to new cultural settings, that is, for unfamiliar settings attributable to cultural context” (Earley & Ang, 2003, p. 9). Individuals with high CQ are culturally competent, having a repertoire of cognitive, behavioral, and motivational abilities to work effectively with members of different cultures and to adapt to foreign environments. A person who is able to generate new interpretations and behavior in a different culture where their learned cues and behaviors do not fit, has high CQ. People with high CQ expect that misunderstandings will happen in other cultures and as a result they delay judgment of any situation until they accomplish understanding (Brislin Worthley, & MacNab, 2006).
The scholarly conversation on CQ has become a flourishing area of multidisciplinary research. CQ appeals to a large audience who believe that being comfortable in multicultural environments requires more than just cognitive intelligence. Since the introduction of the concept and the establishment of predictive validity of the Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS) (Ang et al., 2007), empirical research on CQ has proliferated in multiple disciplines, including anthropology, business and management, education, nursing, political science, psychology, and sociology. Many studies have focused on determining the relationship between CQ and correlates, predictors, and consequences that are important especially in IB, and there has been particular interest in expatriates’ CQ and its effects on adjustment, performance and general effectiveness during international assignments. More recently, researchers have considered CQ as a dependent variable to identify its antecedents, with a particular interest in activities that lead to its development.
In this paper we systematically organize the insights gained about CQ over a 12 year period since the introduction of the concept, and identify avenues for future research. Our review differs from previous ones (Ang et al., 2011; Ng et al., 2012; Leung, Ang, & Tan, 2014) in a few important ways. First, we include in our analysis articles on CQ published in several disciplines – IB, Management, Education and Psychology. While our review is targeted primarily at IB and Management audiences, we acknowledge that they have often relied on CQ research embedded in Education and Psychology. It would therefore be unjustifiable to exclude research conducted in these two disciplines. Second, different from existing reviews, we discuss not only the original conceptualization of CQ (Earley, 2002; Earley & Ang, 2003) that has dominated the literature so far, but also the conceptualization by Thomas et al. (2008). We identify the similarities and analyze the main differences between these two conceptualizations, and bring clarity to a space that, despite criticisms, has been limited by its reliance on one conceptualization (Thomas, 2010; Blasco, Feldt, & Jakobsen, 2012). Third, while previous reviews have focused only on antecedents to and outcomes of CQ (Ang et al., 2011; Ng et al., 2012) or exclusively on outcomes of CQ (Leung et al., 2014), we also review articles that treat CQ as a mediator or moderator. This is an important addition because the scholarly conversation on CQ can be enriched by insights that stem from research analyses and models that extend beyond direct effects, which are often the focus of research on CQ. Finally, we offer the most recent and updated review of the CQ literature as we analyze articles published through 2014.
Our review is structured in three sections. First, we describe the processes we adopted to identify and select articles for our review, summarize where CQ has been published, and depict the temporal developments in the existing literature. In section two, we examine this literature in detail by graphically presenting and discussing a classification of existing research, and analyzing the conceptual and empirical research on CQ. Finally, we discuss the main findings of the review and outline avenues for future research that hold promise for advancing the vibrant scholarly conversation on CQ.
The review process
With the aim of presenting a comprehensive yet focused review of the CQ literature, we confine the scope of our search as follows. First, we exclude books and book chapters, and only review studies published in ranked peer-reviewed academic journals. Although these rankings are inherently subjective and are continuously being debated and criticized, they provide a set of criteria that authors use for selecting studies to review. Such criteria are not readily available for books and book chapters. Second, while we acknowledge that CQ has been a topic of consideration in multiple streams of literature, here we only review publications where authors refer to organizations’ international operations and/or to international assignments and expatriates. We justify this by noting that despite international assignments often being unsuccessful (Stroh et al., 2000; Johnson et al., 2006; Harvey & Moeller 2009; Cole, 2011), their numbers are increasing and this growth is expected to continue (Ernst and Young, 2013; Brookfield, 2014). In addition, when CQ was introduced, it was seen, due to the extensive cultural interactions experienced by expatriates, as a set of skills to aid them (Earley & Ang, 2003). Thus, we exclude articles focusing on topics such as domestic leadership, virtual teams, multicultural teams, marketing, sales, knowledge sharing/transfer, negotiations and trust, and on organizations’ domestic employee diversification.
We selected the articles included in our review through extensive systematic electronic searches and the use of reference lists of published studies. Following recommendations by Webster and Watson (2002) who suggest beginning by gathering articles from top-tier journals before expanding to database searches, we initially focused on top-tier IB journals ranked by DuBois and Reeb (2000). We then added top-tier Management journals as ranked by Gomez-Mejia and Balkin (1992), Tahai and Meyer (1999), Werner (2002), and Podsakoff et al. (2005). This resulted in an initial search list of 42 journals. Within each journal we conducted electronic searches for “cultural intelligence” within the keywords, abstract or full-text in the period 2002-2014. We then examined each returned article individually to determine its relevance to our search, and retained all appropriate articles.
In order to avoid restricting our ability to identify patterns, achievements, and potential gaps in the literature, to draw conclusions, and to make well-grounded recommendations for future research, we opted for an inclusive approach that enables scholars to introduce insights deriving from disciplines outside of the core ones (Jones & Gatrell, 2014). For this round of the search, we began by reviewing the reference lists of the articles identified during the first search step. As a next step, we searched not only the business, but also the main psychology and education databases (EBSCO host, Proquest, PsycINFO, and Ovid). Such an interdisciplinary approach “opens up new possibilities for creative and imaginative research within relevant fields” (Jones & Gatrell, 2014, p. 252). By this stage we had identified and reviewed over 150 articles. We only retained those in which authors framed their intended contribution as being to the study of international assignments and expatriation, and papers published in journals that appear on the list of the Association of Business Schools’ Academic Journal Guide 2015 (AJG) and/or those ranked as A*, A, B or C in the list published by the Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) (2013). We included C-ranked journals as per ABDC only if they also appear in the AJG ranking. The application of these criteria resulted in 63 selected articles, which we list in Appendices 1 and 2 (see sections 2.2.7 and 2.2.8). Further checks confirmed that this list was sufficiently exhaustive and up-to-date to permit a comprehensive and systematic review. Table 2.1 lists the journals where the 63 articles appear, the journal rankings, and the number of publications on CQ.
Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background and context
1.2 Research motivation
1.3 Research problem, questions and aims
1.4 Intended research contributions
1.5 Thesis structure
Chapter 2. A REVIEW OF THE CQ LITERATURE
2.2 CQ: A review and new research avenues
Chapter 3. APPLYING THEORY TO EXAMINE THE LINK BETWEEN INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE AND CQ
3.2 International experience and CQ development: A SLT framework
Chapter 4. STUDY ABROAD AND CQ: A MODEL AND HYPOTHESES
4.2 Study abroad
4.3 Conceptual model and hypotheses
Chapter 5. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
5.2 Research design
5.3 Sampling method
5.5 Data collection procedures
5.6 Tests for biases
5.7 Data analysis techniques
5.8 Tests of main effects
Chapter 6. ANALYSIS AND RESULTS
6.2 Data preparation
6.3 Descriptive statistics
6.4 Data analysis
6.5 Main effects tests
Chapter 7. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
7.2 Going beyond the research questions
7.3 Advances and contributions to research
7.4 Practical implications
7.6 Future research
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