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The Effects of Curiosity and Moderating Effects on Cultural Intelligence

An Empirical Study

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Previous studies have indicated curiosity as a strong predictor of cultural intelligence but did not investigate the three sub facets of curiosity itself. Furthermore, it has been found out that time spent in another country and the number of countries visited have an effect on cultural intelligence. The aim of this article is to investigate if there is a positive relationship between curiosity and cultural intelligence, as well as to figure out if time abroad and countries visited act as moderators. For this purpose, an online survey, using established scales, was completed by English and German-speaking participants. A total of 196 persons were evaluated. The results show a highly significant relationship between curiosity and cultural intelligence. Epistemic curiosity correlates most significantly to cultural intelligence compared to perceptual and social curiosity. Time abroad and the number of countries visited acted not as moderators on curiosity's effect on cultural intelligence. Cultural intelligence (CQ) has become a major topic in business. Workplaces have increasingly become international through globalization and companies require individuals to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds (Adler, 2002; Gelfand et al., 2001; Kraimer et al., 2001; Lievens et al., 2003; Takeuchi et al., 2002). Those interactions can include misunderstandings based on cultural barriers, so-called “critical incidents” (Apedaile & Schill, 2008). Increasing cultural intelligence provides a reasonable solution to avoid these critical incidents, but in order to increase cultural intelligence, understanding and isolating key contributing factors is important. The relationship between cultural intelligence and its antecedents, particularly personality traits, has been notably researched. What has been gained from CQ and personality trait relationship research is the illumination of specific traits that have been found to elicit more impact on raising or contributing to CQ. Specifically, of the Big Five personality traits, the trait of openness has been identified as the most relevant and closely related personality trait in a high cultural intelligence (Ang et al., 2006; Oolders et al., 2008). The trait of openness can be further understood by highlighting the contributing six sub facets of this personality trait including ingenuity, intellectual efficiency, curiosity, aesthetics, depth, and tolerance (Ang et al., 2015). According to Oolders et al. the concepts of depth, tolerance, and curiosity stand out as the greatest predictors of CQ (2008). Although previous research has narrowed in on curiosity and its relation to CQ, little has been researched regarding curiosity, and moreover the different types of curiosity and its influence on cultural intelligence. Cultural Intelligence A brief but vital definition and understanding of cultural intelligence should be acknowledged for the beginning of this study. Gains from research on cross-cultural interactions, research on culture and multicultural interactions have led to the development of the concept of cultural intelligence by Early and Ang (2003). CQ is defined as “an individual’s capability to function and manage effectively in culturally diverse settings” (Ang & Van Dyne, 2008). Cultural intelligence was then later divided and characterized into a more wide-ranging four-dimensional concept, based on Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence including a cognitive, metacognitive, motivational and behavioral dimension (Ang et al., 2015). The cognitive dimension of CQ measures cultural knowledge (e.g. norms and rituals) in different cultural settings while the metacognitive dimension measures individual cultural consciousness and awareness during interaction processes with people from different cultures (Ang et al., 2006). The motivational and behavioral dimensions measure the extent to which people are capable of directing time and energy to cultural differences and the capability of individuals to show appropriate verbal and non-verbal actions in specific cultural contexts (Ang et al., 2006). Recognizing the different components of cultural intelligence allows the connections to be made to the concept of curiosity, as some aspects connect more which are discussed later in regard to the development of this study’s hypotheses. Read Less