RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Highlight, copy & paste to cite:

Duff, A.J., Tahbaz, A. & Chan, C. (2012). The Interactive Effect of Cultural Intelligence and Openness on Task Performance, Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 20(1), 1-12.

The Interactive Effect of Cultural Intelligence and Openness on Task Performance

Angus J. Duff, Ardeshir Tahbaz & Christopher Chan

Abstract

The continuing growth in globalisation necessitates a better understanding of how to harness the synergy that comes from effective cross cultural management. This study contributes to current understanding of the individual level factors contributing to the effectiveness of exchanges between culturally diverse team members. Although there is research evidence demonstrating that certain personality traits and cultural intelligence are related to task performance, very little effort has been spent on investigating the interactions of these concepts in a cross cultural setting. An experiment with 102 (51 cross cultural dyads) students was designed to test the interactions between cultural intelligence and openness on the perception of task performance. Results showed that behavioural intelligence enhanced task performance and that openness interacts with the other three dimensions of cultural intelligence (meta cognitive intelligence, cognitive intelligence and motivational intelligence) to moderate task performance. Research and practical implications for diversity management are presented.

Introduction

There is little doubt that as a result of global mobility and immigration, the experience of work, particularly in large metropolitan centres such as New York, London, Toronto and Sydney has been transformed from relatively homogeneous environments to virtual cacophonies of integrated cultures (Jayne & Dipboye 2004). With this change human resource management (HRM) scholars and practitioners alike have embraced diversity management as a critical area of inquiry (Williams & O’Reilly 1998, Pless & Maak 2004, van Knippenberg, De Dreu & Homan 2004, Seymen 2006). Part of this focus has been based to a large measure on the implementation of anti discrimination legislation, requiring organisations to open employment access and opportunities to diverse groups (Seymen 2006). Part of this focus, particularly in the area of HRM research, has been on the development of HRM practices, which leverage diversity to improve organisational effectiveness, while reducing conflict (Pless & Maak 2004).

The body of research on organisational diversity has focussed predominantly on the management of diversity, whether that be visible diversity such as gender or race, or cultural diversity such as cross cultural management, from the perspective of organisational systems or programmes to manage diversity. While organisational diversity programmes have met the compliance requirements for organisations meeting legislative requirements for enabling inclusive workplaces, many have suggested that diversity programmes per se are not sufficient for enacting inclusive behaviour (Thomas & Gabarro 1999, Gilbert & Ivancevich 2000, Pless & Maak 2004). Diversity programmes and policies fail to consider the extent to which individual employees with varying degrees of cultural intelligence (CI) and the openness personality trait may vary in their propensity to think and act in ways, which enable the positive interaction amongst people from diverse groups (Chavez & Weisinger 2008).

Rather than considering the external influences to effective cohesion among workers, the purpose of this study is to consider employees as behavioural agents with differential levels of cultural intelligence and personality traits suited to cross cultural exchanges. The influence of CI and openness to facilitate the positive exchange between culturally diverse individuals is considered. The construct of CI refers to an ability to be adaptive in a new cultural environment (Earley & Mosakowski 2004). An increasingly mobile global workforce and migration of people across national borders enhance an organisation’s access to diverse skills and expands their market capabilities to meets the needs of diverse customers. However, the diversity of work groups has also been suggested to impede work cohesion (Williams & O’Reilly 1998, Earley & Ang 2003, van Knippenberg, et al. 2004). According to Stening (2006), CI is helpful in a number of cross cultural situations such as negotiations, conflict resolutions, international compensation, interacting with a foreign government stakeholder, training and development, and dealing with ethical dilemmas. Because CI is a multidimensional construct comprising of metacognitive, cognitive, motivational and behavioural competence, it is ideally suited to consideration as a potential enabler in the interactions between work members of diverse backgrounds. Those with a higher level of CI are likely to lead, to be more successful, and productive cross cultural encounters (Ang, Van Dyne & Koh 2006, Ang, et al. 2007). A cross cultural encounter is generally assumed to be an interaction between two or more individuals from different cultural backgrounds, which may include verbal and nonverbal communication, virtual communication, and ongoing working and/ or nonworking exchanges. However, CI is not only limited to an overseas encounter, but can also be applied to a multicultural workplace setting.

While CI has the potential to enable the positive interactions between diverse team members, so too do dispositional factors such as personality. In the extant literature, personality is an arguably relevant factor in a cross cultural encounter. In a study by Hogan (1986), expatriates with certain personality traits tended to be more effective in certain cultural settings. For example, openness may allow a person to be culturally adaptive, which can be very useful when working in a new cultural environment (Dicken 1969, Teagarden & Gordon 1995). In high context cultures (e.g., Asian, South American, Middle Eastern and African), conscientiousness may help to establish trust and relationship with the host country nationals (Hofstede 2001). Studies in the level of extraversion and cross cultural adjustment appear to be mixed. On the one hand, Church (1982), and Searle and Ward (1990) have found that psychological adjustment is predicted by extraversion. On the other hand, Van der Bank and Rothmann (2006) did not find extraversion to be a significant predictor of cross cultural adjustment. A high level of agreeableness is suggested to be correlated with interpersonal competence (Witt, Burke, Barrick & Mount 2002), which can be a great success factor in collectivistic cultures that place a high importance on group dynamics. Neuroticism is characterised by poor psychological adjustment and a lack of emotional stability (Ward, Leong & Low 2004). Someone with a high level of neuroticism may not be suited to overseas assignments, which require various adjustments to one’s life (Swagler & Jome 2005). Thus, the Big Five personality traits can potentially affect the degree of success in cross cultural work exchanges.

The purpose of the current study is to examine a model of task performance as an outcome of CI and one’s level of openness in a cross cultural encounter. Given that CI is a relatively new measure (Ang, Van Dyne, Koh & Ng 2004), this study provides additional validation of the CI scale. Akin to intelligence quotient as an attempt to assess a person’s intelligence, CI is devised to assess a person’s cultural intelligence – that is a person’s ability in navigating successfully in a foreign culture or having a successful working relationship with another person from a different culture. Recognising that personality traits have been shown to be correlated with various dimensions of CI (Ang, et al. 2006), and openness has been identified as a personality trait which facilitates cross cultural exchanges, this study aims to contribute to the diversity and cultural intelligence literatures by considering the interactive influence of CI and openness on task performance.

Cultural Intelligence, Openness and Task Performance

Task Performance and CI

Cultural intelligence is a relatively new concept (Ang, et al. 2004). The essence of CI is that a person’s awareness of cultural differences between themselves and others with whom they interact, and the ability to adjust one’s behaviour to bridge cultural differences may exist between people in cross cultural interactions. As such, it comprises both an element of awareness of differences, the motivation to bridge those differences, and the tailoring of both language and behavioural cues to foster inclusivity. Early and Ang (2003), early proponents of this concept, suggest that there are four dimensions to CI. Firstly, metacognitive intelligence refers to how an individual makes sense of a cross cultural setting. It is the awareness of cross cultural differences and an ability to conceptualise ways to build cohesion and trust. Secondly, cognitive intelligence refers to the cultural knowledge a person possesses, especially knowledge about cultural similarities and differences. Thirdly, motivational intelligence refers to the level of enthusiasm in learning about other cultures. Motivational intelligence in essence is the intrinsic interest one has in learning about the different values and behaviours of another, not merely for enhancing the effectiveness of the interaction, but out of pure interest in recognising and understanding cultural differences. Fourthly, behavioural intelligence refers to the level of cultural adaptability. Behaviour intelligence refers to the extent that one effectively modifies their behaviour (e.g., language, mannerisms) to adapt to the cultural differences of those with whom they interact. Because recent studies have shown that CI predicts effective cultural adjustment, cultural judgment, multicultural negotiations, and multicultural team interactions (Brislin, Worthley & MacNab 2006, Ang, et al. 2007) it is expected that CI should also positively influence work interactions between coworkers from different cultural backgrounds.

An important theoretical and practical implication of CI is its potential contribution to task performance. Since metacognitive intelligence and cognitive intelligence are conceptualised as mental abilities to acquire and process cultural knowledge, individuals possessing higher levels of these two abilities are believed to excel in different cultural contexts (Ang, et al. 2007). However, while higher level awareness of cultural differences (metacognitive intelligence) may provide general support in cross cultural contexts, a mere awareness of such differences (cognitive intelligence) in the context of task performance may not necessarily influence task performance (Ang, et al. 2007), for task performance requires action rather than mere awareness. Alternately, metacognitive intelligence is the sum experiential repertoire of cross cultural interactions which act as the basis for behaviour, either in the form of reenacting similar behaviour drawn from past experience, or by integrating past experience to conceptualise appropriate actions in a new cross cultural interaction. As such, metacognitive intelligence, by informing appropriate behaviour, should positively influence task performance in cross cultural settings.

A similar dichotomy is theorised regarding the influence of motivational and behavioural intelligence on task performance. Motivational intelligence refers to the extent to which individuals are intrinsically motivated to be interested in the cultural backgrounds of others. Individuals who are intrinsically interested in other cultures (motivational intelligence) are expected to be motivated to learn about cultural similarities and differences (Moodian 2009). However, interest in and efforts to learn about cultural similarities in itself may not result in better performance (Ang, et al. 2007). One can be motivated to be interested in cultural differences and not modify behaviour to accommodate such differences. Conversely, one may be intrinsically motivated in the performance of the task even though they are unmotivated to learn about cultural differences, and so tailor their behaviour to accommodate cultural differences in order to support task accomplishment. Hence, behavioural intelligence allows a person to be highly adaptable through the modification of one’s behaviour, either in acting in ways which optimise the interaction, or by minimising cultural blunders that might otherwise compromise the interaction (Moynihan, Peterson & Earley 2006). Indeed, even though Ang, et al. (2007) posited that all four CI dimensions were related to task performance, they only found metacognitive and behavioural intelligence to be significantly related to task performance. Thus, it is predicted that:

Hypothesis 1a Metacognitive intelligence is positively related to task performance.

Hypothesis 1b Behavioural intelligence is positively related to task performance.

Openness and Task Performance in Cross Cultural Interactions

Openness is a personality trait with the potential to influence an individual’s metacognitive and cognitive intelligences (McCrae & Costa 1987, Peabody & Goldberg 1989). Individuals with greater openness are not restricted to their own cultural values and beliefs, but are interested in learning new things (Ones & Viswesvaran 1997). And individuals who are open to experience will take the time to think outside the box, question their own cultural framework, and actively seek to learn and gather knowledge pertaining to cultural similarities and differences (Digman 1990, Costa & McCrae 1992). Hence, the expanded repertoire of cultural knowledge, that is gained from their receptivity to broader experience, can help to increase cognitive intelligence. Being curious and open to learning, such an individual is likely to utilise their metacognitive intelligence to develop appropriate and suitable strategies when engaging with people from various cultural backgrounds (Early & Ang 2003, Ang, et al. 2006). Arguably, openness is an essential trait for a worker who needs to interact with the diverse perspectives and work styles experienced in multicultural teams.

When individuals are open minded, they tend to be less judgmental and are more intrinsically interested in other cultures, which will motivate them to learn about their surroundings (Ward, Fischer, Lam & Hall 2009). This innate quality gives an individual the capacity to be highly observant of their surroundings (Caligiuri & Lazarova 2002, Van der Bank & Rothman 2006), which is very useful during cross cultural interactions. Early and Ang (2003) contend that an open minded individual can easily learn about different cultural norms, conventions and practices relative to a person who is bound to old views and rigid practices. Given that open minded individuals are willing to experience new cross cultural encounters it follows they will enjoy and learn from their experiences (Johnson, Lenartowicz & Apud 2006). Accordingly, an open minded and motivated individual should perform better in a cross cultural setting compared to someone who is less adaptable.

Hypothesis 2 Openness is positively related to task performance.

Openness as a Moderator for CI and Task Performance

Openness should also interact with the four dimensions of CI to influence task performance. Firstly, as open minded individuals are cognizant of their own behaviour and the behaviour of others, openness should influence metacognitive intelligence by expanding a person’s experiential repertoire, to inform appropriate behaviour to support the cross cultural interaction as well as better solutions to support task performance. Secondly, because CI is the knowledge one possesses regarding cultural differences, it is expected that openness will provide for greater receptivity to new cultures. Thus, this arrangement has potential to increase. In the context of task performance, it is expected that the openness to cultural differences will act as a signal to others of their working together to accomplish the task at hand, thus increasing task performance. Thirdly, as with CI, motivational intelligence, the extent to which people are intrinsically interested in other cultures, should also positively influence perceptions of task performance by signalling to cross cultural team members that one is actively interested in working with others. Finally, behavioural intelligence allows an individual to be verbally and nonverbally flexible in different cultural situations so that they are able to avoid or defuse any potential conflicts (Wang, Lin, Chan & Shi 2005). Also, the ability to vary one’s behaviour allows an individual to convey the right impression so that cross cultural interactions can proceed smoothly (Gudykunst, Ting-Toomey & Chua 1988, Ang, et al. 2004). Those who are more open are likely more to try different behaviour to bridge cultural differences, and are more likely to try something new, supporting performance in the task at hand. As such, behavioural intelligence and openness should interact to increase task performance. Hence,

Hypothesis 3a The relationship between metacognitive intelligence and task performance is stronger when openness is higher.

Hypothesis 3b The relationship between cognitive intelligence and task performance is stronger when openness is higher.

Hypothesis 3c The relationship between motivational intelligence and task performance is stronger when openness is higher.

Hypothesis 3d The relationship between behavioural intelligence and task performance is higher when openness is higher.

Methodology

Sample

A total of 102 undergraduate students in a Canadian business programme volunteered to participate in this study. The average age of the students was 23.1 years (ranging from 20 to 36 years), and the average number of years of studies at a university level was 4.3 years (ranging from 3 to 7 years). The sample included 87 women (85.3%) and 15 men (14.7%). Within the sample there were 90 domestic students (88.2%), and 12 students from overseas (11.8%). On average, participants had lived in Canada for 15.9 years and had an average of 5.8 years Canadian work experience. Most of the participants were living at home (81 or 79.4%).

Procedure

The participants first completed a questionnaire that measured their openness personality trait and CI. Next, they were organised into dyads. One condition was that they had to work with someone from a different culture. The 51 dyads were given a Sudoku puzzle with a moderate level of difficulty to solve. They were given 15 minutes to solve the puzzle. Only three dyads were able to finish the puzzle within the time frame. Following the puzzle exercise, each participant completed a questionnaire to assess their partner’s performance. The performance questionnaire was later matched to their partner’s personality trait and CI questionnaire. SPSS 16.0 was used for data entry and analyses.

Measures

Cultural Intelligence

The scale produced by Ang, et al. (2004) that has four dimensions: metacognitive intelligence, cognitive intelligence, motivational intelligence, and behavioural intelligence was used. The metacognitive intelligence scale consists of four items. A sample item is “I adjust my cultural knowledge as I interact with people from a culture that is unfamiliar to me.”. The cognitive intelligence scale consists of six items. A sample item is “I know the legal and economic systems of other cultures.”. The motivational intelligence scale consists of five items. A sample item is “I enjoy interacting with people from different cultures.”. The behavioural intelligence scale consists of five items. A sample item is “I change my verbal behaviour (e.g., accent, tone) when a cross cultural interaction requires it.”. All items were rated on a five point Likert scale that ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Due to cross factor loadings and poor item to total correlations two items from metacognitive intelligence dimension were removed. These items are: “I am conscious of the cultural knowledge I use when interacting with people with different cultural backgrounds” and “I check the accuracy of my cultural knowledge as I interact with people from different cultures.”. The Cronbach’s alphas for the dimensions are: metacognitive intelligence (α = .77), cognitive intelligence (α = .79), motivational intelligence (α = .89), and behavioural intelligence (α = .93).

Openness

The openness measure was derived from the works of Goldberg, which is available on a public domain (http://ipip.ori.org/). A shorter version (i.e., 10 items per dimension) of the measure was rated on a five point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). A sample item for openness is “I am full of ideas.”. The negatively worded items were reworded positively. The Cronbach’s alpha for the openness scale was .86.

Task Performance

Task performance was measured using a three item measure based on the scale created by Ang, et al. (2007), adapted from the works of Tsui (1984, 1990), and Williams and Anderson (1991). The task performance measure captured the dyad partner’s perceptions of the individual’s contribution to the team exercise. A sample item is “Overall, my partner effectively fulfilled his/her roles and responsibilities concerning the assignment.”. These three items were rated on a five point scale Likert that ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Since the participants worked in dyads, performance ratings were objectively assessed by the individual’s dyad partner, and subsequently, paired with their CI and personality measure for analysis. The Cronbach’s alpha of the task performance measure was .85.

Controls

As demographic variables can potentially affect task performance, several measures were included. These controls include gender (1 = male, 2 = female), age in years, student type (1 = domestic, 2 = overseas), educational level (in years), length of time lived in Canada (in years), years worked in Canada, and living arrangement (1 = residing at home, 2 = not residing at home).

Results

Table 1 reports the means, standard deviations, and correlations of the examined variables. The high and significant correlation coefficients between openness and metacognitive intelligence (r = .80, p < .0001) and openness and cognitive intelligence (r = .97, p < .0001) suggest the presence of serious multicollinearities. One technique that is used to address multicollinearity is called ‘mean centreing’, where the variable’s mean is subtracted from the means of all the observations (Aiken & West 1991). Hence, the means of all the independent variables’ (e.g., openness, metacognitive intelligence, cognitive intelligence, motivational intelligence and behavioural intelligence) were centred for the regression analyses.

Table 1
Means, standard deviations, and correlations
Variables M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
1. Gender
2. Age .02
3. Student -.11 .14
4. Education -.13 .69*** .18
5. Canada -.08 -.17 -.53*** -.29**
6. Work -.02 .19 -.32*** -.08 .60***
7. Home -.20* .23* .72*** .14 -.31** .04
8. Openness 3.75 .56 -.17 -.05 .10 .13 -.20* -.14 -.15
9. Meta cognitive 3.76 .84 .08 -.01 .05 .04 -.21* .01 -.25* .80***
10. Cognitive 3.73 .61 -.23* -.06 .14 .15 -.21* -.21* -.07 .97*** .68***
11. Motivational 3.62 .80 -.11 .21* .33*** .36*** -.53*** -.17 .21* .47*** .48*** .45***
12. Behavioural 3.36 .80 -.10 .20* .27** .28** -.20* -.07 .13 .34*** .30** .32** .43***
13. Performance 4.33 .74 -.19 .20* .04 .18 .05 .15 .20* .17 .16 .15 .18 .40***

Notes: a. Student = student type, Education is in years, Canada is in years, Work = work experience, Meta cognitive = Meta cognitive intelligence, Cognitive = Cognitive intelligence, Motivational = Motivational intelligence, and Behavioural = Behavioural intelligence.
b. Mean = mean, and SD = standard deviation of the mean.
c. *p < .05, **p < .01, and ***p < .001 (two-tailed).

Table 2 presents the results of hierarchical regression analyses. In Step 1, the control variables were entered. In Step 2, openness and the four dimensions metacognitive intelligence, cognitive intelligence, motivational intelligence, and behavioural intelligence) were added to the regression. While Hypothesis 1a predicted that performance is positively related to metacognitive intelligence and Hypothesis 1b predicted that performance is positively related to behavioural intelligence, only behavioural intelligence was significantly related to task performance (β = .37, p < .0001), lending support only to Hypothesis 1b. Hypothesis 2, which suggested that openness was positively related to task performance, was not supported. In Step 3, the interactive influences of openness on the four dimensions (Hypotheses 3a to d) through the addition of four interaction terms to the regression equation (openness and metacognitive intelligence, openness and cognitive intelligence, openness and motivational intelligence, and openness and behavioural intelligence) were tested. Openness was found to interact with three dimensions; metacognitive intelligence (β = 1.10. p < .0001), cognitive intelligence (β = -.94, p < .01), and motivational intelligence (β = -.48, p < .05) to influence task performance, lending support only to hypotheses 3 a, b and c. However, the interactions between openness and both cognitive intelligence and motivational intelligence was found to be negative, suggesting that while openness and metacognitive intelligence interact to enhance task performance, openness interacts with both cognitive intelligence and motivational intelligence to compromise task performance. Hypothesis 3d, which suggested that openness interacts with behavioural intelligence, was not supported.

Table 2
Moderated regression analysis results
Variable Step 1
β
Step 2
β
Step 3
β
Δ R2 .05 .22 .33
Δ F 1.76 5.09 4.56
Gender -.28 (.22) -.24 (.21) -.35 (.21)
Age .02 (.04) .02 (.03) .05 (.04)
Student -.32 (.38) -.97* (.37) -.25 (.40)
Education .11 (.13) .07 (.13) -.00 (.13)
Canada .00 (.00) .00 (.00) .00 (.00)
Work .01 (.02) -.02 (.02) -.01 (.02)
Home .45 (.29) 1.05** (.32) .58 (.32)
Openness .58 (.79) .72 (.75)
Meta cognitive .23 (.19) .31 (.18)
Cognitive -.56 (.61) -.84 (.58)
Motivational -.05 (.12) -.06 (.12)
Behavioural .34** (.10) .37*** (.09)
Openness × Meta cognitive 1.10*** (.28)
Openness × Cognitive -.94** (.32)
Openness × Motivational -.48* (.21)
Openness × Behavioural .35 (.23)

Notes: a. Task performance is the dependent variable in all steps.
b. Unstandardised regression coefficients are reported. Standard errors are in parentheses.
c. Student = student type, Education is in years, Canada is in years, Work = work experience, Meta cognitive = Meta cognitive intelligence, Cognitive = Cognitive intelligence, Motivational = Motivational intelligence, and Behavioural = Behavioural intelligence.
d. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, and ***p < 0.001.

Figure 1 shows the interaction effects graphically. As shown in the figure, the relationship between metacognitive intelligence and task performance was stronger when openness was higher (thus, supporting H3a). The relationship between cognitive intelligence and task performance was weaker when openness was higher (thus, rejecting H3b). The relationship between motivational intelligence and task performance was weaker when openness was higher (thus, rejecting H3c). The interaction between openness and behaviour on task performance was shown to be nonsignificant (thus, rejecting H3d).

Figure 1
Interaction effects between openness and cultural intelligence on task performance
Interaction effects between openness and cultural intelligence on task performance

Discussion

While extant studies have shown that personality traits and CI dimensions are related to task performance (Witt, et al. 2002, Ward, et al. 2004, Swagler & Jome 2005, Ang, et al. 2006, 2007), extant literature has yet to consider the interactive effects of openness and the four CI dimensions on performance. Therefore, the primary purpose of this study was to investigate a model of task performance in a cross cultural setting that took into account the direct effects of the metacognitive and behavioural intelligence and the interactive effects of openness with the CI dimensions. The results for the main effects of CI on task performance were surprising. As expected, behavioural intelligence was positively related to task performance. Thus, the capacity to direct one’s behaviour toward enabling effective cross cultural interactions is reflected in higher task performance (Triandis 1994, 2006, Ang, et al. 2007). These individuals support task performance by taking action to facilitate cross cultural exchanges. What is unclear, however, is whether those with behavioural intelligence take these actions to facilitate the interaction, or whether differential intrinsic motivation towards goal accomplishment enhances the propensity to engage in cross culturally supportive behaviour. As such, the consideration of goal motivation as an influence of behavioural intelligence merits further research. What these findings do suggest is that selection practices, which focus on the demonstration of behaviour to facilitate cross cultural exchanges, should yield positive results for organisations.

Interestingly, metacognitive intelligence failed to predict task performance, challenging previous findings by Ang, et al (2007). This observation suggests that while a repertoire of past cross cultural experiences provides a basis for the potentiality to act in ways, which support cross cultural interactions, it may be that it is the behaviour rather than the potentiality for behaviour that fosters inclusive interactions. While metacognitive intelligence had previously been demonstrated to influence task performance in a task, which involved a degree of cultural sensitivity (Ang, et al. 2007), the task in this study did not involve cultural sensitivity. This finding suggests that cultural intelligence not only influences the interaction between cross cultural team members, but may also play an influential role when the task at hand involves cross cultural dimensions. While the consideration of the contextual influence of cross cultural tasks is beyond the scope of this paper, attaining an unsupported hypothesis suggests this phenomenon as an opportunity for additional research especially, in work contexts where the task requirements themselves are increasingly global.

Although others have suggested that openness should be positively related to success in cross cultural interactions, the results suggest openness does not exert a direct influence on task performance in cross cultural interactions, but moderates the relationships between metacognitive intelligence, CI and motivational intelligence, and task performance. These findings suggest that candidate preselection tools for cross cultural work, which capture openness, but exclude cultural intelligence in the consideration of candidates may be insufficient for assisting in selection decisions. The moderating influence of openness also provided some interesting results. Firstly, the interactive effect of openness and behavioural intelligence was non significantly related to task performance. This insignificant finding may suggest that while those who are open to experience are more likely to be receptive to engaging in new behaviour, conducing to exhibiting behavioural intelligence if culturally appropriate, they may equally be open to engaging in behaviour which may have a neutral or negative influence on the interaction. Such people may be equally open to experiencing conflict or inclusion in this interaction.

Additionally, the interactive effect of openness on both cognitive and motivational intelligence on task performance turned out to be negative, which appeared to be counterintuitive at first glance since openness and motivational intelligence are recognised to be important precursors of task performance (Ang, et al. 2006, 2007). Recognising, however, that neither cognitive nor motivational intelligence were positively related to task performance, and those who are more open to experience may devote time and energy to the consideration of new ideas, these findings might suggest that those with greater openness exhaust time and energy thinking about the cross cultural exchange rather than devoting time and attention to the task at hand. Perhaps, this excessive attention to openness and motivational intelligence diminishes the attention that individuals can spend on completing the tasks at hand.

The study had boundary conditions that are worthy of exploration. First, the use of a student sample might limit the generalisability of the results to work contexts. As such, it is important for future research to examine personality traits, CI and performance in other settings. Second, the use of a the Sudoku puzzle assignment, which is a relatively straightforward task, completed in 15 minutes, may not be an accurate reflection of work in diverse workgroups which may be more ambiguous and extend over longer periods. Third, there may be other pertinent factors that can potentially contribute to task performance that were not investigated in this study. For example, some individuals may have been familiar with solving a Sudoku puzzle, which might affect the results. Also, while it is thought that the consideration of individual competence as an enabler of inclusive work exchanges contributes to an understanding of how diversity practices are realised, it is expected that cross cultural team effectiveness is also impacted by organisational interventions, such as the availability of cross cultural and sensitivity training, and diversity policies. Finally, as suggested earlier, goal orientation may influence behavioural intelligence, such that those with a stronger goal orientation will shape their behaviour in cross cultural interactions to accomplish the task, where others with weaker goal orientation may not. Future researchers are encouraged to consider how CI and personality interact with organisational interventions as well as goal orientation.

Conclusion

This study revealed some interesting and unexpected results with important implications for diverse workplaces. Behavioural intelligence appeared to be an important determinant of task performance in the context of exchanges between culturally diverse parties, especially in the accomplishment of tasks. The lack of significant relationships between three other cultural intelligence factors (metacognitive, cognitive, and motivational) and task performance in these exchanges is surprising and warrants further investigation to consider the influence of the role of cross cultural sensitivity in the task itself. In addition to developing the CI of individuals or selecting individuals with high CI it would appear that the tasks in which culturally diverse individuals perform may act as critical boundary conditions needing consideration in diversity research. Additionally, openness appears to interact with metacognitive intelligence to enhance task performance and interact with cognitive and motivational intelligence to compromise task performance. These findings may provide a starting point to help explain some of the conflicting findings existing in the diversity literature.

Authors

Angus J. Duff is a doctoral candidate in Human Resource Management at York University, Toronto, Canada. His current research includes experiences of shame at work, motivation, leadership, and team effectiveness.

Email: angusd@yorku.ca

Ardeshir Tahbaz has a Bachelor of Human Resource Management from York University in Toronto, Canada.

Christopher Chan, PhD, is an associate professor of human resource management at York University and an honourary research fellow at the Australian Catholic University. His research interests include the intersections between religions and business practices, cross cultural management, and organisational learning.

Email: cristoph@york.ca

Acknowledgment

The authors appreciate the useful and constructive feedback given by the editor and anonymous reviewers.

References

Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ang, S., Van Dyne, L., & Koh, C. (2006). Personality correlates of the four-factor model of cultural intelligence. Group and Organization Management, 31(1), 100-123.

Ang, S., Van Dyne, L., Koh, C., & Ng, K. Y. (2004). The measurement of cultural intelligence. 2004 Academy of Management Meetings Symposium on Cultural Intelligence in the 21st Century, New Orleans, LA.

Ang, S., Van Dyne, L., Koh, C., Ng, K. Y., Templer, K. J., Tay, C., & Cahdrasekar, N. A. (2007). Cultural intelligence: Its measurement and effects on cultural judgment and decision making, cultural adaptation, and task performance. Management and Organization Review, 3(3), 335-371.

Brislin, R., Worthley, R., & MacNab, B. (2006). Cultural intelligence: Understanding behaviors that serve people’s goals. Group & Organization Management, 31(1), 40-55.

Caligiuri, R. M. J., & Lazarova, M. (2002). A model for the influence of social interaction and social support on female expatriates’ cross-cultural adjustment. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 13(5), 761-772.

Chavez, C. L., & Weisinger, J. Y. (2008). Beyond diversity training: A social infusion for cultural inclusion. Human Resource Management, 47(2), 331-350.

Church, A. T. (1982). Sojourner adjustment. Psychological Bulletin, 91(3), 540-572.

Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Normal personality assessment in clinical practice: The NEO personality inventory. Psychological Assessment, 4(1), 5-13.

Dicken, C. (1969). Predicting the success of peace corps community development workers. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 33(5), 597-606.

Digman, J. M. (1990). Personality structure: Emergence of the five-factor model. Annual Review of Psychology, 41(1), 417-440.

Earley, P. C., & Ang, S. (2003). Cultural intelligence: Individual interactions across cultures. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Earley, P. C., & Mosakowski, E. M. (2004). Cultural intelligence. Harvard Business Review, 82(10), 139-146.

Gilbert, J., & Ivancevich, J. M. (2000). Valuing diversity: A tale of two organizations, Academy of Management Executive, 14(1), 93-105.

Gudykunst, W. B., Ting-Toomey, S., & Chua, E. (1988). Culture and interpersonal communication. (1st ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hogan, R. (1986). Manual for the Hogan personality inventory. Minneapolis, MN: National computer system.

Jayne, M. E. A., & Dipboye, R. L. (2004). Leveraging diversity to improve business performance: Research findings and recommendations for organizations. Human Resource Management, 43(4), 409-424.

Johnson, J. P., Lenartowicz, T., & Apud, S. (2006). Cross-cultural competence in international business: Toward a definition and a model. Journal of International Business Studies, 37(4), 525-543.

McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1987). Validation of the five-factor model of personality across instruments and observers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(1), 81-90.

Moodian, M. A. (2009). Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence: Exploring the cross-cultural dynamics within organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Moynihan, L. M., Peterson, R. S., & Earley, P. C. (2006). Cultural intelligence and the multinational team experience: Does the experience of working in a multinational team improve cultural intelligence?. In Y. R. Chen (Ed.), Research on managing groups and teams (Vo. 20, 299-323). Vol. 9. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Ones, D., & Viswesvaran, C. (1997). Personality determinants in the prediction of aspects of expatriate job success. In Z. Aycan (Ed.), New approaches to employee management: Expatriate management: Theory and research (Vol. 4, 63-92). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Peabody, D. & Goldberg, L. R. (1989). Some determinants of factor structures from personality-trait descriptors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(3), 552-567.

Pless, N., & Maak, T. (2004). Building an inclusive diversity culture: Principles, processes and practice. Journal of Business Ethics, 54(2), 129-147.

Searle, W., & Ward, C. (1990). The prediction of psychological and sociocultural adjustment during crosscultural transitions. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 14(4), 449-464.

Seymen, O. A. (2006). The cultural diversity phenomenon in organisations and different approaches for effective cultural diversity management: A literary review. Cross-cultural Management: An International Journal, 13(4), 296-315.

Stening, B. (2006). Cultural intelligence: Put it (high) on the Asian HRM agenda. Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 14(2), 74-84.

Swagler, M. A., & Jome, L. M. (2005). The effects of personality and acculturation on the adjustment of North American sojourners in Taiwan. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52(4), 527-536.

Teagarden, M. B., & Gordon, G. D. (1995). Corporate selection strategies and expatriate manager success. In J. Selmer (Ed.), Expatriate management: New ideas for international business (17-36). Westport, CT: Quorum Books.

Thomas, D. A., & Gabarro, J. (1999). Breaking through: The making of minority executives in corporate America. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Triandis, H. C. (1994). Culture and social behavior. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Triandis, H. C. (2006). Cultural intelligence in organizations. Group and Organization Management, 31(1), 20-26.

Tsui, A. S. (1984). A role set analysis of managerial reputation. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 34(1), 64-96.

Tsui, A. S. (1990). A multiple-constituency model of effectiveness: An empirical examination at the human resource subunit level. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35(3), 458-483.

Van der Bank, M., & Rothmann, S. (2006). Correlates of expatriates’ cross-cultural adjustment. Management Dynamics, 15(4), 29-39.

van Knippenberg, D., De Dreu, & Homan, A. C. (2004). Work group diversity and group performance: An integrative model and research agenda. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(6), 1008-1022.

Wang, C. L., Lin, X., Chan, A. K. K., & Shi, Y. (2005). Conflict handling styles in international joint ventures: A cross-cultural and cross-national comparison. Management International Review, 45(1), 3-21.

Ward, C., Fischer, R., Lam, S. F. Z., & Hall, L. (2009). The convergent, discriminant and incremental validity of scores on a self-report measure of cultural intelligence. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 69(1), 85-105.

Ward, C., Leong, C. H., & Low, M. (2004). Personality and sojourner adjustment: An exploration of the big five and the cultural fit proposition. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 35(2), 137-151.

Williams, K. Y., & O’Reilly, C. A. (1998). Demography and diversity in organizations: A review of 40 years of research. In B. M. Staw & L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior (Vol. 20, 77-140). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Williams, L. J., & Anderson, S. E. (1991). Job satisfaction and organizational commitment as predictors of organizational citizenship and in-role behavior. Journal of Management, 17(3), 601-618.

Witt, L. A., Burke, L. A., Barrick, M. R., & Mount, M. K. (2002). The interactive effects of conscientiousness and agreeableness on job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(1), 164-169.