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What is Cultural Intelligence 

and why it is important?



What is CQ?

Cultural Intelligence, also called cultural quotient, is abbreviated as CQ. Cultural Intelligence and Cultural Competence are terms that essentially mean the same thing and refer to an individual or organization's ability to successfully interact and work with others from different nationalities, cultures and ethnicities.

Cultural intelligence is different than Intelligence Quotient (IQ), a total score derived from a set of standardized test. CQ cannot be quantified with a score. There are no scales to use when measuring CQ. Instead, CQ should be viewed as a skill that can be developed and improved on over time.

Cultural intelligence is an essential skill to have for any individual or organization operating in a globalized environment. In a world where we cross geographical, political and cultural barriers every day, it is important to know how to effectively interact and work with people who have different backgrounds than we do.














Why is CQ important?


Hawai‘i is recognized as the great cultural melting pot, the most culturally diverse state in America. Hawai‘i is also recognized as one of the great visitor destinations, welcoming guests from multiple cultures from around the world. Whether dealing with customers, guests or employees, Hawai‘i’s organizations operate in one of the most culturally diverse environments on the planet. As such, cultural intelligence is a critical component for every organization doing business in Hawai‘i.

Cultural intelligence requires organizations to overcome fear and discomfort and become effective in four areas:

  • Knowledge:  Factual information that replaces stereotype and generalizations about people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

  •  Understanding:  Awareness and comprehension that people will sometimes see things differently then we do because of their cultural viewpoint.

  • Acceptance:  Tolerance and respect that allows others the same freedom of behavior and style that we expect for ourselves.

  •  Behavior:  Ability to interact effectively with others different from ourselves.

Cultural intelligence is a developmental process that evolves or devolves over time and requires regular monitoring and ongoing attention. Cultural intelligence is non-threatening and positive because it acknowledges and validates who people are. Kūkulu can help develop, monitor, maintain and enhance your organization’s cultural intelligence for unlimited benefits.

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