Business Cultural Intelligence Quotient: A Five-Country Study

Ilan Alon, Michele Boulanger, Julie Ann Elston, Eleanna Galanaki, Carlos Martínez de Ibarreta, Judith Meyers, Marta Muñiz-Ferrer, Andrés Vélez-Calle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cultural intelligence (CI) has often been linked to performance at the individual, team, and firm levels as a key factor in international business success. Using a new measure of CI, the business cultural intelligence quotient (BCIQ), our study provides empirical evidence on several key antecedents of CI using data on business professionals across five diverse countries (Austria, Colombia, Greece, Spain, and the United States). The findings suggest that the most important factors leading to cultural intelligence, in order of importance, are the number of countries that business practitioners have lived in for more than six months, their level of education, and the number of languages spoken. We find that cultural intelligence varies across countries, suggesting that some countries have a higher propensity for cross-cultural business interactions. By teasing out the common antecedents of BCIQ among professionals, our findings may help with screening and training professionals for international assignments. Future research may examine the environmental (country-specific) factors associated with a higher propensity for cultural intelligence (such as immigration, cultural diversity, languages spoken, and international trade) to explain the effect of country of origin on cultural intelligence in the professional community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-250
Number of pages14
JournalThunderbird International Business Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Antecedents of CQ
  • Business Cultural Intelligence Quotient (BCIQ)
  • Global Leadership
  • Global Mindset
  • Intercultural Competence

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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