Due to our ever-globalizing economy, working with people who may not share the same cultural backgrounds as one another has become the norm for many organizations and businesses. It is imperative for the success of an organization that they have workers who can navigate, adapt, and understand how to have successful working relationships with people who may not share the same ethnic, religious, or other forms of cultural beliefs and identities. This concept is often referred to as cross-cultural collaboration, cultural intelligence, or global mindset. Given the importance of cultural competency in the workplace, determining the most effective indices for assessing cross-cultural collaboration is an important endeavor to ensure success of this concept within an organization’s operations. 

In a recently published International Business Review paper, a collaborative research endeavor by five of the most prominent global business academics, sought to quantify the available empirical data related to cross-cultural competence indices in order to determine the best metrics to measure cultural intelligence. The researchers conducted a comprehensive review of how cross-cultural competence has been measured over the past half-century. Using a content analysis of 68 different cultural intelligence indices as well as a supplemental survey of 160 experts, the researchers assessed the approaches used in these instruments to conceptualize, quantify, and determine the most rigorous cross-cultural competency tests.

Cultural intelligence and competence

The researchers unequivocally cite the importance of cultural intelligence as crucial for numerous aspects of organizational functioning such as negotiation, individual job performance, team performance (whether virtual or involving in-country patriation), and global leadership. However, they readily acknowledge the challenge of how to measure, quantify, or empirically determine cultural competence. Without data to support the concept of actual, tangible growth for cultural understanding, the mere recognition of the importance of cultural intelligence doesn’t translate into successful workplace dynamics.  

Instruments designed to measure cultural intelligence

In reviewing the instruments designed to measure the underlying individual characteristics and competencies that promote effective or superior performance in cross-cultural settings, Kozai Group’s Global Competency Inventory (GCI) and Intercultural Effectiveness Scale received a strong endorsement for their rigor. The results from the researchers’ measurement of various indices showed that both the GCI and the IES are high in their coverage of cross-cultural competency dimensions. This distinction from other tools that measure cultural intelligence points to the thoroughness of the GCI and IES. Thus, both tests accurately and adequately capture the holistic success of an individual to adapt, integrate, and grow in various aspects of cross-cultural communication. This results in a better knowledge base from which to help an individual understand their true level of their ability to successfully cross-culturally collaborate. Additionally, through the survey portion of their research, the researchers found that Kozai’s GCI and IES are among the most popular instruments in use to measure cultural intelligence. The ability to have test results that are readily accepted across many agencies and workplaces is a strength of the tests. 

The importance of psychometrics

Perhaps one of the most exciting findings of the researchers, though, from an empirical standpoint was the high rankings of Kozai’s tests in their psychometric rigor. Since psychometrics is the academic field of testing, measuring, and assessing, to have high psychometric rigor is the end goal for any quantitative test. This is especially important because both the GCI and IES (and all the various cultural intelligence indices) quantify qualitative traits. Thus, high reliability of results and the repeatable results means that the tests are highly valid for their purpose. Lastly, the researchers found that Kozai’s tests had high measurement invariance. High measurement invariance means that regardless of the background of the test takers, the time period in which the test was taken, or any other different conditions, the test measures the same constructs the same way. 

To facilitate this knowledge transfer further, the research reflected on the current measurement practices vis-a-vis best practices. More specifically, researchers evaluated the most popular instruments and contrasted them with less popular alternatives. Below is a diagram that was used to highlight the instruments that may or may not overlap in the three categories.

The strength behind the Global Competency Inventory and Intercultural Effectiveness Scale

We at The Kozai Group were pleased to discover that, yet again, our experience over the past decades has resulted in being one of the best organizations to help measure and understand cross-cultural competency. The tools we have developed rank very highly for their ability to accurately capture the relevant dimensions most important to the cultural growth of organizations and individuals across the myriad of offerings available. Not only are the GCI and the IES ranked well in their ability to accurately measure the many important dimensions of cultural competency, they are ranked as highly reliable, independently validated, and have high measurement equivalence. The additional finding of being widely used demonstrates the GCI and IES’s strength as tools to measure cultural competency but also points to the fact that an individual could change jobs and their new employer may also have experience with the GCI or IES, making their results relevant cross-organizationally. The fact that many different organizations have experience with Kozai’s tests results in a greater ability of the results being easily understood and applicable in different settings. We are proud to have such high rankings for our Global Competency Inventory and Intercultural Effectiveness Scale published in this highly regarded international, independent, academic business journal and look forward to showing more organizations the strength of our assessments over many decades to come.

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