Cultural Intelligence Essay
Different cross-cultural contexts require people to understand individual differences to improve adaptation and enhance meaningful interactions. Cultural intelligence emerges as a competence that enables people to interact and associate in more culturally-diverse contexts. According to Alexandra et al. (2021), cultural intelligence entails “the capability to adapt and function successfully in culturally diverse environments” (p. 1). This concept is central to developing interpersonal trust, performance improvement, satisfaction among the interacting parties, work engagement, and innovation. In the context of interpersonal relationships outside the workplace, cultural intelligence allows people to express self-awareness of cultural predispositions, values, perceptions, and how they affect relationships. Amidst the rationale for incorporating cultural intelligence in culturally-diverse contexts, this paper elaborates on how unique cultural backgrounds and experiences influence perspective, how to use self-management approaches to deal with emotions, and strategies to incorporate cultural intelligence when interacting with a person of different cultural backgrounds.
How my cultural background and experiences have influenced my perspective when dealing with others from another culture
Cultural background and experiences are essential dimensions of diversity that influence and affect how people relate and interact in cross-cultural contexts. Individuals, organizations, and society face immense pressure to accommodate diversity amidst the need to ensure social integration and multiculturalism. However, despite the pressure, differences in cultural backgrounds and lived experiences compromise diversity by influencing perspectives and cognitive constructs. From a personal dimension, there are specific ways that cultural backgrounds and experiences influence my perspective when dealing with people of different cultures.
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Firstly, my cultural background and life experiences contribute to implicit biases toward people of different cultural and ethnic predispositions. According to Richards & Wohlauer (2021), implicit biases are primarily unconscious stereotypes, reactions, and attitudes associated with lived experiences. Vela et al. (2022) argue that these unconscious mental processes are automatic and unintentional. In this sense, actors have no awareness of the associations of a group with a stimulus. Eventually, implicit biases affect cognition, behavior, and understanding by perpetuating implicit stereotypes and prejudice toward people of different cultural backgrounds. An example of an implicit bias is the unintentional belief that people from ethnic minority groups are more likely to commit crimes than white people. If firmly-held, implicit biases can lead to discriminatory practices, including structural racism.
Secondly, cultural background and life experiences can affect my interactions with people of different cultures by exacerbating microaggressions. Harrison & Tanner (2018) define microaggressions as manifesting implicit and explicit biases through language. In this sense, they refer to “brief, sometimes subtle, everyday exchanges that either consciously or unconsciously disparage others based on their characteristics or perceived membership” (Harrison & Turner, 2018, p. 1). Although subtle or brief, microaggressions can contribute to discrimination and prejudice if they manifest as microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid microaggressions when interacting with people of different cultures by using appropriate language, avoiding judgmental sentiments, and demonstrating cultural intelligence to eliminate implicit biases.
Although differences in cultural backgrounds and lived experiences often contribute to implicit biases and microaggressions that perpetuate discrimination and racism, it is essential to note that they can positively influence the personal perspectives of others. For instance, culture entails dynamic interactions between values, overt behavior, and biological foundations (Pfabigan et al., 2018). In this sense, individual cultural predispositions encompass shared beliefs, behavioral transcripts, and norms that create a sense of belonging to a specific group. Individuals can thrive in culturally diverse contexts if these shared beliefs and firmly-held norms encourage diversity, equity, and close interpersonal relationships. For example, my culture endorses respect for older adults and justice for all. As a result, I can extend these values when interacting with others regardless of their experiences, sexual orientation, ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, and gender.
The difference and similarities between the selected person and me
Miss Xi has been my friend since high school. We have had ideal opportunities to interact and share insights regarding our cultural values, beliefs, practices, and other predispositions, including norms. As a person of Chinese background, Miss Xi’s cultural background and experiences are consistent with the Confucianism perspective. Therefore, there are differences and similarities between my cultural values and Miss Xi’s.
Our cultural background differences manifest through how we perceive social life, friendships, intercultural interactions, and interpersonal communication. Equally, there are differences in religious perspectives perpetuated by the way we perceive morals and unethical behaviors. From the perceptive of social life, friendships, and social obligation, Miss Xi favors a “collectivist” personality. According to Xiao (2021), collectivist cultural orientation emphasizes social embeddedness and interdependence in influencing individual behaviors. In this sense, people from collectivist cultures value group norms, needs, and goals as individual and social welfare dimensions. Miss Xi is inclined to this cultural orientation and favors cohesion, harmony, interdependence, and achieving group goals.
Conversely, my cultural background and experiences align with the “individualistic” perspective of cultural orientation. As a white, I often prefer personal independence and autonomy over group interdependence. Fatehi et al. (2020) contend that people behave according to personal preferences and self-interest and consider independence and self-sufficiency as essential aspects of their behavior in individualistic cultures. An individualistic cultural orientation has significantly influenced how I relate to others, including people from other cultures.
Regardless of differences in cultural orientation, I share various similarities with Miss Xi. Firstly, our cultures emphasize respect and harmony. For instance, Chinese Confucianism endorses the need to co-exist with others effectively, emphasizing avoiding conflicts and enhancing interpersonal relationships. According to Badanta et al. (2022), Confucianism thrives on various tenets, including loyalty, respect for older people and family, altruism, and harmony. Also, this cultural dimension promotes a sense of obligation to parents, affection, trustworthiness, peace, humility, and benevolence (Badanta et al., 2022). Similarly, my cultural background emphasizes these ethical values and principles that influence personal behaviors. Although I prefer self-sufficiency and independence, I should be trustworthy, peaceful, loyal, benevolent, and responsible in my social interactions and relationships. These traits are essential in personal, social, and work experiences.
How I use self-management of my emotions when stressed. How do I manage my emotions differ from how the selected person manages them?
Often, people perceive and respond to life stimuli differently, prompting emotional variations. An ideal example of life stimuli that stirs mixed emotions and responses is change. According to Issah (2018), change triggers emotions since it disrupts comfort by creating a situation of uncertainty and anxiety. Other issues that result in emotions include interactions with other people, life experiences, and predicaments. Negative emotions emanating from these circumstances can lead to anger, emptiness, guilt, loneliness, fear, inadequacy, and frustration. It is essential to note that these negative emotions associated with life adversities and situations can affect individual productivity, social interactions, and the overall quality of life. As a result, a comprehensive plan for self-management of emotions is profound in maintaining the quality of life and averting negative emotions amidst life predicaments.
My self-management approaches to managing emotions rely massively upon emotional intelligence (EI), which entails reflecting on personal experiences, interpreting environmental cues, developing meaningful relationships with others, and developing competencies to deal with negative emotions and thrive in daunting situations. Issah (2018) argues that emotional intelligence comprises five components; self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivational, empathy, and social skills. In this sense, self-awareness entails understanding emotions, modes, drives, and effects on others (Issah, 2018, p. 2). On the other hand, self-regulation enables people to control and redirect disruptive moods, impulses, and emotions without affecting their lives and that of others.
Thirdly, self-motivation is the determination to pursue personal goals, persistence, and passion that extend beyond life challenges. While practicing self-motivation, it is essential to demonstrate empathy, which entails understanding other people’s emotional makeup and the skill to treat them according to their emotional reactions (Issah, 2018). Finally, social skills are proficiencies and competencies to manage relationships, build networks, and find common ground with other people amidst emotional variations. By practicing the five tenets of emotional intelligence, I can develop self-confidence, realistic self-assessment, trustworthiness, a strong drive to achieve optimism, openness to change, and the ability to face life challenges.
My emotional management approach is relatively comparable to Miss Xi’s. Upon exposure to life challenges and emotional situations, Miss Xi relies on introspection, attentional deployment, cognitive reappraisal, and solid emotional self-control. She knows other people’s emotional predispositions and robustly resolves to achieve personal goals amidst daunting situations. Further, she prefers engaging in social activities and developing meaningful interactions with others to alleviate stress and negative emotions emanating from life changes.
How to incorporate cultural intelligence in my interactions with the selected person
Although Miss Xi is a close friend, differences in cultural orientations may lead to implicit biases and microaggressions that ruin our relationship. In this sense, implicit biases and microaggressions are automatic, brief, subtle, and unconscious beliefs toward other people based on their characteristics or perceived group membership (Harrison & Turner, 2018). Microaggressions can lead to conflicts if they manifest through different types, including microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations. To avert potential conflicts that emanate from differences in cultural backgrounds and the underlying implicit biases and microaggressions, cultural intelligence is profound.
Cultural intelligence is essential to cultural competence since it entails an individual’s capacity to operate and relate effectively in culturally diverse contexts. Alifuddin & Widodo (2022) present cultural intelligence as “the ability to succeed in the complex cross-cultural environment through knowledge or cognition, motivation, and behaviors” (p. 1). It is vital to note that this competency emanates from the individual’s ability to recognize the specificities of many cultures and the subsequent adaptation to culturally-diverse contexts. Also, cultural intelligence allows people to confront problems from interactions with people of different cultural backgrounds. Therefore, it is a profound aspect of promoting interpersonal cohesion and improving socialization.
During my interactions with Miss Xi, cultural intelligence can enable me to deconstruct and address implicit biases and microaggressions toward Asian Americans. To capitalize on the importance of cultural intelligence in culturally-diverse contexts, it is crucial to understand various strategies for incorporating it when relating to people of different cultures. These strategies include:
- Understanding my cultural history: personal inventory is vital in exploring my cultural predispositions, including norms, values, practices, and assumptions that affect relationships with people of different cultures.
- Experiencing a different culture: After conducting a personal inventory of one’s cultural orientation, it is crucial to study and experience other people’s cultures. Strategies to familiarize with other people’s cultures include studying their norms, values, assumptions, and practices and establishing common grounds for the different cultural backgrounds.
- Practicing openness and flexibility to other people’s cultures: Often, assumptions, beliefs, and practices vary across cultures. As a result, tolerating other people’s cultural perspectives and seeking opportunities to interact with people of different cultures without practicing judgmental thoughts and stereotypes is essential. This strategy can enable people to accommodate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and eliminate prejudices and structural discrimination.
Cultural intelligence entails individual awareness of one’s cultural predispositions and the ability to thrive in culturally-diverse contexts. While interacting with people of different cultures, it is vital to practice self-management of emotions, understand similarities and differences in cultural backgrounds, and establish grounds for rapport and collective understanding. Equally, a comprehensive personal inventory, tolerance, and accommodating diversity are vital components of cultural intelligence. These aspects are central to my interactions and relationship with Miss Xi, a friend of Chinese background.
Alexandra, V., Ehrhart, K. H., & Randel, A. E. (2021). Cultural intelligence, perceived inclusion, and cultural diversity in workgroups. Personality and Individual Differences, 168, 110285. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110285
Alifuddin, Moh., & Widodo, W. (2022). How is cultural intelligence related to human behavior? Journal of Intelligence, 10(1), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence10010003
Badanta, B., González-Cano-Caballero, M., Suárez-Reina, P., Lucchetti, G., & de Diego-Cordero, R. (2022). How does Confucianism influence health behaviors, health outcomes, and medical decisions? A scoping review. Journal of Religion and Health. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-022-01506-8
Fatehi, K., Priestley, J. L., & Taasoobshirazi, G. (2020). The expanded view of individualism and collectivism: One, two, or four dimensions? International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, 20(1), 7–24. https://doi.org/10.1177/1470595820913077
Harrison, C., & Tanner, K. D. (2018). Language matters: Considering microaggressions in science. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 17(1), fe4. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.18-01-0011
Issah, M. (2018). Change leadership: The role of emotional intelligence. SAGE Open, 8(3), 1–6. sagepub. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244018800910
Pfabigan, D. M., Wucherer, A. M., Wang, X., Pan, X., Lamm, C., & Han, S. (2018). Cultural influences on the processing of social comparison feedback signals—an ERP study. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 13(12), 1317–1326. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsy097
Richards, R. D., & Wohlauer, M. V. (2021). Coming face to face with implicit bias, microaggressions, and macroaggressions: Understanding the influence of structural racism and misogyny on physician wellness. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 74(2), 101S110S. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2021.04.021
Vela, M. B., Erondu, A. I., Smith, N. A., Peek, M. E., Woodruff, J. N., & Chin, M. H. (2022). Eliminating explicit and implicit biases in health care: Evidence and research needs. Annual Review of Public Health, 43(1). https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-052620-103528
Xiao, W. S. (2021). The role of collectivism–individualism in attitudes toward compliance and psychological responses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.600826
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1. Quickly skim the questions or assignment below and the assignment rubric to help you focus.
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Essay: Answer each prompt using at least 400 words.
This assignment will help you to build on your cultural intelligence. This learning experience will be optimized if you are mindful of the uniqueness of other cultures, explore why other cultures are unique, and discuss how you can utilize the knowledge you have acquired from the culture. Choose someone from a culture that you have always been interested in but is different from your own. This can be an actual person you know, or a classmate. Be objective.
Identify specific ways in which your own cultural background and experiences have influenced your perspective when dealing with others from another culture.
Discuss the differences and similarities between you and the person you chose for the assignment.
Explain how you use self-management of your emotions when you are stressed. Is how you manage your emotions different from how the person you chose for the assignment manages?
Discuss how you would incorporate cultural intelligence in your interactions with the person you chose for the assignment.
Length: 1600-1750 words
Structure: Include a title page and reference page in APA style. These do not count towards the minimal word amount for this assignment.
References: Use the appropriate APA style in-text citations and references for all resources utilized to answer the questions. Include at least three (3) scholarly sources to support your claims.
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