Evaluating an Intensive Program to Increase Cultural Intelligence: A Quasi-Experimental Design

  • Kristofer Chang Alexander Purdue University
  • Luke T Ingersoll Purdue University
  • Charles A. Calahan Purdue University
  • Monica L. Miller Purdue University
  • Cleveland G. Shields Purdue University
  • John A. Gipson Purdue University
  • Stewart Chang Alexander Purdue University
Keywords: Cultural Intelligence, Intercultural effectiveness, CQ development, Study abroad, Cultural metacognition, Bridging cultural differences


This study used a quasi-experimental design to compare the effects of an intercultural development program on students' Cultural Intelligence (CQ) compared with students in a summer research program who did not receive the intervention. Social Learning Theory guided a 9-week student-centered cultural learning course focused on attention, retention, and reproduction of each CQ domain. After the course, students had opportunities to practice their CQ abilities while studying abroad. Pre-assessment CQ determined an individualized learning plan. Reflective journaling and cultural mentoring were used to maximize student CQ growth. Using multi-level modeling, we observed a statistically significant increase in three CQ domains compared to the comparison control group: cognitive (p<.01), metacognitive (p<.01), and behavioral CQ (p<.01). Motivation CQ scores did not significantly improve (p=0.08). Our results suggest that a university intercultural development program that intentionally combines a cultural learning course with a study abroad experience may improve students’ CQ.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Kristofer Chang Alexander, Purdue University

Kristofer Chang Alexander is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Purdue University in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Professor Chang Alexander has led over 15 study abroad programs overseas. He is a recipient of Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences’ Study Abroad Leadership Award (2020) and has been selected for the 2020-2021 Teaching for Tomorrow Fellowship Program.

Luke T Ingersoll, Purdue University

Luke T Ingersoll is a PhD student in the Department of Consumer Science at Purdue University. Luke has helped design and lead study abroad programs to six different countries over the last five years. In 2019, he received a Teaching Academy Graduate Teaching Award for outstanding contributions and commitment to undergraduate education. 

Charles A. Calahan, Purdue University

Charles A. Calahan directs Global Learning in the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue University. As an award-winning teacher in the College of Health and Human Sciences, his teaching and learning focused on active and experiential learning via advanced and innovative technologies. Since 2005, he was a paradigm pioneer at Purdue University in hybrid or blended learning. He is a Purdue University Diversity Fellow, Service-Learning Fellow and a Member of the Purdue Teaching Academy.

Monica L. Miller, Purdue University

Monica L. Miller is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Purdue University College of Pharmacy. Dr. Miller also serves as a study abroad/international program lead as well as the College of Pharmacy’s Intercultural Learning Liaison in both roles, she helps pharmacy students develop intercultural competence skills to effectively work with underserved populations domestically and globally. She is a Service Learning Faculty Fellow whose dedication to teaching, mentorship and work with the Purdue Kenya Partnership has been consistently recognized and celebrated.

Cleveland G. Shields, Purdue University

Cleveland G. Shields is a Professor at Purdue University in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Dr. Shields is a Faculty Scholar and received the College of Health and Human Sciences’ Career Research Achievement Award. His research examines racial and gender differences in physician-patient communication.

John A. Gipson, Purdue University

John A Gipson is the Director of Summer Session at Purdue University. The program runs the Think Summer program for students, including, Summer Internships and the Summer Stay Scholar Program.  In 2015, Dr. Gipson was awarded the Outstanding New Professional Award by NASPA (Student Affairs in Higher Education).

Stewart Chang Alexander, Purdue University

Stewart Chang Alexander is an Associate Professor (Public Health) and is a Faculty Scholar at Purdue University. In 2020, he was the inaugural recipient of Purdue University’s Vision Award for his work on cultural development. In 2018, he received the College of Health and Human Sciences’ Study Abroad Leadership Award. In 2017, he received Purdue’s Trailblazer Award for mid-career faculty whose research, scholarship or creative work has made a significant impact in their discipline.


Adams, P. (2006). Exploring social constructivism: Theories and practicalities. Education and Psychological Measurement, 34, 243-257. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004270600898893

AL-Dossary, S. A. (2016). Psychometric properties of the cultural intelligence scale in a Saudi Arabian context. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 24(4), 305-311. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijsa.12149

Alexandra, V. (2018). Predicting CQ development in the context of experiential cross-cultural training: The role of social dominance orientation and the propensity to change stereotypes. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 17(1), 62-78. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2015.0096

Ang, S., & Van Dyne, L. (2008). Conceptualization of cultural intelligence: Definition, distinctiveness, and nomological network. In S. Ang & L. Van Dyne (Eds.), Handbook of cultural intelligence: Theory, measurement, and applications (pp. 3-15). Sharpe.

Ang, S., Van Dyne, L., Koh, C., Ng, K. Y., Templer, K. J., Tay, C., & Chandrasekar, N. A. (2007). Cultural intelligence: its measurement and effects on cultural judgment and decision making, cultural adaptation and task performance. Mangement and Organization Review, 3, 335-371. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-8784.2007.00082.x

Ash, S. L., & Clayton, P. H. (2009). Generating, deepening, and documenting learning: The power of critical reflection in applied learning. Journal of Applied Learning in Higher Education, 1, 25-48.

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Prentice-Hall.

Black, J. S., & Mendenhall, M. (1990). Cross-cultural training effectiveness- A review and a theoretical framework for future research. Academy of Management Review, 15(1), 113-136. https://doi.org/10.2307/258109

Blake-Beard, S. (2009). Mentoring as a bridge to understanding cultural difference. Adult Learning, 20, 14-18. https://doi.org/10.1177/104515950902000104

Brislin, R., Worthley, R., & MacNab, B. (2006). Cultural intelligence: Understanding behaviours that serve people’s goals. Group & Organizational Management, 31, 40-55. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601105275262

Buchtel, E. E. (2014). Cultural sensitivity or cultural stereotyping? Positive and negative effects of a cultural psychology class. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 39, 40-52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2013.09.003

Bücker, J. J. L. E., & Korzilius, H. (2015). Developing cultural intelligence: Assessing the effect of the Ecotonos cultural simulation game for international business students. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26(15), 1995-2014. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2015.1041759

Chao, M. M., Takeuchi, R., & Farh, J.-L. (2017). Enhancing cultural intelligence: The roles of implicit culture beliefs and adjustment. Personnel Psychology, 70(1), 257-292. https://doi.org/10.1111/peps.12142

Collins, N., Chou, Y.-M., Warner, M., & Rowley, C. (2015). Human factors in East Asian virtual teamwork: a comparative study of Indonesia, Taiwan and Vietnam. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(10), 1475-1498. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2015.1089064

Early, P. C., & Ang, S. (2003). Cultural Intelligence: Individual interactions across cultures. Stanford University Press.

Eisenberg, J., Lee, H.-J., Brück, F., Brenner, B., Claes, M.-T., Mironski, J., & Bell, R. (2013). Can Business Schools Make Students Culturally Competent? Effects of Cross-Cultural Management Courses on Cultural Intelligence. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(4), 603-621. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2012.0022

Erez, M., Lisak, A., Harush, R., Glikson, E., Nouri, R., & Shokef, E. (2013). Going global: Developing management students' cultural intelligence and global identity in culturally diverse virtual teams. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(3), 330-355. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2012.0200

Fang, F., Schei, V., & Selart, M. (2018). Hype or hope? A new look at the research on cultural intelligence. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 66, 148-171.

Fischer, R. (2011). Cross-cultural training effects on cultural essentialism beliefs and cultural intelligence. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(6), 767-775. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.08.005

Guðmundsdóttir, S. (2015). Nordic expatriates in the US: The relationship between cultural intelligence and adjustment. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 47, 175-186. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2015.05.001

Holmes, P., Bavieri, L., & Ganassin, S. (2015). Developing intercultural understanding for study abroad: Students’ and teachers’ perspectives on pre-departure intercultural learning. Intercultural Education, 26(1), 16-30. https://doi.org/10.1080/14675986.2015.993250

Honebein, P. C. (1996). Seven goals for the design of constructivist learning environments. Constructivist learning environments: Case studies in instructional design, 11-24.

Horsburgh, J., & Ippolito, K. (2018). A skill to be worked at: Using Social Learning Theory to explore the process of learning from role models in clinical settings. BMC Medical Education, 18, 156. https://doi.org/doi.org/10.1186/s12909-018-1251-x

Ko, B., Boswell, B., & Yoon, S. (2013). Developing intercultural competence through global link experiences in physical education. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 20(4), 366-380. https://doi.org/10.1080/17408989.2013.837441

Li, M., Mobley, W. H., & Kelly, A. (2013). When do global leaders learn best to develop cultural intelligence? An investigation of the moderating role of experiential learning style. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(1), 32-50.

Lisak, A., & Erez, M. (2015). Leadership emergence in multicultural teams: The power of global characteristics. Journal of World Business, 50(1), 3-14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2014.01.002

Lorenz, M. P., Ramsey, J. R., & Richey, R. G. (2018). Expatriates’ international opportunity recognition and innovativeness: The role of metacognitive and cognitive cultural intelligence. Journal of World Business, 53(2), 222-236. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2017.11.004

MacNab, B., Brislin, R., & Worthley, R. (2012). Experiential cultural intelligence development: Context and individual attributes. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(7), 1320-1341.

Maloney, T. R., & Asbury, T. E. (2018). The drop-off: Pedagogy for study abroad educators fostering intercultural competence. International Research and Review: Journal of Phi Beta Dela Honor Society for International Scholars, 7(2), 65-84. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2011.581636

Matsumoto, D., & Hwang, H. C. (2013). Assessing cross-cultural competence: A review of available tests. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44(6), 849-873. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022113492891

McCoach, D. B. (2008). Modeling growth using multilevel and alternative approaches. In D. B. McCoach (Ed.), Multilevel modeling of education data. Information Age Publishing.

McRae, N., Ramji, K., Lu, L., & Lesperance, M. (2016). Developing global-ready graduates: The CANEU-COOP experience. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 17(4), 377-386.

Moyano, M., Tabernero, C., Melero, R., & Trujillo, H. M. (2015). Spanish version of the Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS). Revista de Psicología Social, 30(1), 182-216. https://doi.org/10.1080/02134748.2014.991520

Niehaus, E., Reading, J., Nelson, M. J., Wegener, A., & Arthur, A. (2018). Faculty engagement in cultural mentoring as instructors of short-term study abroad courses. Educational Administration, XXX(2), 77-91. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v30i2.413

Paige, R. M., & Vande Berg, M. (2012). Why students are not learning abroad. In Student Learning Aborad: What our students are learning, what they are not, and what we can do about it (pp. 29.58). Stylus.

Presbitero, A. (2017). Religious expatriates’ cultural intelligence and adaptation. Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, 5(2), 146-157. https://doi.org/10.1108/jgm-09-2016-0041

Presbitero, A., & Toledano, L. S. (2017). Global team members’ performance and the roles of cross-cultural training, cultural intelligence, and contact intensity: the case of global teams in IT offshoring sector. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 29(14), 2188-2208. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2017.1322118

Ramsey, J. R., & Lorenz, M. P. (2016). Exploring the impact of cross-cultural management education on cultural intelligence, student satisfaction, and commitment. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 15(1), 79-99. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2014.0124

Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods (2nd ed.). Sage Publications.

Rehg, M. T., Gundlach, M. J., & Grigorian, R. A. (2012). Examining the influence of cross-cultural training on cultural intelligence and specific self-efficacy. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 19(2), 215-232. https://doi.org/10.1108/13527601211219892

Rosenblatt, V., Worthley, R., & MacNab, B. (2013). From contact to development in experiential cultural intelligence education: The mediating influence of expectancy disconfirmation. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(3), 356-379. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2012.0199

Ryoo, E. N., & Ha, E. H. (2015, Dec). The importance of debriefing in simulation-based learning: Comparison between debriefing and no debriefing. Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 33(12), 538-545. https://doi.org/10.1097/CIN.0000000000000194

Shu, F., McAbee, S. T., & Ayman, R. (2017). The HEXACO personality traits, cultural intelligence, and international student adjustment. Personality and Individual Differences, 106, 21-25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.10.024

Solomon, A., & Steyn, R. (2017). Leadership styles: The role of cultural intelligence. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 43(0). https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v43i0.1436

Sternberg, R. J., & Detterman, D. K. (1986). What is Intelligence? Contemporary Viewpoints on Its Nature and Definition. Ablex.

Taras, V., Caprar, D. V., Rottig, D., et. al. (2013). A global classroom? Evaluating the effectiveness of global virtual collaboration as a teaching tool in management education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(3), 414-435. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2012.0195

Thigarajan, S. (2004). Simulation games by Thiagi. Workshops by Thiagi.

Vande Berg, M. (2009). Intervening in student learning abroad: A research‐based inquiry. Intercultural Education, 20(sup1), S15-S27. https://doi.org/10.1080/14675980903370821

Varela, O. E., & Gatlin-Watts, R. (2014). The development of the global manager: An empirical study on the role of academic international sojourns. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 13(2), 187-207. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2012.0289

Wang, M. (2016). Effects of expatriates’ cultural intelligence on cross-cultural adjustment and job performance. Revista de Cercetare si Interventie Sociala, 55, 231-243.

Wood, E. D., & St. Peters, H. Y. Z. (2013). Short-term cross-cultural study tours: Impact on cultural intelligence. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(4), 558-570. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2013.796315

Young, C. A., Haffejee, B., & Corsun, D. L. (2017). The relationship between ethnocentrism and cultural intelligence. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 58, 31-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2017.04.001

How to Cite
Chang Alexander, K., Ingersoll, L. T., Calahan, C. A., Miller, M. L., Shields, C. G., Gipson, J. A., & Chang Alexander, S. (2021). Evaluating an Intensive Program to Increase Cultural Intelligence: A Quasi-Experimental Design . Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 33(1), 106-128. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v33i1.497