Study Abroad Develops Cultural Intelligence for International Business Effectiveness, Special Relevance for PELL Students


  • Juan Rivera-Mata UMGC



cultural intelligence, study abroad, gender, international business


The global economy and COVID created an interdependency where managers work in multiple countries, requiring cultural awareness. Cultural Intelligent (CQ) is a recent concept described as predictor of cultural adaptation. We studied 188 international business university students in terms of gender, language, major, financial need, and study abroad. We found no statistically significant gender differences in CQ, but we found differences in having a second language, level of studies, and study abroad experience. We also found PELL students develop more CQ than the rest of the students while studying abroad. This study helps to understand the key elements to develop CQ among international students to be effective in the present global business world and to promote the participation of PELL students in study abroad experiences.

Abstract in Spanish
La economía global y COVID crearon una interdependencia en la que los gerentes trabajan en varios países, lo que requiere conciencia cultural. La Inteligencia Cultural (CQ) es un concepto reciente descrito como predictor de adaptación cultural. Estudiamos a 188 estudiantes universitarios de negocios internacionales en términos de género, idioma, especialización, necesidades financieras y estudios en el extranjero. No encontramos diferencias de género estadísticamente significativas en CQ, pero encontramos diferencias en tener un segundo idioma, nivel de estudios y experiencia de estudios en el extranjero. También encontramos que los estudiantes PELL desarrollan más CQ que el resto de los estudiantes mientras estudian en el extranjero. Este estudio ayuda a comprender los elementos clave para desarrollar CQ entre los estudiantes internacionales para ser efectivos en el mundo empresarial global actual y promover la participación de los estudiantes PELL en experiencias de estudio en el extranjero.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Juan Rivera-Mata, UMGC

Juan Rivera-Mata has a Business and Law Degree (ICADE-UNED Madrid), an International MBA (Alliant University, San Diego) and Ph.D. (UPO-Sevilla). He worked in Global Management in over 20 countries. Since 2000, he has worked and taught in the fields of leadership, strategy, and global business at Georgetown University, Northeastern University, and University of Maryland (UMGC). He specialized in leadership and sustainability at Harvard University and is a Board Member of SAVE Pharmaceuticals. His interests are women leadership, Hispanic Heritage, and global inequality.


Ahn, J., & Ettner, L. (2013). Cultural intelligence (CQ) in MBA curricula. Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, 7(1), 4–16. DOI:

Al-Jarrah, A. (2016). The Cultural Intelligence Level Among International Students in Jordanian Universities. Educational Kiesearch Quarterly, 39(3), 23-36.

Alon, I., Boulanger, M., Elston, J.A., Galanaki, E., Martinez de Ibarreta, C., Meyers. J., Muńiz-Ferrer, M., & Vélez-Calle, A. (2018). Business Cultural Intelligent Quotient: A Five-Country Study. Thunderbird International Business Review, 60(3), 237-250. DOI:

Andreason, A. W. (2003). Expatriate adjustment to foreign assignments. International Journal of Commerce and Management, 13(1), 42–60. DOI:

Ang, S. & Van Dyne, L. (2008a). Conceptualization of cultural intelligence: Definition, distinctiveness, and nomological network. In S. Ang & L. Van Dyne (Eds.), Handbook of cultural intelligence: Theory, measurement, and applications: 3–15. New York: M.E. Sharpe.

Ang, S. & Van Dyne, L. (eds). (2008b). Handbook of Cultural Intelligence: Theory, Management, and Applications. Routledge.

Ang, S., Van Dyne, L. and Koh, C. (2006). Personality correlates of the four-factor model of cultural intelligence. Group and Organization Management, 31: 100–123. DOI:

Ang, S., Van Dyne, L., & Rockstuhl, T. (2015). Cultural intelligence: Origins, evolution, and methodological diversity. In M. Gelfand, C. Y. Chiu, & Y. Y. Hong (Eds.), Advances in culture and psychology (Vol. 5, pp. 273–324). Oxford University Press. DOI:

Ang, S., Van Dyne, L., and Tan, M. L. (2011). Cultural intelligence. In R. J. Sternberg & S. B. Kuffman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of intelligence (pp. 582–602). Cambridge University Press. DOI:

Ang, S., Van Dyne, L., Koh, C., Ng, K. Y., Templer, K. J., and Tay, C. (2007). Cultural intelligence: Its measurement and effects on cultural judgment and decision making, cultural adaptation and task performance. Management and Organization Review, 3: 335–371.

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. Management and Organization Review, 3(3), 335–371. DOI:

Baehr, J. (2013). Educating for intellectual virtues: From theory to practice. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 47(2), 248–262. DOI:

Barner-Rasmussen, W., Ehrnrooth, M., Koveshnikov, A., & Mäkelä, K. (2014). Cultural and language skills as resources for boundary spanning within the MNC. Journal of International Business Studies, 45, 886–905. DOI:

Bechara, A., Tranel, D., & Damasio, H. (2000). Characterization of the decision-making deficit of patients with ventromedial prefrontal cortex lesions. Brain, 123(11), 2189–2002. DOI:

Brislin, R., Worthley, R., & MacNab, B. (2006). Cultural intelligence: understanding behaviors that serve people’s goals. Group & Organization Management, 31(1), 40–55. DOI:

Bucker, J.J. L.E., Furrer, O., Poutsma, E. & Buyens, D. (2014). The impact of cultural intelligence on communication effectiveness, job satisfaction and anxiety for Chinese host country managers working for foreign multinationals. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(14), 2068–2087. DOI:

Bucker, J.L.E. & Korzilius, R. (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, DOI:

Caligiuri, P. (2006). Developing global leaders. Human Resource Management Review, 16(2), 219–228. DOI:

Caligiuri, P. (2013). Cultural agility: Building a pipeline of successful global professionals. Wiley.

Cascio, W. F. & Shurygalio, S. (2003). E-leadership and virtual teams. Organizational Dynamics, 31(4), 362–376. DOI:

Chen, G., Kirkman, B. L., Kim, K., Farh, C. I. C., and Tangirala, S. (2010). When does cross-cultural motivation enhance expatriate effectiveness? A multilevel investigation of the moderating roles of subsidiary support and cultural distance. Academy of Management Journal, 53(5): 1110–1130. DOI:

Chieffo, L., & Griffiths, L. (2004). Large-scale assessment of student attitudes after a short- term study abroad program. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 10(1), 165-177. DOI:

Chua, R.Y. J., Morris, M.W. and Mor, S. (2012). Collaborating across cultures: cultural metacognition and affect- based trust in creative collaboration. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 118(2), 116– 131. DOI:

Cole, N.D. (2011). Managing global talent: solving the spousal adjustment problem. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22(7), 1504– 1530. DOI:

Crotty, S. K., & Brett, J. M. (2012) Fusing creativity: Cultural metacognition and teamwork in multicultural teams. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 5(2), 210–234. DOI:

Crowne, K. A. (2008). What leads to cultural intelligence? Business horizons, 51(5), 391-399. DOI:

Crowne, K.A. (2013). Cultural exposure, emotional intelligence, and cultural intelligence: An exploratory study. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 13(1), 5–22. DOI:

Earley, P. C., & Peterson, R. S. (2004). The elusive cultural chameleon: Cultural intelligence as a new approach to intercultural training for the global manager. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 3(1), 100–115. DOI:

Earley, P.C. (2002). Redefining interactions across cultures and organizations: moving forward with cultural intelligence. Research in Organizational Behavior, 24, 271– 299. DOI:

Earley, P.C., & Ang, S. (2003). Cultural Intelligence: Individual Interactions across Cultures. Stanford University Press. DOI:

Earley, P.C., & Gardner, H.K. (2005). Internal Dynamics and Cultural Intelligence in Multinational Teams. In D.L. Shapiro, M.A. Von Glinow, & Cheng, J.L.C. (Eds.) Managing Multinational Teams: Global Perspectives (Advances in International Management, Vol. 18, pp. 3-31), Emerald Group Publishing Limited. DOI:

Earley, P.C. Ang, S., & Tan, J.S. (2006) CQ: Developing cultural intelligence at work. Stanford University Press. DOI:

Eisenberg, J., Lee, H.J., Bruck, F., Brenner, B., Claes, M.T., Merensky, 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. DOI:

Elenkov, D.S., & Manev, I.M. (2009). Senior expatriate leadership’s effects on innovation and the role of cultural intelligence. Journal of World Business, 44(4), 357–369. DOI:

Engle, R.L., & Crowne, K.A. (2014). The impact of international experience on cultural intelligence: An application of contact theory in a structured short-term programme. Human Resource Development International, 17(1), 30–46. DOI:

Engle, R.L., & Nehrt, C.C. (2012). Antecedents of Cultural Intelligence: The Role of Risk, Control, and Openness in France and the United States. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 13(5), 35-47.

Erez, M., Kisazk, 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. DOI:

Evans, P., Pucik, V., & Björkman, I. (2011). The global challenge: International human resource management. McGraw-Hill Irwin.

EY. (2013). Your Talent in Motion: Global Mobility Effectiveness Survey 2013.

Ford, M. E., & Tisak, M. S. (1983). A further search for social intelligence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 75(2), 196–206. DOI:

Franklin-Craft, A. (2010). An assessment of the intercultural competence of student affairs administrators [Doctoral dissertation, Michigan State University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

Friedman, T. L. (2005). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. Straus and Giroux.

Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple intelligences: The theory in practice. Basic Books.

Goh, M. (2012). Teaching with cultural intelligence: Developing multiculturally educated and globally engaged citizens. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 32(4), 395–415. DOI:

Groves, K.S., & Feyerherm, A.E. (2011). Leader cultural intelligence in context: Testing the moderating effects of team cultural diversity on leader and team performance. Group & Organization Management, 36(5), 535–566. DOI:

Groves, K.S., Feyerherm, A., & Gu, M. (2015). Examining cultural intelligence and cross-cultural negotiation effectiveness. Journal of Management Education, 39(2), 209–243. DOI:

Habib, L., Johannesen, M., & Øgrim, L. (2014). Experiences and challenges of international students in technology-rich learning environments. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 17(2), 196–206.

Harvey, M., & Moeller, M. (2009). Expatriate managers: a historical review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 11. 275–296. DOI:

Heckman, J. J., & Kautz, T. (2012). Hard evidence on soft skills. Labour Economics, 19(4), 451–464. DOI:

Hill, C.W.L. & Hult, G.T.M. (2018). Global Business Today. McGraw-Hill.

Holden, N. (2002). Cross-cultural management: A knowledge management perspective. Pearson Education.

Imai, L., & Gelfand, M.J. (2010). The culturally intelligent negotiator: the impact of cultural intelligence (CQ) on negotiation sequences and outcomes. Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes, 112(2), 83–98. DOI:

Janssens, M., & Brett, J. M. (2006). Cultural intelligence in global teams. Group and Organization Management, 31(1), 124–153. DOI:

Javidan, M., & Tea Garden, M. B. (2011). Conceptualizing and measuring global mindset. Advances in Global Leadership, 6, 13–39. DOI:

Johnson, J. P., Lenartowicz, T., & Apud, S. (2006). Cross-cultural competence in international business: Toward a definition and a model. Journal of International Business Studies, 37, 525–543. DOI:

Kim, Y.J., & Van Dyne, L. (2012). Cultural intelligence and international leadership potential: The importance of contact for members of the majority. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 61(2), 272–294. DOI:

Koo Moon, H., Kwon Choi, B., & Shik Jung, J. (2012). Previous international experience, cross- cultural training, and expatriates’ cross-cultural adjustment: Effects of cultural intelligence and goal orientation. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 23, 285–330.

Kushner, K. A. (2010). Indian international students in American higher education: An analysis of India’s cultural and socioeconomic norms in light of the international student experience. Journal of the Indiana University Student Personnel, 43, 17–25.

Lam, C., & O’Higgins, E. (2012). Enhancing employee outcomes. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 33(2), 149–174. DOI:

Lee, L.Y., Veasna, S., & Wu, W.Y. (2013). The effects of social support and transformational leadership on expatriate adjustment and performance: the moderating roles of socialization experience and cultural intelligence. Career Development International, 18(4), 377–415. DOI:

Leidner, D. E., & Jarvenpaa, S. L. (1995). The use of information technology to enhance management school education: A theoretical view. MIS Quarterly, 19(3), 265–291. DOI:

Ming, L., 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 and Education, 12(1), 32-50. DOI:

Mohammad, F., Chai, L. T., Aun, L. K., & Migin, M. W. (2014). Emotional intelligence and turnover intention. International Journal of Academic Research, 6(4), 211–220.

Moon, H.K., Choi, B.K., & Jung, J.S. (2012). Previous international experience, cross- cultural training, and expatriates’ cross-cultural adjustment: Effects of cultural intelligence and goal orientation. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 23(3), 285–330. DOI:

Moon, H.K., Choi, B.K., & Jung, J.S. (2013). Comprehensive examination on antecedents of cultural intelligence: Case of South Korea. Personnel Review, 42(4), 440–465. DOI:

Mor, S., Morris, M., & Joh, J. (2013). Identifying and training adaptive cross-cultural management skills: the crucial role of cultural metacognition. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(3), 453–475. DOI:

Morrell, D.L., Ravlin, E.C., Ramsey, J.R., & Ward, A.K. (2013). Past experience, cultural intelligence, and satisfaction with international business studies. Journal of Teaching in International Business, 24(1), 31–43. 30.2013.810064 DOI:

Ng, K. Y., Van Dyne, L., & Ang, S. (2009). From experience to experiential learning: Cultural intelligence as a learning capability for global leader development. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 8(4), 511–526. DOI:

Oolders, T., Chernyshenko, O. S., & Stark, S. (2008). Cultural intelligence as a mediator of relationships between openness to experience and adaptive performance. In S. Ang & L. V. Dyne (Eds.), Handbook of cultural intelligence: Theory, measurement, and application (pp. 145–158). M.E. Sharpe.

Peng, A.C., Van Dyne, L., & Oh, K. (2015). The influence of motivational cultural intelligence on cultural effectiveness based on study abroad: the moderating role of participant’s cultural identity. Journal of Management Education, 39(5), 572–596. DOI:

Petrides, K. V., & Sevdalis, N. (2010). Emotional intelligence and nursing: Comment on Bulmer-Smith, Profetto-McGrath, and Cummings (2009). International Journal of Nursing Studies, 47(4), 526–528. DOI:

Planken, B., Van Hooft, A., & Korzilius, H. (2004). Promoting intercultural communicative competence through foreign language courses. Business Communication Quarterly, 67(3), 308–315. DOI:

Pless, N. M., Maak, T., & Stahl, G. K. (2011). Developing responsible global leaders through international service-learning programs: The Ulysses experience. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 10(2), 237–260. DOI:

Priya, A., & Panchanatham, N. N. (2014). Personality in relation to emotional intelligence among the professionals. International Journal of Management & Innovation, 6(2), 1–13

Putranto, N.U.R., Gustomo, A., & Ghazali, A. (2015, January 20). Analysis of Cross Cultural Management Course Pedagogy Methods in Developing Students’ Cultural Intelligence”, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 169, 354-362. DOI:

Rienties, B., Héliot, Y., & Jindal-Snape, D. (2013). Understanding social learning relations of international students in a large classroom using social network analysis. Higher Education, 66(4), 489–504. doi:10.1007/s10734-013- 9617-9 DOI:

Riggio, R. E. (2010). Before emotional intelligence: Research on nonverbal, emotional, and social Competences. Industrial & Organizational Psychology, 3(2), 178–182. doi:10.1111/j.1754-9434.2010. 01221.x DOI:

Rockstuhl, T., Seiler, S., Ang, S., Van Dyne, L., & Annen, H. (2011). Beyond general intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ): The role of cultural intelligence (CQ) on cross-border leadership effectiveness in a globalized world. Journal of Social Issues, 67(4), 825–840. DOI:

Şahin, F., Gürbüz, S., & Köksal, O. (2014). Cultural intelligence (CQ) in action: The effects of personality and international assignment on the development of CQ. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 39, 152–163. DOI:

Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (2000). Select on intelligence. In E. A. Locke (Ed.), Handbook of principles of organizational behavior (pp. 3–14). Blackwell.

Shannon, L. M., & Begley, T. M. (2008). Antecedents of the four-factor model of cultural intelligence. In L. Van Dyne & S. Ang (Eds.), Handbook of cultural intelligence: Theory, measurement, and applications (pp. 41–55). M. E. Sharpe.

Sherry, M., Thomas, P., & Chui, W. H. (2010). International students: A vulnerable student population. Higher Education, 60(1), 33–46. DOI:

Shokef, E., & Erez, M. (2008). Cultural intelligence and global identity in multicultural teams. In S. Ang & L. V. Dyne (Eds.), Handbook of cultural intelligence: Theory, measurement, and applications (pp. 177–191). M.E. Sharpe.

Shumaila, A., Safdar, R., Iram, B., & Amna, A. (2019). The Interaction of Cultural Intelligence, Psychological Hardiness and Academic Performance with Homesickness among Hostel Students. Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences (PJSS), 39(1), 179-188.

Sizoo, S., Serrie, H., & Shapero, M. (2007). Revisiting a theory- supported approach to teaching cross-cultural management skills. Journal of Teaching in International Business, 18(2-3), 83–99. DOI:

Snyder, T.D., de Brey, C., & Dillow, S.A. (2019). Digest of Education Statistics 2017 (NCES 2018-070). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. .

Solomon, A., & Steyn, R. (2017). Exploring cultural intelligence truths: A systematic review. SA Journal of Human Resource Management/SA 15(1), 1-11. DOI:

Story, J., Barbuto, J., Luthans, F., & Bovaird, J. (2014). Meeting the challenges of effective international HRM: Analysis of the antecedents of global mindset. Human Resource Management, 53(1), 131–155. DOI:

Stroh, L.K., Gregersen, H.B., & Black, J.S. (2000). Triumphs and tragedies: expectations and commitments upon repatriation. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 11(4), 681–697. DOI:

Takeuchi, R. Tesluk, P.E., Yun, S., & Lepak, D.P. (2005). An integrative view of international experience. Academy of Management Journal, 48(1), 85–100. DOI:

Tarique, I., & Takeuchi, R. (2008). Developing cultural intelligence: The role of non-work international experiences. In S. Ang & L. V. Dyne (Eds.), Handbook of cultural intelligence: Theory, measurement, and applications (pp. 56–70). M.E. Sharpe.

Tay, C., Westman, M., & Chia, A. (2008). Antecedents and consequences of cultural intelligence among short-term business travelers. In S. Ang & L. V. Dyne (Eds.), Handbook of cultural intelligence: Theory, measurement, and applications (pp. 126–144). M.E Sharpe. DOI:

The Economist. (2019, October 12-18). The World Economy’s strange new rules: A special report.

Thompson, R. (2018). A Qualitative Phenomenological study of Emotional and Cultural Intelligence of International Students in the United States of America. Journal of International Student, 8(2) 1220-1255. doi:10.5281/zenodo.1250423 DOI:

Van Dyne, L., Ang, S., & Koh, C. (2008). Development and validation of the CQS: The cultural intelligence scale. In S. Ang & L. Van Dyne (Eds.), Handbook of cultural intelligence: Theory, measurement, and applications (pp. 16–40). M. E. Sharpe. DOI:

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. DOI:

Wagner, T. (2008). The global achievement gap. Basic Books.

Ward, C., Fischer, R., Lam, F. S. Z., & Hall, L. (2009). The Convergent, discriminant and incremental validity of a self-report measure of cultural intelligence. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 69(1), 85–105. DOI:

Werry, C. (2005). Rhetoric and reflexivity in cognitive theories of language. Language & Communication, 25(4), 377–397. DOI:

Wood, E.D., & St. Peters, H.Y. Z. (2014). Short-term cross- cultural study tours: impact on cultural intelligence. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(4), 558–570. DOI:

Yordanova, G. K. (2011). Managing with cultural intelligence: The new secret to multicultural team success [unpublished thesis, Aarhus University].

Yu, B., Chen, X., Li, S., Liu, Y., Jacques-Tiura, A. J., & Yan, H. (2014). Acculturative stress and influential factors among international students in China: A structural dynamic perspective. PLOS ONE, 9(4), 1–8. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096322 DOI:

Zakaria, F. (1999). From wealth to power: The unusual origins of America’s world role. Princeton University Press. DOI:




How to Cite

Rivera-Mata, J. (2022). Study Abroad Develops Cultural Intelligence for International Business Effectiveness, Special Relevance for PELL Students. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 34(4), 144–171.



Research Articles