Culture Resource Centre

How to help managers develop a global mindset

FROM THE LITERATURE. In Lovvorn and Chen’s article Developing a Global Mindset: The Relationship between an International Assignment and Cultural Intelligence, the authors argue that a global mindset is critical for managers to develop their organisations’ current and future international success. I like to share this article since one of the interesting highlights is that a persistent assumption has been demystified: international experience by itself is not adding to the development of a global mindset. You need Cultural Intelligence (CQ) to transform the experience into a global mindset.

First: What is CQ?
According to Earley and Ang (2003) CQ is an individual’s capability to adapt effectively to new cultural contexts. Or as we like to explain CQ in our intercultural learning & development practice: the ability to understand and develop patterns from cultural cues based on knowledge and strategy (the Head); the motivation, drive and ability to engage others (the Heart); and the capability to behave and act in accordance with knowledge, strategies and motivation (the Body).

International Experience ≠ a Global Mindset
According to Lovvorn and Chen, while international experience can provide managers with unique knowledge, an expanded worldview, and an appreciation for the diversity of cultures, they also found that comparing an executive’s international assignment with the development of a global mindset is problematic. 

Lovvorn and Chens’ research model is built on three elements:
1). the international experience of managers and how it broadens
      perspectives from which they can draw in future business encounters,
2). the role of Cultural Intelligence (CQ) on transforming the information
      build up from overseas experiences into knowledge and skill sets, and
3). the resulting global mindset that allows managers to operate in
      uncertain environments and, yet, form coherent strategies to
      accomplish goals or initiate new strategies for emerging opportunities.

Lovvorns and Chens research showed that CQ acts as a moderator of the international experience by transforming the information gained during the overseas assignment into knowledge and ultimately into a global mindset. They conclude that only by purposefully enriching one’s CQ can an individual develop an inclusive global mindset.

Article by Lovvorn and Chen Developing a Global Mindset: The Relationship between an International Assignment and Cultural Intelligence. International Journal of Business and Social Science Vol. 2 No. 9 [May 2011].

Joost Thissen, Partner & Interculturalist
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Categories: From the Literature.