Summary of Cultural Intelligence


Cultural Intelligence book summary

Editorial Rating



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This brief book offers an easy-to-read description of what it takes to adapt to a culturally diverse business environment. David C. Thomas and Kerr Inkson make it clear that you can learn cultural intelligence only from experience, not from reading books. However, their manual does provide a basic introduction that will be extremely helpful to people experiencing cultural shock or dislocation. The most distinctive feature of the authors’ treatment of the subject is their insistence on mindfulness as the fundamental first step in developing cultural intelligence. getAbstract believes this book will be particularly useful for businesspeople embarking on expatriate assignments, but anyone working in a business context that includes diverse cultures will benefit from reading it – and thus will become better equipped to get some of that all-important experience.

About the Authors

David C. Thomas is a professor of international management at Simon Fraser University. Kerr Inkson is professor of management at the Auckland campus of Massey University, New Zealand.


The Basics

Dealing with people from various cultures is necessary in today’s global business environment. Even those who do not travel for work may find other cultures traveling to them. International communication is a fact of daily business life. In this environment, technologies, markets and practices change rapidly; however, culture changes very slowly. Cultural issues will linger, continuing to matter whenever people from different cultures meet, communicate and work together. That makes cultural intelligence an important, competitive competence for managers. Cultural intelligence is the ability to work with people from various cultures. You and your staff need experience to develop this amalgam of knowledge, mindfulness and behavioral abilities.

Cross-cultural learning experiences enable you to build cultural intelligence, so that you can understand the effect culture has on behavior and know what to expect from cultural factors that manifest themselves in varied ways in different situations.

Mindfulness is fundamental in the development of cultural intelligence. It requires a deep understanding of your expectations, reactions, assumptions, emotional responses...

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