Singapore University of Social Sciences

Cross-Cultural Intelligence at the Workplace

Cross-Cultural Intelligence at the Workplace (HBC263)


This course provides you with necessary knowledge on the complexity and importance of appreciating fundamental cultural differences between individuals and the implication of cultural differences in the workplace. Throughout time, from trading through the Silk Road between 130 B.C. until 1453 A.D., to the current globalisation of expatriation and migration, cross-cultural intelligence or XCQ has been a key building block of society. Being aware of cultural diversity and displaying sensitivity toward the cultural foci of other cultures both enhance our interactions with people from other cultures as well as our adaptability to another culture, whether it is localised (e.g., joining a new subculture), job-hopping to another workplace, or relocating to a different country. The aim of this course is to introduce you to the nuances of cross-cultural interaction, illuminate the hidden barriers to intercultural understanding that lurk in our cognitive interpretations of others, heighten your sensitivity to factors that lead to cross-cultural misunderstandings, in addition to reviewing coping and adapting strategies for reducing cross-cultural conflict. With the help of theories, concepts, social science findings and case studies, the key issues examined through this course include: - What is my cultural identity? - What does it mean to be culturally competent? - How can we adopt curiosity and an open mind to interact with others to facilitate effective cross-cultural communication? - How can we develop XCQ in the workplace?

Level: 2
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every July
E-Learning: BLENDED - Learning is done ENTIRELY online using interactive study materials in Canvas. Students receive guidance and support from online instructors via discussion forums and emails. There are no face-to-face sessions. If the course has an exam component, this will be administered on-campus.


  • Introduction and Overview of Cross-Cultural Intelligence
  • Communicating Across Cultures
  • Developing Intercultural Competencies
  • Managing Conflict and Negotiating ‘Face’
  • Implementing change in the global workplace
  • Business Cultures in Different Cultural Environments

Learning Outcome

  • Explain the interrelationship between culture and communication
  • Relate cross-cultural communication barriers to underlying contributing factors, including categorisation and stereotyping
  • Discuss how poor cultural competence leads to difficulties in cross-cultural adaptation, both in personal and professional experiences
  • Appraise the cultural factors that impact one’s cross-cultural intelligence
  • Apply theories, concepts, social science findings and strategies from case studies learned through this course to your personal and professional experiences
  • Propose conceptually-sound and empirically-based strategies to improve cross-cultural competence in workplace settings
  • Develop an understanding of your existing cultural biases as well as greater sensitivity towards other cultures
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