Are some individuals more susceptible to intercultural education than others? Multicultural personality predicts the effects of an intercultural training on cultural intelligence

Mijail Figueroa, Joep Hofhuis

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Abstract

The development of intercultural competences has become a prominent goal for many study programs in higher education. A widely used frame to measure intercultural competence is Cultural Intelligence (CQ). While empirical research has focused extensively on the development of CQ by means of (student) mobility and long-term training, the effects of short-format trainings – a more cost-effective intervention that can be provided to a large number of participants – remain understudied. Existing findings are inconclusive, and it remains unclear under which conditions, and for whom, short-format interventions are effective in improving participants’ CQ. We propose that CQ development is contingent upon individual differences in multicultural personality traits (operationalized through the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire, MPQ). More specifically, in this study we investigate (1) whether a short-format (6-hour) training improves CQ among higher education students (n = 108), and (2) whether the development of CQ is moderated by students’ social-perceptual and stress-related MPQ trait scores prior to the training. Using a pre and post-test design we found that across the whole sample, all four facets of the CQ increased after the training. We also found that some social-perceptual traits of the MPQ moderated the development of CQ: Social initiative on Metacognitive CQ, Openmindedness on Cognitive CQ, and Social initiative and Openmindedness on Motivational CQ. Additionally, we did not find a moderator effect of stress-related MPQ traits on the development of Behavioral CQ. Based on our findings, we conclude that multicultural personality influences individuals’ susceptibility to intercultural education, underscoring the importance of individualized approaches in intercultural education.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101927
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Volume98
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

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