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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 106-114

A study of the relationship between cultural intelligence and efficiency among the primary school managers in Isfahan


Department of Educational Management, Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord, Iran

Date of Web Publication26-Jul-2017

Correspondence Address:
Mohammad Taghi Mahmoody
Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.211641

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  Abstract 

Introduction: The main purpose of the current investigation is to survey the relationship between cultural intelligence and efficiency of the primary school managers in Isfahan. This study is an applied research that was implemented through correlation method. Materials and Methods: The statistical community of this research is consisted of 176 primary school managers in region 3 and 5 of Isfahan among whom 121 people are chosen by multilevel clustering method as the sample group. The measurement tools of this study include standard questionnaire of cultural intelligence by Early and Ang (2003) and inventory achievement efficiency model by Hersey and Goldsmith (1980). The Validity of the content was confirmed by some professors at the department of educational science. Results: Using Cronbach α. reliability was estimated at%7 for cultural intelligence and%74 for efficiency. For data analysis of the research, multivariable regression t and correlation tests have been used and generally revealed a meaningful relationship between the managers' cultural intelligence and efficiency. Among the components of cultural intelligence, there is a perfect relationship between the cognitive, motivational and behavioral elements and the managers' efficiency. Conclusions: There is no linkage between the strategy of cultural intelligence and efficiency. Also, based on demographic properties involving age, gender and education, there isn't a meaningful difference among the managers' efficiency. Given that a considerable part of skills and cultural intelligence capacities are acquired, the Isfahan education office center should consider a specific plan to promote cultural intelligence, and try to improve this through formal and informal trainings.

Keywords: Cultural intelligence, efficiency, Isfahan, managers, primary schools


How to cite this article:
Saneiee N, Mahmoody MT, Pordanjani HM. A study of the relationship between cultural intelligence and efficiency among the primary school managers in Isfahan. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2017;3:106-14

How to cite this URL:
Saneiee N, Mahmoody MT, Pordanjani HM. A study of the relationship between cultural intelligence and efficiency among the primary school managers in Isfahan. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 Nov 22];3:106-14. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2017/3/2/106/211641


  Introduction Top


There had been a lively and controversial discussion about globalization in the late 20th century and the early years of the third millennium. It is apparent that globalization is not just a one-dimensional phenomenon but an economical, political, cultural, etc., process. Some believe that the blurred country borders not only cannot minimize the cultural difference between nations but would also somehow highlight it. Building multinational companies and the necessity of the leaders' presence in the world classes for managing these multinational organizations and also the challenges these companies, teams, and leaders encounter all account for the definite existence of cultural differences. This issue which raises the need for a new capability among employees, managers, and generally human resources is called “cultural intelligence.”[1]

Culture involves values, attitudes, and informed entities which form human behavior and is transferred from one generation to another. It has always been a source of misinterpretation and opposition.[2]

Anthropologists define culture as a lifestyle created by a group of people that is transferred from one generation to another. What is common among all the definitions of culture is that it is a set of unwritten and unrecognizable rules in most situations that can make the job of a manager for establishing an effective communication difficult.[3]

Some people believe the world is moving toward homogenization. On the other hand, the others believe not only is not the world moving toward homogenization but also it is turning toward a path in which opposition, variation, and different species exist.[4]

Nowadays, the organizations are seeking the managers who both have the ability of constant adaptation with people from different cultures and can direct intercultural communication; this capability which prepares a person both for adapting to the values, traditions, and customs different from what one is accustomed to and for working in a different cultural environment is called cultural intelligence.[5]

The organizations must always be ready to face changes and advances. According to this theory, each system is affected by its sublime system. Therefore, the need for managers and leaders capable of taking charge of all the issues in an organization can be clearly felt, and this is definitely more important in educational and training institutions which build the foundation for educating the whole number of social organizations; that is, besides having commitment and social and individual qualities, the managers must be equipped with up-to-date science and knowledge and keep pace with the latest developments.[6]

The improvement of efficiency is another aspect of organizational efforts and as a philosophy and ideology based on the improvement strategy, it is considered the most important purpose of every organization through which the efforts of all society can be related. Efficiency improvement is an ideology based on high creativity, aptitude, adaptation. and incorporation of the society and organizations into economical, scientific, and technical developments.[7]

The improvement of efficiency in the organizations is affected by and is the direct result of the management efficiency which is synonymous with good management. As a matter of fact, increasing efficiency and preserving its growth are the goals and main responsibilities of management. In other words, preparing suitable grounds for higher operating levels are the basis of efficiency management. However, the improvement of efficiency is a process of change; therefore, it is important to design and coordinate the scale and the speed of change in all the elements of the organization including the individuals and the structure of human resources. These changes can create positive attitudes and organizational culture which can be beneficial for efficiency improvement and the change of technology.[6]

In the management viewpoint, this concept defines the degree of the system's success in using the resources for fulfilling goals and is different from output, production, profitability, production capacity, function, cost reduction, or overtime work.[8]


  The Theoretical Basis of the Study Top


Cultural intelligence is a kind of multidimensional concept based on the multifactor framework of Sternberg and Dytram (1986). Employing many different perspectives about intelligence, Sternberg specified four elements as the critical factors in determining the cultural intelligence.

Metacognitive (strategic) intelligence

It is the knowledge about and control over cognition. Furthermore, it is a set of procedures which people use for understanding knowledge and is consisted of preparing strategies before intercultural encounter, studying the assumptions while encountering and adapting to and altering the mind patterns; in case, the actual experience is different from what we had previously expected. This dimension can develop active thinking about people and cultural issues, prevent inflexible assumptions, and limited cultural thinking and lead people toward the recreation of strategies.[9]

Cognitive intelligence (knowledge)

It includes individual knowledge and knowledge structure. It expresses the information about the norms, activities, and standards in different cultures resulted from the individual and educational experience. This dimension consists of superficial knowledge about social, legal, and economical systems in different cultures and subcultures.[10]

Motivational intelligence

It shows that the best cognition is stimulated. It is focused on the size and direction of energy as the canon of intelligence and reflects the ability and tendency toward learning and acting in different cultural situations. The psychological and motivational elements help people resist the obstacles in order better to adapt themselves to the culture of the others. This dimension reflects the individuals' interest in interacting with people from other cultures and testing their viewpoints and includes the individual's self-esteem in multicultural interactions and the self-confidence which allows the person to act effectively in various cultural situations.[9]

Behavioral intelligence

It emphasizes the individuals' abilities in practical levels. This dimension reflects the ability to perform appropriate verbal and nonverbal behavior while communicating with people from other cultures. According to Hall, the mental capacity for cultural understanding and motivation must be completed with verbal and nonverbal behaviors (words, tone of voice, facial expressions, and gestures) based on the cultural values in particular situations. This includes a wide range of flexible behaviors.[10]

Cultural intelligence is one of the most important abilities which can be used in facing multicultural situations. This ability helps a person perform the most appropriate behavior through a quick and correct understanding of different cultural situations. In other words, cultural intelligence is an individual's ability to understand, interpret, and perform an effective action in the situations containing cultural differences and is useful for intercultural interactions and successful presence in multicultural work groups. Earley and Ang (2003) believed that finding familiar signs which can help us facilitate communication in new cultural situations is difficult. Providing such frameworks can only be done by those who have high cultural intelligence.[10]

Efficiency relates to the concepts of profitability, quality, innovation, the quality of the working life, and culture and it is in fact a combination of these elements. Some people define it as a combination of performance, effectiveness, and ability to make a change compatible with internal and external circumstances of the organization.[11] The organization of education in Singapore defined efficiency as the attitude of a thinking style that tries to improve the situation, create the best one, and also a series of activities which transform attitude to action.[7] Efficiency is one of the main responsibilities of the managers. The improvement of efficiency accords with and is a consequence of management. In fact, creating suitable conditions for higher performance is the basis of efficiency management.

Efficiency is a broad concept and is categorized into four groups in respect to the level of its analysis: In the employee level, in the organizational level, in the department level, and in the national level. The employee efficiency analyzes, measures, and improves the human resources; any attempt at improving efficiency in the organization without the employees is meaningless.[12] The organization of education, such as other organizations, aims at fulfilling higher functions, performance, and effectiveness. Efficiency in education includes the relationship between using the resources in the educational organizations and its development into favorable outputs as well as considering the quality of all workers' lives. Therefore, effectiveness in education is the production of favorable results both for the students and the faculty members and the efficiency of the input's performance.[7]

In the organization of education, the input, output, processor, means, and purpose is the human being and the managers of this organization deal with people; therefore, their familiarity with science and human relationships and their functions in the educational success which are called human skills is important for their efficiency. Management is assumed to be extremely important in education. If educational administrators have sufficient knowledge and skill as well as cultural and social intelligence for communicating with the others (their employees, students, and parents), the educational system will enjoy a thriving effectiveness, performance and as a result an increasing efficiency.[13]

Considering the importance of management in the educational organizations in general and in the primary schools in particular and identifying variables for increasing the efficiency of the educational administrators, this research attempts at studying the managers' cultural intelligence and consequently finding the relationship between cultural intelligence and efficiency among the primary school managers. This research can be useful in discovering, identifying, and reinforcing the relationship and the role of cultural intelligence in the efficiency of the school managers.

Literature review

Some of the domestic and foreign studies conducted so far connected to the present subject are as follows: Rahimnia et al. (1388) did a research under this title: “The study of the effectiveness of cultural intelligence on the task performance of the managers in all the branches of Eghtesad Novin Bank in Tehran.” The findings from this research proved that there is a positively meaningful relationship between cultural intelligence and the managers' task performance. In investigating the relationship among the four dimensions of cultural intelligence, it has been found that there exists a meaningful relationship between the metacognitive dimension and behavioral and motivational components of cultural intelligence. In addition, the results show that the impact of cultural intelligence on the task performance arises from the dimensions of knowledge (cognition) and behavior.[14] Taslimi et al. (1388) proposed three methods for developing the metacognitive aspect of cultural intelligence: Reconsidering one's cultural knowledge and interaction with the new culture, increasing the precision and consciousness in intercultural interactions and also teaching learning methods, deductive reasoning, and the nature of thinking.[15]

Parhizgari (1389) concluded that there is a meaningful relationship between the metacognitive and motivational elements and the effectiveness of the managers. However, no meaningful correlation has been found between cognitive and behavioral elements of cultural intelligence and the effectiveness of the managers. The other findings show that there is a meaningful difference between the managers' cultural intelligences based on their work experience but the variation of the cultural intelligence based on the managers' university ranks has not been confirmed.[16]

Faraji (1389) confirmed that there is a positively meaningful relationship between the organizational culture and its indexes and the managers' efficiency.[17]

According to Rafat information center (1300), a research entitled “a study of the adaptation of the cultural intelligence level in the state and nonstate banks and its effect on their performance in Esfahan” has been conducted. The results indicate:[18]

  • There is a positively meaningful relationship between the motivational aspect of cultural intelligence of state and nonstate banks and their performance
  • There is a positively meaningful relationship between the cultural intelligence strategy of the managers in state and nonstate banks and their performance.


Lin (2006) in a research entitled “a study of the influential factors on labor efficiency” introduced effective factors on human efficiency using factor analysis: Leadership and organizational style, establishing humanitarian principles, employing experts, and the managers' skills.[19]

Crament (2006) in a study entitled “a study of the relationship between establishing humanitarian principles, efficiency, and effectiveness in the organization” included all the managers of private organizations and proved that there is a meaningful relationship between both supervision and establishing humanitarian principles and effectiveness. As a matter of fact, the correlation coefficient between efficiency and supervision (0.56) is more than that of planning and effectiveness (0.32).[20]

Van Dyne, Ang and Koh, Templer, Bing, Chandarscar and Tye (2007) attempted at measuring cultural intelligence and its effect on decision-making compatibility, cultural adaptation, and task performance. The results reveal that different aspects of cultural intelligence pertain to every one of these variables and in fact, cultural intelligence is presented as one of the predictive factors for these variables since cultural intelligence strategy and knowledge affects the individual's cultural judgment and decision making. Plus, the behavioral and motivational aspects of cultural intelligence predict the extent to which an individual can adapt himself to new cultural situations. Finally, the dimensions of strategy and behavior of cultural intelligence can affect a person's task performance.[21]

Imai has studied the effect of cultural intelligence on the effectiveness of intercultural negotiations among the American and Western Asian negotiators. In this survey, cultural intelligence is suggested as a key factor in the effectiveness of negotiations. In addition, the exploratory analysis of this research demonstrates that the motivational aspect of cultural intelligence has a more predictive power in comparison to the other elements.[22]

Employing factor analysis model, Sekro in a study entitled “the study of effective factors on the efficiency of the staff” proved that the domination of humanitarian factors was one of the influential factors in the managers' efficiency. The relationship between the successful factors and efficiency was estimated at α = 0.01.[23]

Vadadi et al. (2010) have carried out a research entitled “the relationship between cultural intelligence and the managers' success in Iranian companies.” The statistical sample of this study was 78 chief executives and middle managers from Iranian energy companies. The result confirmed a high correlation between cultural intelligence and its different factors (metacognitive, cognitive, motivational, and behavioral) and the managers' success.[24]

Research tools and method

The method of this study is descriptive and correlational. The statistical society is consisted of all the primary school managers in two regions (3 and 5) of Isfahan, which come to 176 people. The tools used for collecting data are the standard cultural intelligence questionnaire (Earley and Ang 2003) and efficiency questionnaire (Hersay and Goldsmith 1980). The cultural intelligence questionnaire is consisted of 20 questions whose answers have been scored in the 7-point Likert scale. The efficiency questionnaire answered by the staff included 26 close-ended questions which have been scored in the 5-point Likert scale. The reliability of both questionnaires was calculated at 71% for cultural intelligence and 74% for efficiency using Cronbach's alpha coefficient. Furthermore, the validity of the aforementioned questionnaires have been investigated and confirmed by the judges. At last, the data have been inferentially and descriptively analyzed using SPSS statistical software (IBM Company, Armonk, NY, U.S.A).

Findings

[Table 1] according to the data acquired, 45 respondents were men (36.9%) and 74 women (60.7%). In addition, based on [Table 1], it has been found that most respondents (59%) have a bachelor's degree, and the least number (2.5%) has a diploma.
Table 1: Education level based on the education

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According to [Table 2], it has been observed that most respondents (58.2%) have a 1–10-year work experience and the least frequency (0%) relates to the people who have 11–15 years of experience at working in the primary schools as managers.
Table 2: Education level based on the education

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The main hypothesis

There is a relationship between the primary school managers' cultural intelligence and their efficiency.

Regarding the fact that both variables of this study (cultural intelligence and efficiency) have been measured in the distance level, Pearson correlation test has been used to test the direction and intensity of their relationship. According to [Table 3], the significance level (sig) is calculated at 0.043, which is less than the acceptable level (0.05). Therefore, the main hypothesis of the research in the statistical society under study is confirmed, and the estimated correlation coefficient (0.206) reveals a positive relationship between cultural intelligence and efficiency of the primary school managers; that is, the more the cultural intelligence of the managers is, the more efficient they will become and vice versa.
Table 3: The correlation of the school managers' cultural intelligence with efficiency

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The first hypothesis

There is a relationship between the primary school managers' cultural intelligence and their efficiency.

Since the two variables are in the distance level, Pearson correlation test has been used for investigating their relationship. As it has been informed in [Table 4], the relationship between the strategic aspect of cultural intelligence and the managers' efficiency is not corroborated because the significance level acquired (0.116) is more than the acceptable 1 (0.05).
Table 4: The correlation of the strategic aspect of cultural intelligence with efficiency

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The second hypothesis

There is a connection between the knowledge aspect of the primary school managers' cultural intelligence and their efficiency.

To test the direction and intensity of cognitive cultural intelligence and the managers' efficiency, Pearson correlation test has been used. According to [Table 5], the significance level was estimated at 0.014, which was lower than 0.05. It can be concluded that there is a meaningful relationship between cognitive cultural intelligence and efficiency. Plus, the correlation between these two variables (0.226) confirms their positive relationship; that is, when the knowledge aspect of cultural intelligence grows, efficiency increases, and when it lowers, efficiency decreases.
Table 5: The correlation between cognitive cultural intelligence and efficiency

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The third hypothesis

There is a linkage between the motivational aspect of the primary school managers' cultural intelligence and their efficiency.

Regarding the fact that both the motivational aspect of cultural intelligence and efficiency are distance variables, Pearson correlation test has been used to test their direction and intensity. According to [Table 6] and the significance level calculated, the relationship between these two variables is meaningful. Furthermore, the correlation between these two variables (0.097), despite being weak, is positive and demonstrates that there is a direct relationship between the motivational aspect of school managers' cultural intelligence and their efficiency; that is, if the motivational aspect of cultural intelligence increases or decreases, the managers' efficiency rises or falls, respectively.
Table 6: The correlation between the motivational aspect of the school managers' cultural intelligence and efficiency

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The fourth hypothesis

There is a relationship between the behavioral aspect of the primary school managers' cultural intelligence and their efficiency.

Considering that both the motivational aspects of cultural intelligence and efficiency are distance variables, Pearson correlation test has been used to test their relationship. According to [Table 7] and the estimated significance level (0.023), there is a positive relationship between these two variables. The correlation between these two variables is meaningfully positive and proves that the behavioral aspect of cultural intelligence directly relates to the managers' efficiency; that is, the more the behavioral dimension of cultural intelligence is, the higher the efficiency will be and when it decreases, efficiency falls too.
Table 7: The correlation between the behavioral aspect of the managers' cultural intelligence and their efficiency

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The fifth hypothesis

The cultural intelligence of the primary school managers is above average.

To investigate this hypothesis, the one-variable t-test has been used. As it is informed in [Table 8], the significance level is 0 and the mean of the managers' cultural intelligence compared to the average level is meaningful. However, the average estimated at 2.3058 is lower than the normal average.[3] Therefore, the cultural intelligence of the primary school managers is lower than the average level, and the hypothesis cannot be confirmed.
Table 8: Mean level of cultural intelligence of managers

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  Results Top


To improve their performance, the managers must consider cultural intelligence and its aspects and develop such capabilities in themselves. In other words, if the managers' cultural intelligence is high, their performance will ameliorate. Therefore, using his great experience, a manager behaves in such a way which to a great extent accords with the existing situation. This will make the managers understand the cultural differences apart from the value judgments and acquire cultural compatibility which cannot be achieved without having or reinforcing the cultural intelligence.

Generally speaking, the results gotten from this research suggest that there is a positively meaningful correlation between the managers' cultural intelligence and its elements and efficiency. Plus, among all the elements, the behavioral one has the largest share in raising the managers' efficiency.

The results obtained from this research about the relationship between cultural intelligence and efficiency was in line with those of Abasalizadeh (1386), Moghadam et al., Tye and Templer (2006), Ang et al. (2007), Amiri et al. (2010), Vadadi et al. (2010), and Vazifeh Damirchi et al. (2011).


  Discussion Top


According to the results obtained from the present research, the relationship between the strategic aspect of cultural intelligence and managers' efficiency cannot be corroborated since the significance level obtained is more than what is acceptable. Therefore, the first hypothesis has not been confirmed.

According to the results, the second hypothesis is approved since the relationship between the cognitive cultural intelligence and efficiency is meaningful. Furthermore, the correlation between these two variables show there is a positive relationship between them. This research is in line with that of Abzari and Etebarian (1389) in which they investigated the relationship between the cultural intelligence and group effectiveness in 47 work groups in the Company of Fulad Mobarakeh in Isfahan. This research confirmed that there is a positive relationship between the cultural intelligence and the knowledge aspect of group effectiveness. In addition, these results are in harmony with those of Moshabaki and Tizro (1388), Rahimnia et al. (1388), Ang et al. (2004), Tye and Templer (2007), Amiri et al. (2010), and Vadadi et al. (2010).

In regard to the third hypothesis of the research, the relationship between the motivational aspect of cultural intelligence and efficiency is positive. Furthermore, the correlation between them, though positive, is weak and proves that there is a positive relationship between the managers' motivational aspects and efficiency. The results of this study accord with those of Rahimnia et al. who aimed at studying the effectiveness of cultural intelligence on the task performance of the managers in the Bank of Eghtesad Novin.” The findings suggest that the hypothesis of this research about the effectiveness of the motivational aspect of cultural intelligence cannot be confirmed, and the comparison of the results show that the motivational aspect of the cultural intelligence, that is, the managers' tendency to face various cultural conditions, has not been influential in their task performance. In addition, the results of this study are in keeping with those of Moghadam et al., Abasalizadeha (1386), Moshabaki and Ramuz (1385), Parhizgari (1389), Ang et al. (2004), Tye and Templer (2006), and Amiri et al. (2010).

In regard to the results and the fourth hypothesis of the research, the relationship between the behavioral dimension of cultural intelligence and the managers' efficiency is positive and direct. In addition, according to the results received from a study done by Hosseininasab and Ghaderi (1390) in which they attempted at studying the relationship between the cultural intelligence and the managers' efficiency in the schools of Azerbaijan Gharbi, the relationship between the behavioral aspect of cultural intelligence and the managers' efficiency is meaningfully positive. Furthermore, the behavioral aspect of cultural intelligence greatly contribute to explaining the managers' efficiency and this research is consistent with the results obtained from those of Soltani (1385), Moshabaki and Ramuz (1385), Moghadam et al., Earley and Ang (2004), Amiri et al. (2010) but deviates from those of Parhizgari (1389).

According to the results obtained and the third hypothesis of the research, it can be concluded that the managers' cultural intelligence is lower than the average level.


  Conclusions Top


Attending the importance of management in Education & Training organizations and among them managers of elementary schools and identifying variables to increase the efficiency of educational managers, this article tends to study the cultural intelligence among the managers in different aspects and finally measure the relation between their cultural intelligence and efficiency in the elementary schools of the city of Isfahan. According to the results, there was a meaningfully positive relationship between efficiency and its four factors (metacognitive or strategic, cognitive, motivational, and behavioral).

Further suggestions

According to the results, there was a meaningfully positive relationship between efficiency and its four factors (metacognitive or strategic, cognitive, motivational, and behavioral). Since the results of this study did not prove the effect of strategy and efficiency of the managers, some further suggestions are proposed to the managers:

  • Reconsidering their cultural intelligence and if necessary adjusting it while interacting with a new culture
  • Increasing precision and consciousness in the intercultural exchanges
  • Understanding and adapting our culture in interaction with the people from unfamiliar cultures
  • Training learning styles, deductive reasoning, and the nature of thinking.


The results show the effect of the cognitive aspect of cultural intelligence on the managers' efficiency. Therefore, to promote this further the following suggestions are proposed:

  • Knowledge about one's self and country and culture
  • Investing enough money for learning foreign languages
  • Educational need analysis by asking the mangers about the department under their management.


The results confirm the effect of the motivational aspect of cultural intelligence and the managers' efficiency. Therefore, the following suggestions are recommended:

  • Promotion of the feeling of self-efficacy
  • Training to set goals in intercultural interactions
  • Respecting the others' cultures and values, paying attention to the positive aspects of other countries and their common ground with one's own.


The results prove the effect of cultural intelligence on the managers' efficiency. Therefore, to improve this further, managers had better:

  • Apply assimilation methods such as studying specific elements and role-playing
  • Participate in the meetings with people from different cultures
  • Participate in the traditional customs of other cultures and have someone knowledgeable explain the important and outstanding traditions.


The results show the cultural intelligence of the primary school managers is lower than average. Therefore, the following suggestions are recommended:

  • Constant interaction in the supranational level and international trips
  • Activity in the multinational groups and teams
  • Lack of knowledgeable teachers in some educational areas and the need for educating teachers with updated knowledge and skills and also employing foreign teachers.


Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8]



 

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