Original Research

A preliminary study to assess the construct validity of a cultural intelligence measure on a South African sample

Bright Mahembe, Amos S. Engelbrecht
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 12, No 1 | a558 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v12i1.558 | © 2014 Bright Mahembe, Amos S. Engelbrecht | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 June 2013 | Published: 04 September 2014

About the author(s)

Bright Mahembe, Department of Industrial Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa; School of Economic and Business Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Amos S. Engelbrecht, Department of Industrial Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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Orientation: Cultural intelligence is an essential social competence for effective individual interaction in a cross-cultural context. The cultural intelligence scale (CQS) is used extensively for assessing cultural intelligence; nevertheless, its reliability and validity on a South African sample are yet to be ascertained.

Research purpose: The purpose of the current study was to assess the construct validity of the CQS on a South African sample. The results of the psychometric assessment offer some important insights into the factor structure of the cultural intelligence construct.

Motivation for the study: The current study sought to provide some practical validity confirmation of the CQS for the effective management of cultural diversity in the South African context.

Research approach, design and method: The CQS was administered on a non-probability sample of 229 young adults in South Africa. Item analysis was performed to ascertain reliability. Exploratory factor analysis was used to test the unidimensionality of CQS subscales. The first-order and second-order factor structures underlying contemporary models of cultural intelligence were tested using confirmatory factor analysis.

Main findings: Results indicated that the CQS is a reliable and valid measure of cultural intelligence as evidenced by the high internal consistency coefficients in all the subscales. Good construct validity for both the first-order and second-order models was obtained via confirmatory factor analysis.

Practical/managerial implications: The study finds good measurement properties of the CQS in a South African context. The CQS can be confidently used for applications such as selecting, training and developing a more culturally competent workforce.

Contribution: The study extends the body of knowledge on the reliability and construct validity of the CQS in the South African milieu. It further indicates that cultural intelligence can be represented by a general cultural intelligence factor that drives more specific dimensions of cultural intelligence.


cultural intelligence; cross-cultural; psychometric properties; validity; reliability


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