Original Research

Assessing cultural intelligence, personality and identity amongst young white Afrikaans-speaking students: A preliminary study

Natasha Nel, J. Alewyn Nel, Byron G. Adams, Leon T. de Beer
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 13, No 1 | a643 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v13i1.643 | © 2015 Natasha Nel, J. Alewyn Nel, Byron G. Adams, Leon T. de Beer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 April 2014 | Published: 30 April 2015

About the author(s)

Natasha Nel, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
J. Alewyn Nel, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
Byron G. Adams, Department of Culture Studies, Tilburg University, the Netherlands; Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, Kingsway Campus, South Africa
Leon T. de Beer, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa

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Orientation: Cultural intelligence (CQ) is a relatively new construct to academia that has recently gained increasing attention. Its relevance in a multicultural context like South Africa is apparent since cultural interaction between different ethnic groups is unavoidable.

Research purpose: The objective of this research is to determine the relationship between personality, identity and CQ amongst young Afrikaans-speaking South Africans.

Research approach, design and method: A quantitative research design was used in this study. This study was cross-sectional in nature. For the purpose of this study, a sample of young South African university students (N = 252) was used. The personal identity subscale from the Erickson Psychosocial Stage Inventory, the Multi-Ethnic Identity Measure, the Religious Identity Short Scale, the South African Personality Inventory questionnaire and the Four Factor Model of Cultural Intelligence Scale were applied as the measuring instruments.

Main findings: Religious identity and ethnic identity have a relationship with cognitive CQ. Soft-heartedness and conscientiousness have a relationship with behavioural CQ. Also, soft-heartedness, facilitating, extroversion and religious identity have a relationship with motivational CQ.

Practical/managerial implications: Organisations within South Africa will gain a better understanding of CQ and the benefits of having a culturally intelligent workforce as a strengths-based approach. Culturally intelligent employees will be able to adjust to working with co-workers from another culture, not feel threatened when interacting with co-workers and clients and be able to transfer knowledge from one culture to another, which will aid the organisation in completing overseas assignments, cross-cultural decision-making, leadership in multicultural environments and managing international careers.

Contribution/value-add: CQ is a relatively new concept and empirical research on positive subjects is still very limited. Research on personality, identity and CQ within the South African context is still very limited. Therefore, this study will contribute to literature on positive psychology and cultural intelligence.


Identity; Personality; South African Personality Inventory; Cultural Intelligence; young South Africans


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