Cultural intelligence and mindfulness: Teaching MBAs in Iran

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Cray, David
McKay, Ruth
Mittleman, Robert
Cultural intelligence
Purpose: A dynamic global economy has increased the need for cross-cultural flexibility and cultural intelligence. While a large literature has examined various means to increase cultural intelligence (CQ) in student and expatriate populations, its importance for teachers in cross-cultural settings has been largely unexamined. In this paper, we utilize the experiences of a group of professors in an MBA program in Iran to investigate the effect of their activity on their cross-cultural skills. Design/methodology/approach: Using structured interviews and content analysis, we draw on the experiences of business faculty from a Canadian business school who helped deliver an MBA program in Iran to investigate how their experiences in a country new to them were reflected in the components of cultural intelligence. Findings: Using an established model of cultural intelligence, we find contributions to all three facets, knowledge, mindfulness and behaviour indicating that such exchanges can be regarded as important for students and teachers alike in an international educational context. Originality/value: With more and more teaching extending across cultural boundaries in both domestic and international settings the capacity of instructors to read, interpret and react to the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of their students is an important factor in the success of these programs. To this point, at least within the business education literature, the influence of such encounters on the instructors involved has been neglected.
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