Developing intercultural intelligence: Dubai Style

Aleya James, Nicole M. Shammas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Scopus citations


    Purpose - This paper aims to explore the link between the theoretical foundations of intercultural intelligence and a practical application examining a course dedicated to developing Emirati students' intercultural intelligence. Design/methodology/approach - The paper outlines the socio-cultural conditions of the United Arab Emirates as a backdrop to the investigation; establishing the pressing need for intercultural intelligence. The paper provides a theoretical framework to situate the course based on King and Baxter Magolda's trajectory of intercultural maturity (2005) and Davies' theory of "interruptive pedagogy" (2006). Guiding principles for the teaching of intercultural intelligence are given. Findings - Informal feedback through post-course interviews demonstrates a positive self-perceived change in intercultural understanding having taken the course. Research limitations/implications - The paper concedes that due to socio-cultural constraints the authors are unable to deliver a course with as much practical experience as the authors would like. As a result, students gain more cultural self-awareness and theoretical understandings of intercultural intelligence than practical engagement. Originality/value - This paper provides a meaningful contribution to the limited body of knowledge on intercultural intelligence training at a tertiary level in the Arabian Gulf and breaks new ground in three ways: first by demonstrating the link between the UAE socio-cultural and political factors on intercultural intelligence training; second by providing a link between intercultural intelligence theory and practice and third by providing practical suggestions as guiding principles and creative ideas for classroom use. The paper will be of value to teachers and trainers teaching in multi-cultural, international contexts and to those providing organizational training in a variety of business contexts.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)148-164
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of International Education in Business
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 1 Dec 2013


    • Cross-cultural communication
    • Cultural intelligence
    • Intercultural intelligence
    • Measuring cultural intelligence
    • Teaching cultural intelligence
    • United Arab Emirates


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