Meta-knowledge of culture promotes cultural competence

Angela K y Leung, Sau lai Lee, Chi Yue Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


A behavioral signature of cross-cultural competence is discriminative use of culturally appropriate behavioral strategies in different cultural contexts. Given the central role communication plays in cross-cultural adjustment and adaptation, the present investigation examines how meta-knowledge of culture-defined as knowledge of what members of a certain culture know-affects culturally competent cross-cultural communication. We reported two studies that examined display of discriminative, culturally sensitive use of cross-cultural communication strategies by bicultural Hong Kong Chinese (Study 1), Chinese students in the United States and European Americans (Study 2). Results showed that individuals formulating a communicative message for a member of a certain culture would discriminatively apply meta-knowledge of the culture. These results suggest that unsuccessful cross-cultural communications may arise not only from the lack of motivation to take the perspective of individuals in a foreign culture, but also from inaccurate meta-knowledge of the foreign culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)992-1006
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


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