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Describe about the Cultural Intelligence and Capability for A Study Report.


This report introduces the matter of cultural safety and the safe spaces that take place between people of cultural differences. People of different culture may have different language usage, which can create a barrier in their communication. Therefore, to avoid such obstructions they should adopt a safe space to maintain a peaceful relation.

The report primarily focuses on the misunderstandings due to language differences between two persons. Such problems have been shown in the video of Fawlty Towers – Basil Gives Manuel A Language Lesson of BBC Television Program where the manager Basil being an English-speaking person tries to correct the pronunciation of his waiter Manuel who speaks Spanish. As Basil is unable to do this and is fed up with Manuel, the example depicts an unsafe space between them.

The aim of the report is to describe the situation, which is problematic due to language differences between two people. It also analyses why the situation is so unsafe between persons having cultural barriers in between them. The report also provides recommendations to improve the situation so that the issues due to communication barriers become fixed resulting to safety of space.

The name of the TV program is Fawlty Towers – Basil Gives Manuel A Language Lesson. It was been published on June 5, 2009.  The TV program was based on a social setting where the manager Basil asks his waiter Manuel to make the necessary changes in the arrangement of meal (Ang and Van Dyne 2015). The two key characters who have played a pivotal role here are Manager Basil and his waiter Manuel. Basil while sitting in his workplace notices that Manuel carries too much butter in the trays for the guests. He utters to Manuel in English saying that, “There is too much butter on those trays.” Manuel, being a Spanish-speaker feels uncomfortable on hearing the phrase “on those trays” and rephrases it as “ono dos treys”. Manuel becomes not able to understand the further commands of his boss Basil when he tries to speak in Spanish (Li, Mobley and Kelly 2013). Being disappointed with such misunderstandings Basil says him to get away. His assistant suggests him to train a monkey to overcome such issues.

Safe Spaces – The safe space is the place where a person can have a relaxation and have the ability for full expression without the fear for being uncomfortable or unsafe on the biological sex account, ethnicity, orientation regarding sex, expression of gender, background of the culture, affiliation of the religion, age or the ability of mental strength (Van Dyne et al. 2012). Such place actually imposes the rules for guarding the self-respect of every person and makes a strong encouragement for everyone for respecting the other people.


Cultural Intelligence – It has the understanding as the capability for relating and effective working among different cultures. It is the capability of a person regarding adaptation to the cultural differences as the person makes interaction with people of other regions having different culture. It is the natural ability of an outsider for interpreting an ambiguous and unfamiliar gesture of others (Eisenberg et al. 2013). It is the ability for crossing the divides and thriving them in the cultures, which are multiple in numbers.

Cultural capabilities – It actually makes a referring to the knowledge, skills, behaviors and the systems, which is needed for planning, supporting, improving and delivering the services in the manner, which is appropriate and respected by the culture.

Cultural self-awareness – It is the communicating foundation and it makes an involvement of the ability to be aware of the values of the culture, perceptions and beliefs. It says about the procedure in doing things in a particular way (Erez et al. 2013). It also says about the procedure for seeing the world.

The awareness regarding culture becomes a matter of discussion when interactions are done with people coming from separate cultures. It has been seen that the people make the interpretation in ways, which are quite different from each other. A consideration of a behavior to be appropriate in one culture can be inappropriate in the other culture (Chen, Liu and Portnoy 2012). Therefore, a person belonging to one culture should possess a strong cultural intelligence so that he becomes able to adapt with those people of other cultures. Such high cultural intelligence will lead to higher cultural capabilities to the person for making better adjustment. It will enhance the cultural self-awareness of the person by being aware of the characteristics of the other culture (Magnusson et al. 2013). Therefore, an integration of cultural intelligence, self-awareness and capabilities will result to create a safe space for the people of different cultures. The space will make each person to express their idea without fear and respect each other’s culture.

It has been seen in the video that Basil when noticing too much butter on the trays carried by Manuel utters the words, “There is too much butter on those trays”. Manuel rectifies his phrase by saying “ono dos trey” as he is a Spanish-speaker. When Basil starts to talk in Spanish it becomes not understandable by Manuel as the language used was not proper (Ng et al. 2012). Basil lose his temper as he becomes fed up due to the inability of his servant’s understandings. Such scenario depicts that people of two cultures, such as English and Spanish, if talks to each other can face a lot of difficulties regarding understanding (Crowne 2013). Such disappointment of Basil proves that he and his servant is in a culturally unsafe space as they are not able to communicate their message to each other.

Media clip summary

The size and layout of the space is not very big as it is the small workplace of Basil where Manuel carries the trays full of breakfast meal for the guests (Yitmen 2013). Basil is in the position of Front Office Desk Manager and Manuel is the waiter who serves food.

Scene Number / Time Frame

Physical Factors:

Size and layout of space, Proximity and position other

Communication Factors

Body language, Voice Words

Signs of Inclusion or Exclusion

Display or lack of cultural intelligence

Scene Number 1

Moderate size and space, proximity is less between Basil and Manuel

Basil: “on those trays”. (English)

Manuel: “ono dos treys”. (Spanish)

Manuel shows sign of exclusion to Basil regarding the phrase as a result he makes the rephrasing.

Lack of cultural intelligence from Manuel

Scene Number 2

Moderate size and space, proximity is less between Basil and Manuel

Basil tries to talk in Spanish, which Manuel is not able to understand.

Basil follows principle of inclusion as he tries to speak in Spanish to be culturally capable with Manuel.

Basil shows cultural intelligence by speaking in Spanish as Manuel is a Spanish Speaker.

Scene Number 3

Space becomes larger between Basil and Manuel

Basil says that he’s disappointed with Manuel as he is not able to understand Spanish.

Basil follows principle of exclusion as he thinks for taking alternative one instead of Manuel.

Basil lacks cultural intelligence as he has not patience to be culturally adaptive with Manuel.

In the first scene of the program, Basil being an English-speaking manager tells the waiter Manuel that he is carrying too much butter on the trays for the guests (Bhui, Ascoli and Nuamh 2012). Manuel is of Spanish culture and he lacks cultural intelligence. He rephrases the words of Basil in Spanish terms. This hurts the sentiment of Basil and it makes him culturally aware of the differences. He begins to speak in Spanish with Manuel, which was improper and not understandable to Manuel. Manuel makes other meanings of the statements of Basil, which makes Basil angrier. Being incapable for adaptability towards cultural differences, Basil scolds Manuel to go away (Pandey and Dutta 2013). His assistant when asks him about the reason of his anger, he says that he tried to be culturally adaptive towards Manuel. However, things went wrong, as Manuel was not able to understand his statements even he tried to make him understand for repeated times. Due to the lack of cultural intelligence, Manuel was not culturally capable to adopt with the English words of Basil. Therefore, a total disequilibrium took a formation in the whole scenario making the total space to be unsafe regarding cultural respect.

Basil’s assistant when asked him for the explanation of the problem, received a lot of disappointment from his reply. She understood that Basil was not at all patient to make a gentle communication with Manuel as he has been already been hurt (Nielson and Momeni 2016). He is not at all interested to make any further adjustments or compromise with Manuel. Noticing such incapability regarding cultural difference, his assistant asked him to train a monkey who will be able to understand his statements and will obey his orders accordingly. She knew very well that if a monkey is been given a responsibility of waiter in the place of Manuel, then there will be no such problem that occurred due to cultural barriers between Basil and Manuel.

Being an unsafe place, it has been realized that Basil and Manuel cannot stay with each other even in the professional terms as they don’t have the patience to show respect to each other’s culture (Jones 2013). They have problems to understand each other’s language, which they cannot minimize as they have their own egos, which will not allow them to bow down to each other for compromise.

Literature review

From the above discussions, it can be recommended that,

Patience should be maintained in respecting each other’s culture – If Basil and Manuel should show patience in maintaining respect to each other’s culture then the whole situation will get cooled down resulting to a healthy relation between the two (Pandey and Dutta 2013). They can maintain their professional terms through such compromise.

Trying to maintain the language in which the conversation started – As Manuel has a little understanding of English language, he should maintain the conversation in English with Basil once it started (Bhui, Ascoli and Nuamh 2012). He should not rephrase Basil’s words in Spanish as it can hurt his sentiments resulting to make the situation messy.

Trying to make a good gesture to make interest in the other’s mind – Basil and Manuel, both should make a body language and gesture in such way, which will increase a sense of interest for each other in the mind of both people. Their behavior should be calm and cool to each other.


The TV program actually covered the scenario showing how a cultural incompatibility can create a situation of unsafe space between two people. It actually started from the waiter Manuel’s rectification of the phrase of Basil in Spanish language, which hurt Basil’s sentiments. He tried to be culturally capable through usage of Spanish words that was not understandable by Manuel. As a result, Basil lost his patience and asked him to go away. The situation took place due to the lack of cultural intelligence of Manuel as he rephrased Basil’s words, which was not to be done. Further, Basil lost his temper, which showed his incapability in cultural adaptation. Both of the persons have the ego regarding their own culture, which created the space to be unsafe. Therefore, to improve the situation they have to forget their cultural barriers and should show respect to each other’s culture with patience for a healthy professional relationship.


Ang, S. and Van Dyne, L., 2015. Handbook of cultural intelligence. Routledge.

Bhui, K., Ascoli, M. and Nuamh, O., 2012. The place of race and racism in cultural competence: What can we learn from the English experience about the narratives of evidence and argument?. Transcultural psychiatry, 49(2), pp.185-205.

Chen, X.P., Liu, D. and Portnoy, R., 2012. A multilevel investigation of motivational cultural intelligence, organizational diversity climate, and cultural sales: evidence from US real estate firms. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(1), p.93.

Crowne, K.A., 2013. Cultural exposure, emotional intelligence, and cultural intelligence An exploratory study. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 13(1), pp.5-22.

Eisenberg, J., Lee, H.J., Brück, F., Brenner, B., Claes, M.T., Mironski, J. and Bell, R., 2013. Can business schools make students culturally competent? Effects of cross-cultural management courses on cultural intelligence. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(4), pp.603-621.

Erez, M., Lisak, A., Harush, R., Glikson, E., Nouri, R. and Shokef, E., 2013. Going global: Developing management students' cultural intelligence and global identity in culturally diverse virtual teams. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(3), pp.330-355.

Jones, E., 2013. Internationalization and employability: the role of intercultural experiences in the development of transferable skills. Public Money & Management, 33(2), pp.95-104.

Li, M., Mobley, W.H. and Kelly, A., 2013. When do global leaders learn best to develop cultural intelligence? An investigation of the moderating role of experiential learning style. Academy of Management Learning & Education,12(1), pp.32-50.

Magnusson, P., Westjohn, S.A., Semenov, A.V., Randrianasolo, A.A. and Zdravkovic, S., 2013. The role of cultural intelligence in marketing adaptation and export performance. Journal of Marketing Research, 21(4), pp.44-61.

Ng, K.Y., Van Dyne, L., Ang, S. and Ryan, A.M., 2012. Cultural intelligence: A review, reflections, and recommendations for future research. Conducting multinational research projects in organizational psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Nielsen, S.B. and Momeni, M., 2016. Structural Capability of an Organization toward Innovation Capability. Journal of Management Research, 8(2), pp.86-102.

Pandey, S.C. and Dutta, A., 2013. Role of knowledge infrastructure capabilities in knowledge management. Journal of knowledge management,17(3), pp.435-453.

Van Dyne, L., Ang, S., Ng, K.Y., Rockstuhl, T., Tan, M.L. and Koh, C., 2012. Subâ€Âdimensions of the four factor model of cultural intelligence: Expanding the conceptualization and measurement of cultural intelligence. Social and personality psychology compass, 6(4), pp.295-313.

Yitmen, I., 2013. Organizational cultural intelligence: a competitive capability for strategic alliances in the international construction industry. Project Management Journal, 44(4), pp.5-25.

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