Theoretical Economics Letters
Vol.09 No.01(2019), Article ID:90345,19 pages

Do Culturally Intelligent Management Accountants Share More Knowledge?―The Mediating Role of Coopetition as Evident from PLS SEM and fsQCA

Ashish Varma

Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, India

Copyright © 2019 by author(s) and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY 4.0).

Received: December 27, 2018; Accepted: January 29, 2019; Published: February 1, 2019


This work investigates whether management accountants (MA) who have experience of working in multicultural environments are more open to share their knowledge, learning and insights with others or not. The study was conducted in early 2018 by using a Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) technique with a sample of 107 MAs working in India in 7 different cities and in different multinational organizations. The research identified that coopetition mediated the relationship between cultural intelligence (CQ) and the intention to share knowledge (ISK) as evidenced by both PLS-SEM and fsQCA methods. This finding is significant for both theory and practice as coopetition involves both collaboration and completion amongst the MAs. The Multi Group Analysis (MGA) revealed no significant gender related differences amongst the practicing management accountants. The study also contributes to the methods by illustrating the modelling of the second order construct “cultural intelligence”, formatively. Thus, this study illustrates the use of second order reflective-formative constructs in management accounting literature, for exploring the theory. This architecture can be of significant use for future researchers.


Cultural Intelligence, Management Accountant, Coopetition, Intention to Share Knowledge, PLS-SEM, fsQCA

1. Introduction

According to Ang and Van Dyne [1] , cultural intelligence (CQ) is the “capability of an individual to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity”. Professionals such as management accountants (MA) need to develop cross-cultural skills and competencies [2] to function effectively in a multi-cultural work environment. As per extant literature, culturally intelligent people have the understanding and appreciation of their primary culture and the curiosity and willingness to learn and appreciate new cultures and norms [3] . Although coopetition, a blending of cooperation and competition, is a paradigm originally applied for inter-firm relationships, this study however uses the paradigm of coopetition at the individual level MAs.

Management accountants (MA) in their role as knowledge workers are engaged in operational and strategic decision making for their firms by drawing insights from all data including big data [4] . MAs, to be informed and effective, prefer to connect professionally by using mobile technologies [5] and may also get influenced by the relevant data from social media [6] , just like any other individual. This study considers only those MAs who have experience of working in multicultural environments and thus are expected to be culturally sensitive and aware. This is because prior works such as those by Crowne [7] suggest that work related international experience is related to CQ and engagement increases by interaction with people [8] .

Through this study, it was probed whether these MAs are open to share their knowledge and experience which they have gained after working in multiple geographies with other stakeholders especially their organizational peers. The study was conducted in early 2018 using a partial least square-structural equation modeling technique with a sample of 107 MAs working in different multinational organizations in 7 cities in India. To the best of author’s knowledge, the understanding about the manifestations of cultural intelligence on information sharing intention of MAs is yet to be explored in the emerging market context. The extant literature has evidence about the managers being influenced by CQ in thinking strategically [9] ; still fresh insights are needed about the role of CQ on the MAs’ intention to share knowledge in the ever evolving emerging market context.

The findings of the study make certain key contributions.

・ First, the research identified that coopetition mediates the relationship between cultural intelligence and the intention to share knowledge.

・ Second, the multi group analysis (MGA) revealed no significant gender related difference amongst the practicing management accountants.

・ Third, the study contributes to the methods by illustrating the modelling of the second order construct “cultural intelligence”, formatively and validating it by fsQCA also. This is a key contribution to the methods literature in the management accounting research domain.

Post the introduction, the paper starts with the conceptual development and hypothesis which is followed by the discourse on methods. The following chapters highlight the results, the detailed discussion on the findings and the conclusion of the paper.

2. Conceptual Development and Hypothesis

Prior insightful works such as by Tharapos et al. [9] have contributed substantially towards the appreciation of cultural intelligence (CQ) in specific contexts (such as accounting academics) by extending the knowledge about the antecedents of CQ, thereby encouraging the exploration of this concept in hitherto under explored contexts. Other significantly notable contexts in which the CQ theme has been studied includes military [10] , international managers [11] and students [12] .

Cultural intelligence has four themes metacognitive, cognitive, motivational and behavioral all of which are equally important [13] . The metacognitive CQ entails the reflection on one’s own thinking process with the help of cultural knowledge whereas cognitive CQ is the knowledge of cultural norms, values etc. acquired through education and experience [1] . As per Ang and Van Dyne [1] motivational CQ entails an individual’s perseverance, interest etc. to function in a culturally diverse and challenging environment and behavioral CQ includes verbal and non-verbal behavior as expressed by individuals in dealing with people from different cultures. CQ is positively associated with cultural adjustment [12] , with global leadership performance [14] and personality traits [15] . Previous works such as those by Engle and Crowne [16] have suggested that gender is insignificant in the comprehensive CQ model. However, there is a requirement to revisit this finding in the emerging market context given the unique socio-cultural background of these emerging economies.

Nonaka [17] opined that the knowledge management system aims to enhance the sharing of learnings and insights among the employees which leads to collective knowledge sharing in the organization. Nonaka [17] also highlighted the role of technology in this process. Knowledge itself has been defined by Sanchez and Heene [18] as “a set of beliefs held by an individual about the causal relationships among phenomena”. These beliefs are refined with formal experience and informal exchanges. Hansen [19] suggested that individual, person to person interaction, say in meetings, leads to knowledge sharing in firms. Felicio et al. [20] further suggested that individuals store and use information in records and databases and also share the key learning thereby creating new knowledge. Knowledge management and its impact on knowledge sharing intention have been studied in detail by He and Wei [21] . Baskerville [22] asserted the need for an individual information system and Brazelton and Gorry [23] opined the relevance of individual beliefs and motivations for the same.

A deeper understanding and appreciation of the coopetition concept is made by Bouncken and Fredrich [24] who study collaboration and completion together through “trust and dependency” lens. Other prior works have also conclusively pointed out the coopetition promises strong advantages [25] which suggest the need to study this concept at the individual level as well. This study probes the interesting research question as to whether coopetition has any role to play in the linkage between cultural intelligence (CQ) and intention to share knowledge (ISK) amongst the MAs. The entire above discussion leads to the following hypothesis:

H1a: Coopetition mediates the relationship between behavioral factor of cultural intelligence and the intention to share knowledge.

H1b: Coopetition mediates the relationship between cognitive factor of cultural intelligence and the intention to share knowledge.

H1c: Coopetition mediates the relationship between metacognitive factor of cultural intelligence and the intention to share knowledge.

H1d: Coopetition mediates the relationship between motivational factor of cultural intelligence and the intention to share knowledge.

H2: Gender of the management accountant does not impact the intention to share knowledge.

3. Methods

3.1. Data Collection, Research Setting, and Sample

The hypothesis was tested on the data generated from 107 management accountants from pan India multinational companies, so that the results could be generalized [26] . The respondents were informed beforehand that the data was being collected for academic research and that they should give honest responses. A pretested questionnaire [27] was validated by pilot study [28] and was administered to the MAs. A seven point Likert scale (where 1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree) was used to maximize the variances. The survey questionnaire was given to 350 MAs and a final usable response of 107 participants was obtained. Thus, the response rate was 30.57%. The author used the hard copy of the questionnaire and also undertook a follow up procedure involving two contacts with the MAs who had not responded. It was ensured that the sample mirrors the actual population of MAs in India.

As per Varma 2018 [4] MAs were defined as those professionals who were designated by their respective organizations as such and were primarily responsible for either one or more sub-domains such as cost and financial accounting, management audit, legal, taxation, or compliance work. Non accounting professionals were very carefully screened out from the sample. Only those MA who had served for at least one year in geography different from their place of domicile [29] and with a minimum of three years of work experience were considered for the purpose of the study. Those MAs who had served in the sister concerns of the same group were also considered for this study. The face validity of the questionnaire was established by taking the expert opinion of 3 academics and 3 industry practitioners from the general management domain. The sample description is given in Table 1. To ensure that there is no common method bias, guidelines of Podsakoff et al. [30] were followed. All the respondents were assured of complete anonymity and also explicitly told that the responses will be used for academic research only thereby ensuring honest responses.

Table 1. Sample description, n = 107.

As per Chin [27] when a regression heuristic of 10 cases per indicator are used, then the sample size needed is ten times the largest number of formative indicators or the largest number of independent variables which impact a dependent variable―whichever of the two is higher in number. Thus, the sample size was adequate for the purpose of undertaking this study. Hwang et al. [31] suggest that accounting professionals need training on specific dimensions such as information formality. As advocated by Hwang et al. [31] , this study also surveyed accounting professionals with a homogenous sampling method to help in generalization of the findings. Further, Hwang et al. [31] assert “accounting professionals are constantly engaged in knowledge inquiry and problem solving tasks; they often rely on documentation templates and previous deliverables to complete a task at hand. For example, auditors use prior year working papers as a baseline to complete the current year’s audit”. Other prominent works by noted authorities such as Chong [32] had also advised further probe of knowledge sharing in the accounting domain. This study was an attempt in this direction.

3.2. Statistical Analysis

For data analysis, a partial least-square structured equation model (PLS-SEM) is the best choice as this is an exploratory study and PLS SEM can measure the formative constructs also. PLS SEM does not have any assumptions regarding the normal distribution of data. PLS-SEM also does not suffer from identification problems due to small sample sizes. In the present context, PLS-SEM is reliable as the technique comprises a non-parametric multivariate analysis that simultaneously measures both the structural and the measurement models [33] [34] . The Smart PLS package version 3.2.7 [35] was employed for the data analysis.

3.3. Measurement Variables

All responses, including coopetition were taken on a 7 point Likert scale. This study used the CQS scale by Ang et al. [11] . The cultural intelligence CQ scale which is the most popular method of assessing cross-cultural competency [36] is reliable [11] . The scale for the construct intention to share knowledge (ISK) was taken from He and Wei [21] . The three item scale for the construct coopetition (COOP) was taken from Bouncken and Friedrich [24] .

4. Results

The results were obtained by analyzing the measurement and structural models as demonstrated by prior works such as those by Ali and Park (2016) [37] . It was adequately ensured that the constructs were well-measured for subsequent evaluation of the structural model.

4.1. Evaluation of the Measurement Model

All the constructs in the model were reflectively measured except for the construct “cultural intelligence” which was measured formatively. Cultural intelligence construct has a formative measurement as the first order constructs are defining characteristics of the second-level constructs and if one of the first order construct is removed then the conceptual domain of the second order construct “cultural intelligence” is changed [38] . This type of model which has the second order construct as a formative measurement along-with the first order construct which has a reflective measurement are referred to as type II models [39] .

Composite reliability (CR) (Table 2) estimates the internal consistency of the constructs. The CR was greater than 0.7 and Cronbach’s alpha (Nunnally 1978) [40] was also more than 0.7 (except for coopetition for which it was 0.655 and thus close to 0.7) for all the constructs. The outer loadings were higher than or close to 0.7 (except BEH 1, CO1 and CO2 which were retained due to the theoretical underpinning) and were significant at 95% level. The measure of convergent validity, average variance extracted (AVE) was greater than 0.5 and significant at the 95% level. The Heterotrait Monotrait ratio (HTMT), which is more rigorous than the Fornell and Larcker [41] criteria were used to determine the discriminant validity. Since the HTMT ratio (Table 3) was generally below 0.85 (except Cultural Intelligence and Behavior where it was marginally above this threshold), the discriminant validity was established. With the above reliable and valid constructs (Table 2), all the constructs were used for overall assessment of the structural model.

Prior to the modelling of the construct cultural intelligence formatively, it was required to do a redundancy analysis with a single global measure, the calculation of outer and inner VIF (Table 4 and Table 5) for the cultural intelligence construct (which were all less than 5) and ascertaining the significance of the outer weights of the cultural intelligence construct. Thus, the construct cultural intelligence could be measured formatively as a second order construct.

4.2. Evaluation of the Structural Model

To undertake the structural model assessment, a collinearity check was carried out [42] . This was measured with the help of the variance inflation factor (VIF) for each construct, and it was found to be less than 5, indicating that multi-collinearity was not present [43] . The outer and inner VIF values are given in Table 4 and Table 5, respectively.

Table 2. Reliability and validity.

CR = composite reliability; Ave = average variance extracted.

Table 3. Heterotrait Monotrait ratio (HTMT).

Table 4. Outer VIF values.

Table 5. Inner VIF values.

The path coefficients (all are significant at 95% level) are shown in Figure 1 and in Table 6. The PLS algorithm aims to reject a set of path-specific null hypothesis of no effect. The “R square” value 0.429 was sufficiently high (Table 7). As seen in Table 8 (path coefficients), motivation factor of cultural intelligence had the highest direct effect as an antecedent for cultural intelligence (β = 0.464****, t = 11.172).

Figure 1. The structural model (Bootstrapping results).

Table 6. Significant individual path coefficients in the structural model.

Table 7. R square.

Table 8. Path coefficients.

n.s.: not-significant; * |t| ≥ 1.65 at p = 0.10 level; ** |t| ≥ 1.96 at p = 0.05 level; *** |t| ≥ 2.58 at p = 0.01 level; **** |t| ≥ 3.29 at p = 0.001 level.

4.3. Importance-Performance Map Analysis (IPMA)

The performance of the construct “Cultural Intelligence” was the lowest at 64.906 (Table 9). This result means that there is the highest scope for improvement in this construct. The findings suggest that since cultural intelligence is also the most impactful construct (Table 10) (total effect = 0.614) and has the least performance (Figure 2), further improvement of the MAs cultural intelligence is a worthy goal to be pursued by the firms which is an important contribution of this study.

4.4. Multi Group Analysis (MGA) on the Basis of Gender

Morris et al. [44] suggested that gender differences in behavior intentions merit is yet to be probed, and thus, the MAs views on knowledge sharing was ascertained with regard to the gender. As per the multi group analysis based on the gender of the respondents, it was found that there was no difference on the basis of gender in the mediating role of coopetition in the linkage between cultural intelligence and the intention to share knowledge. As given in Table 11, all the p values in the parametric test are non-significant (with the exception of BEH -> CUL INTEL).

4.5. Blindfolding

The degree of predictive relevance of the exogenous constructs for the endogenous construct intention to share knowledge, which was measured reflectively, was estimated with the Q square value, which is calculated using the blindfolding procedure [42] . Since Q square is greater than 0, the model has predictive relevance, and a significant amount of variance is explained by our model (Table 12).

4.6. fsQCA Results

The method of fsQCA provides combination of causal themes associated with the intention to share knowledge. The result of the fsQCA reveals that all of the items of the construct coopetition are necessary conditions for the intention to share knowledge. This study also builds on prior significant works by Ragin [45] who asserted that fsQCA helps distinguish between necessary conditions and sufficient causal conditions and that fsQCA used consistency and coverage index to evaluate antecedents and their combination. Other experts such as Fiss [46] asserted that fsQCA uses a fuzzy set theory and Boolean logic for testing causal asymmetry and Ganter and Hecker [47] suggested that fsQCA deals with high level of causal complexity. For the purpose of fsQCA, this study did not average out all the items of the constructs but took them at the individual level to discover more information about the intention to share knowledge (Table 13).

Table 9. Construct performance of ISK.

Table 10. Importance-performance map [ISK] (constructs, standardized effects).

Table 11. Parametric test for multi group analysis (MGA) based on gender.

Table 12. Blindfolding.

Table 13. Analysis of necessary conditions.

Figure 2. IPMA graph.

5. Discussion

There are many advantages of coopetition. As per Miotti and Sachwald [48] , coopetition helps in saving organization’s research and development costs and achieving economies of scale. BarNir and Smith [49] asserted that coopetition helps firms take on stronger rivals and reach out to new markets. Other works concluded that coopetition is a better alternative to competing with each other [50] and that coopetition leads to risk sharing and making of secure contracts [51] by pooling the resources and benefiting from each other’s strengths. Uncertainty management and its eventual reduction is a key benefit of coopetition as well [52] . Thus given the significance of the concept of coopetition, it was relevant to study whether coopetition mediates the link between cultural intelligence and the intention to share knowledge. This is because that some people are at ease in different cultures, others find it a big challenge to deal with cultural diversity [53] . This is confirmed by the study of international work experience studied by scholars such as McCall and Hollenbeck [54] . These studies concluded that individuals who are open to new experiences are less biased [55] and are more accepting of the difference between cultures [56] .

The findings of this study suggest that motivation sub-construct in the cultural intelligence construct had the highest direct effect as an antecedent (β = 0.059****, t = 2.279), which supports hypothesis 1d. This was followed by the direct effect of the behavioral sub-construct in the cultural intelligence construct (β = 0.043****, t = 2.346), which supports hypothesis 1a. The study also found support for H1b and H1c. Thus, MAs need to be motivated and behaviorally oriented regarding cultural nuances to improve their intention to share their knowledge. The study also found support for hypothesis 2 which suggests that gender does not affect the knowledge sharing intentions.

This study makes three distinct and key contributions.

・ First, the research identified that coopetition mediates the relationship between cultural intelligence and the intention to share knowledge. Thus, intra organizational collaboration and competition as operationalized by the “coopetition” construct, needs to be closely monitored in the organizations for the design of effective management controls systems. This phenomenon is unique as coopetition involves both collaboration and completion at the same time amongst the MAs working in multinational firms. The reason to engage in coopetition could be competitive environmental factors or the nature of the work and however such reasons were not probed into. Further, this juxtaposition is analogous in finding common workable ground as evidenced by the ability of risk-taking managers meandering through rigid organizational controls to innovate [57] and the emerging market entrepreneurs using technology solutions for different operational needs such as mobile banking [58] . Thus, culturally intelligent MAs collaborate and compete at the same time, sharing knowledge for creating value for their firm (since the R square of both coopetition and the intention to share knowledge construct was high).

・ Second, the multi group analysis (MGA) revealed no significant gender related difference amongst the practicing management accountants. IPMA results suggest that gender is irrelevant in the intention to share knowledge. The findings of this study are consistent with the prior studies by Engle and Crowne [16] that gender does not play in role in CQ add to the work of Dragoni et al. [59] on managers overseas professional work experience.

・ Third, the study contributes to the methods by illustrating the modelling of the construct “cultural intelligence”, formatively and validating it by fsQCA. A key contribution of this paper is the modelling of cultural intelligence as a second order formative construct and thus this paper demonstrates the use of formative constructs in behavioral management accounting research. This is a key contribution to the methods literature.

The study has certain limitations as well, including the reliance on self-reported information by MAs. As per Ajzen [60] self-reports are quite accurate when the data collected is not of a highly sensitive nature. In this exploratory study, sensitive information was not gathered, which substantially increases the acceptability of the results. The second limitation is the sample size of 107. It should be noted here that collecting information from practicing MAs is highly time and resource consuming due to their busy schedule and their requirements for organizational clearance. However, future research may build on these findings and explore further insights in the emerging market context.

6. Conclusion

The study concluded that that coopetition did mediate the relationship between the cultural intelligence and the intention to share knowledge. It was also observed that MAs could be motivated and behaviorally oriented to enhance their intention to share knowledge.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.

Cite this paper

Varma, A. (2019) Do Culturally Intelligent Management Accountants Share More Knowledge?―The Mediating Role of Coopetition as Evident from PLS SEM and fsQCA. Theoretical Economics Letters, 9, 100-118.


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