We are more and more aware of how culturally diverse the world is, but we are not always able to deal with these differences.
We are more and more aware of how culturally diverse the world is, but we are not always able to deal with these differences. This is caused, inter alia, by inadequate education, personal prejudices, or attitudes. Nowadays, practically each of us meets people from different cultures in our lives – both private and professional. In order to support an active role in minimizing cultural differences, removing barriers, increasing awareness, and improving work efficiency, four institutions from four different countries decided to implement the project “Interculturality: Intercultural Competence Development for International Business Environment” (Erasmus +).
What are intercultural competences anyway? It is easiest to define them as a set of skills used in the area of intercultural management, intercultural communication, intercultural education, and related fields (Korczyński, 2017). It is a set of knowledge, attitudes, motivation, and skills enabling effective functioning in multicultural work environments (Chen & Starosta, 1996). Intercultural competences are part of the broadly understood communicative competence, necessary for functioning in the society (Drąg, 2017).
One of the results of the Interculturality project will be a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course, specially designed for adult educators, teachers, and mentors working in intercultural contexts, to help them deal effectively with the challenges and opportunities in multicultural environments and develop intercultural skills among their courses’ participants. So far, modules in English have been prepared, and the partners translate them into Polish, Italian and Spanish to increase the scope and impact of the project on a European scale. Everything will be available in the first quarter of 2022.
The modules cover the most important issues necessary to develop intercultural competences:
- Module 1 – Overview of Key Cultural Drivers and Their Impacts on Global Leadership – aims to improve learners’ basic understanding and skills about key cultural drivers and their impact on global leadership and cross – cultural communication in business environments. The Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University (Turkey) was responsible for its development.
- Module 2 – Cross-cultural management – describes perceptions, stereotypes and expectations in different cultures. It also covers the topics of managing change, cross-cultural communication, communication barriers, ambiguity, and conflict across cultures, and ends with practical tools and strategies for leading more effectively across cultures. The module was prepared by the Łukasiewicz Research Network – Institute of Sustainable Technologies (Poland).
- Module 3 – Global Leadership – provides an overview of global leadership, focusing on global leadership dimensions and styles, intercultural competence, and communication. The University of Deusto (Spain) was responsible for the development of the module.
- Module 4 – E-leadership and multicultural teams – prepared by Training 2000 (Italy). It covers Effective Global Leadership presenting a description about the matrix management across borders, describing the concepts for effective (virtual) global leadership, the characteristics of a virtual leader in terms of their role, responsibilities and challenges, equality among employees and the related challenges and solutions. Cultural problems arising in the business environment can be overcome by developing intercultural competences, which are now necessary to manage a multicultural team. This includes not only building awareness of differences among employees, but also helps to create a friendly workplace that takes into account the needs of people from different cultural backgrounds. Apart from the professional sphere, these competences will enable satisfactory participation in social life and broadening the knowledge, world view and values related to equality and tolerance. The course developed by the Interculturality project team will certainly contribute to this.
- Chen, G.M., Starosta, W.J. (1996). Intercultural Communication Competence: A Synthesis, Annals of the International Communication Association, 19:1, pp. 353-383.
- Drąg, K. (2017). Warunki skutecznego przyswajania kompetencji międzykulturowych w procesie szkoleniowym. Cross Cultural Management, no. 18 (3/2017), pp. 89-98.
- Korczyński, M. (2017). Kompetencje międzykulturowe polskich emigrantów zarobkowych w Anglii, in: Lubelski Rocznik Pedagogiczny, vol. XXXVI, no. 3/2017, pp. 152–154.