Helping organizations, educational institutions, and healt care providers to be more effective when interacting with people from other cultures.

One of the practical reason for developing intercultural competence -understood as the ability to communicate effectively in cross-cultural situations and to relate appropriately in a variety of cultural context [1]- is linked to the business sector.

The IC-21 main assumption is that today every business situation is a multicultural situation. For instance, nowadays most of work in organizations is done by teams. A team is just a group of people -coming from a range of cultural background- working together to achieve common goals [2]. It is important to note that culture does not mean nation or country. Hence, even if you do not venture beyond your national borders, cultural diversity is actually a crucial part of your everyday life [3].

Moreover, research in business reveals that employers are seeking graduates who can not only offer technical-specific knowledge and skills, but who can work collaboratively and effectively with people from different cultures, and manage complex intercultural relationships [4-6]. Yet, literature on business converges to indicate that employers have difficulties finding graduates with such capabilities.

From the intercultural insight, intercultural competence is not something that can be acquired by the only fact of putting a group of people together (contact hypothesis). For instance, Chocce [15] reported that business students studying in an international college in Thailand not only prefer to gravitate to peers with similar cultural background, but has no meaningful relationship with culturally different others; on this respect, see also IC for international students.

Intercultrual competence is neither a natural process that is acquired as people get older. Being technically competent (even among international employees) neither does ensure effective and adaptive intercultural communication indispensable to anyone interested in interacting appropriately and effectively in a host culture [7, 8].

As a matter of fact, a recent study reported that about 69% of all outsourcing deals fails completely or partially, and the lack of people skills and cultural differences is reported to be one of the major contributors for the failure [9]. Currently, business researchers have pointed out that the global business, outsourcing, and services are facing up challenges and experiencing problems largely due to cultural differences [9-11]. More yet, it has been posited that cultural differences will continue to be one of the main challenges in the business sector [5].

Therefore, there is compelling need for learning to work productively, and synchronize with people from different cultures [9, 10]. High executives and business researchers pointed out that if culturally diverse team is not managed well, diverse teams have a tendency towards:

  • 1) less effective communication,
  • 2) increased conflict,
  • 3) lower assignment on task and,
  • 4) invisible relationships [2]
  • One of the main thesis of the interculturalists is that every culture is embedded in ethnocentrism, by extension, every person to a varied degree is ethnocentric. Another main thesis in the business arena is that respect and trust is condition sine qua non of outstanding team performance [2]. It is precisely in this intersection between ethnocentrism and valuing the others worldview as valid and legitimate as yours where our institution, IC-21, can help you to build an environment of non-judgement attitude, openmindedness, trust and respect in your organization.

    Intercultural training program goals

    The IC-21 intercultural trainings are built on the constructivism and developmental approach of intercultural communication, therefore, it has three major goals:

  • 1) To identify both our trainees' own assumptions and the host culture's assumption on: identity, communication style, attitude toward times, uncertainty and risk, concept of right, fairness, status and hierarchy, view of human nature and basis for decision making. Consequently, to know how their own culture's assumptions, stereotypes, conceits and ethnocentrism influence their interactions with people from other cultures. Our intercultural trainings do challenge our trainees to be part of their own culture, but at the same time, to be out of it.
  • 2) To expand their worldview and behavioral repertoire. To guide them to experience the world from the others' perspective in order to interact effectively with members of the host culture. That is, if our Thai, Japanese or German trainees are interacting with Americans, we guide them to experience the world in a more American way, if with Chinese, to feel the world in a more Chinese way, and so forth.
  • 3) To help our trainees to manage their emotional reactions when interacting with people from other cultures (intercultural sensitivity). To be able not only to develop positive feelings towards understanding and appreciating cultural differences, but to be comfortable to shift context and behavioral script whenever a situation requires it.
  • Since, intercultural interaction is emotionally intense and profoundly challenging [12], Human resources managers and employees or your organization, international human resources groups, global product development teams, customer service groups, and international marketing and sales teams can all benefit from mastering intercultural competence [13, 14].

    Intercultural training assessment and follow-up

    The IC-21 provides a pre- and post- training self-assessment and report.

    The self-assessment is carried out using psychometrically valid and reliable empirical instruments that has little or no social desirability and cultural bias. Those instruments are internationally recognized and adept at measuring the development of intercultural competence.

    The IC-21 also provides two reports: individual report and group report. Each report is built on the self-assessment data and interview pointing out both their current stage on the developmental process of intercultural competence, and their individual weakness and strength regarding understanding cultural differences.

    Finally, the reports conclude making individual and group recommendations to develop individuals worldview repertoires and strengthen the development of intercultural competence.

    Do not hesitate to contact us if you need more detailed information.


    [1] Bennett, J., & Bennett, M. (2004). Developing intercultural sensitivity: an integrative approach to global and domestic diversity. In Landis, D., Bennett, J. M., & Bennet, M. J. (Eds.), Handbook of intercultural training (3th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    [2] Maznewski, M. L. (2008). Leading global teams. In Mark Mendehalll, J. O., Alland Bird, Garry R. Oddou, and Martha L. Maznevski (Ed.), Global Leadership: researh, practice and development. New York: Routledge.

    [3] Ting-Toomey, S., & Chung, L. (2012). Understanding intercultural communication (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

    [4] Diamond, Abigail, Liz Walkley, Peter Forbes, Tristram Hughes, and Jonathan Sheen (2011). Global graduates. Global graduates into global leaders. Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), the Council for Industry and Higher Education (now NCUB) and CFE Research and Consulting. Accessed March 25, 2015. http://www.ncub.co.uk/ reports/global-graduates-into-global-leaders.html

    [5] CBI (2012). Learning to Grow. What Employers Need From Education and Skills. London: CBI. Accessed March, 2016. http://www.cbi.org.uk/media/1514978/cbi_education_and_skills_survey_2012.pdf

    [6] The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2012). Competing across borders. How cultural and communication barriers affect business. Accessed March 25, 2015. http://www.economistinsights.com/countries-trade-investment/analysis/ competing-across-borders

    [7] Storti, C. (2009). Intercultural competence in the training arena. In Deardorff, D. (Ed.), The Sage handbook of intercultural competence. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    [8] Moran, R., Youngdahl, W., & Moran, S. (2009). Intercultural competence in business: Leading global projects. In Deardorff, D. (Ed.) The Sage handbook of intercultural competence. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    [9] Kvedaraviciene, G., & Boguslauskas, V. (2010). Underestimated Importance of Cultural Differences in Outsourcing Arrangements. Inzinerine Ekonomika-Engineering Economics, 21(2), 187-196.

    [10] Ertel, D. (2009). Vantage's Offshoring Relationship Management Study. http://vantagepartners.com Retrieved from http://vantagepartners.com

    [11] Gundling, E. (2003). Working GlobeSmart: 12 People Skills for Doing Business Across Borders. Palo Alto, California: Davies-Black Publishing.

    [12] Paige, R. M. (1993). On the nature of intercultural experiences and intercultural education. In Paige, M. (Ed.). Education for the intercultural experience. Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press, INC.

    [13] Bennett, J. M. (2009). Cultivating intercultural competence: A process perspective. In Deardorff, D. (Ed.), The Sage handbook of intercultural competence . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    [14] Gupta, S. R. (2009). Beyond borders: Leading in today's multicultural world. In Moodian, M. A. (Ed.). Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence: Exploring the cross-cultural dynamics within organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    [15] Chocce J. (2015) Intercultural Sensitivity of Buddhist Students Majoring in Business Administration. Paper presented at The 21st International Conference of IAICS cum The 11th Biennial International Conference of CAFIC. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.