In our interconnected world today, Immigration and demographic changes have made the world more diverse. The modern world has realized the importance of Intercultural collaboration and considered Diversity as a necessity for humankind as biodiversity is for nature. And so, developing & demonstrating Intercultural competence is considered a crucial skill and new normal of the Modern era.It acts as an essential endorphin of a democratic world today
What is Cultural competence?
Generally, It is the sum of a way of life, including expected behavior, beliefs, values, language, and living practices shared by members of society which includes showing respect for every Individual or employee, regardless of age, gender or religion. In the International context,Intercultural competence is a range of skills but two important components of this skill are (Inclusiveness and tolerance).
Why is Intercultural competence important?
As we all know Globalization encompasses more than just increased competition between countries, regions, and certainly companies and it allows us to live in a world in which cultural and regional borders are dissolving more and more. Previously, the workforce remained relatively homogeneous but now the workplace and the interactions between companies are marked by cultural diversity. So this powerful skill has strong potential to strengthen social cohesion, promote greater solidarity in the international community and It has certainly the power to turn differences into shared success. Those who are able to develop & demonstrate cultural sensitivity & tolerance by practicing these crucial skills, will minimize potential difficulties during a foreign assignment or in connection with cooperation in international teams.
What all skills are considered as a constituent of Intercultural Competence?
Intercultural Competence includes Skills (Listening, Observing, Analysing, Observing), appropriate communication (Behaviour, Dialogue, Literacy, Language), Attitudes (Openness, Curiosity, Discovery, Respect), and behaviors in accordance with the expectations of a specific culture (Identity, Beliefs, Self-Awareness, Values), the characteristics of the situation, and the level of the relationship between the parties involved in the situation.
What are the ways to develop Intercultural competence?
Our current life situation is shaped by our awareness and ignorance. To develop effective intercultural competence, the first step is self-awareness. It is important to realize how you have been programmed by the culture that defines you. Once we know about it, we figure out the way to deal with it, which greatly impact us and allow us to see things more objectively, And so we start promoting Cultural pluralism, mutual cooperation, and mutual respect among people of different countries.
However, Education and Experiences have great power to develop intercultural competence. They help us to make us more mindful and aware of the importance of communication, flexibility, tolerance for ambiguity, and cross-cultural empathy.
Are there any examples of Intercultural competence?
India is certainly a brilliant example of demonstrating cultural competence. This is because of its 5000 years old civilization and has people of diverse religions, cultures, castes, etc living together peacefully for many centuries.
Europe’s tremendous diversity & cross-cultural interaction is a great example. Many Countries of Europe like Germany acts, programs and projects deal in many ways, with improving mutual understanding.
Canada certainly is an excellent example of Unity in Diversity and people demonstrating their cross-cultural competence. There is very low racism in Canada and people are warm and friendly.
Cultures can be very different, not only between nations and continents but also within the same country, city, company, and Familie. And so it is required to learn to have more empathy and approach to communicate & deal with people effectively.
However, It is necessary to highlight that the ability to interact with different cultures cannot avoid conflicts between groups and individuals, but, when they are inevitable, these social skills & ability allows individuals to deal better with conflicts. Individuals who have acquired this skill are more motivated to engage with other cultures and are open to new or different ideas are going to be more likely to be valued and make use of information that helps them adapt to new environments. And that’s why it has become our responsibility to raise awareness about the importance of this skill for people and businesses alike.