a) In order to be interculturally competent

  • you have to be aware of your own culture and its specific phenomena

  • you have to be aware that your culture is not known all over the world

  • you have to understand that there is always a possibility of cultural misunderstandings when you are dealing with other cultures

  • you have to be open-minded

  • you have to be willing to adapt and adjust

Take time to think about your qualities. Is it easy for you to interact with people from different cultures or do you need to develop your intercultural skills?

Questions to think about

How differences and similarities between your own and other people’s cultural behavior may change or affect attitudes, expectations, communication and working practices?

  • conception of time
  • decision-making process
  • perceptions of status and role
  • attitudes to men and women
  • communication style
  • conventions
  • attitudes to emotion
  • levels of hierarchy and formality

To discuss in group about intercultural competences

Exercise 1

A migrant employee comes late for work. You are a supervisor. What is your reaction when he is late for:

a) two minutes

b) five minutes

c) fifteen minutes

d) an hour 

And how would the employee respond? What might be his excuse? What kind of excuses would be acceptable?

Exercise 2

You are a supervisor. An employee new to the UK agrees with everything you say and it looks like he has understood your instructions but after a while he is doing everything in his own way. What do you do? What may cause this kind of behavior? How will you proceed?

Exercise 3

You work closely with a new migrant but you are not friends with her. You don’t tell her anything about your private life because you want to separate work and socializing. Your migrant colleague asks frequently about the well-being of your parents and your children. You don’t like her questions because they seem too private to you. What do you do? Why do you think she is asking?

Exercise 4

You are a cleaner and you are working with a migrant as a pair. You have finished your work for today when the supervisor comes to see you. Your migrant colleague starts working again even though everything has been done already. What do you think is the reason for her reaction? What should you do?

Exercise 5

You are a teacher in vocational education. You know that there has been a misunderstanding between a migrant student and some other students. The migrant student has often been absent after the incident. When you talk to the migrant student, he just smiles and says that everything is okay. You don’t think this is true. What do you do? What do you think might cause his behavior?