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Intercultural Competence in Modern Organizations

It is possible to define intercultural competence as a specific ability of a person to interact easily and appropriately with representatives of different cultures while having positive attitudes, demonstrating cultural awareness, being flexible, and maintaining effective communication. Global organizations pay much attention to developing the intercultural competence in their leaders, as well as employees, in order to guarantee that all communications in the company are based on following and respecting the cultural norms, the talents of diverse workers are valued, and there is a positive environment that contributes to achieving the corporate goals (Bird, Mendenhall, Stevens, & Oddou, 2010).

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The developed intercultural competence is important in order to build productive relationships between leaders and employees because effective cooperation is almost impossible without recognizing cultural diversity.

According to Deardorff (2009), there are many models of intercultural competence, including Intercultural Competence Components Model, Facework-Based Model of Intercultural Competence, Deardorff Pyramid Model of Intercultural Competence, Intercultural Interlocutor Competency Model, and Intercultural Maturity Model, among others. These models are similar in terms of identifying attitudes, knowledge, and skills as the main components of the model.

Employers and employees are expected to develop their intercultural competence while improving their knowledge of cultures, facilitating their skills of cooperation with diverse individuals, and changing their attitudes. Still, these models differ in relation to the role which is given by theorists to the concrete component or dimension. Thus, some theorists are inclined to accentuate the role of the co-orientation among dimensions, and other theorists are focused on the development or adaptation processes (Deardorff, 2011). While using the specific model, it is possible to develop a plan of global training that is based on a certain approach to developing knowledge, skills, and abilities related to intercultural competence.

Nowadays, the migrant crisis is typical of not only the European countries but also the United States because the number of migrants from Central and South America grows annually, and the global instability contributes to increasing the migrant flows significantly. As a result, the healthcare industry and international healthcare organizations need to address the problem of providing care for the vulnerable migrant population (Hunter, 2016).

Currently, global healthcare organizations cooperate with charity organizations to support migrants and provide them with the necessary health care. The global instability contributes to increasing the number of both illegal and legal migrants, as well as the number of volunteers; as a result, the number of a culturally diverse workforce in global healthcare organizations is significant (Hunter, 2016). This issue affects training and development in international or global healthcare organizations.

In order to manage a culturally diverse workforce effectively, it is necessary to address the “current global workforce dynamics” (Dartey-Baah, 2013, p. 39). Cultures are unique, and leaders working with the diverse workforce need to become aware of the employees’ differences and values in order to address the problem of the changing labor that is affected by the global social and political crises.

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The human resources management practices that are appropriate for one culture can be non-working for the diverse staff (Dartey-Baah, 2013; McClay & Irwin, 2008). Therefore, leaders need to understand how global changes can affect the development of their staff and what intercultural competence training and development initiatives can be proposed in order to ensure effective cooperation between the representatives of different cultures.


Bird, A., Mendenhall, M., Stevens, M. J., & Oddou, G. (2010). Defining the content domain of intercultural competence for global leaders. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 25(8), 810-828.

Dartey-Baah, K. (2013). The cultural approach to the management of the international human resource: An analysis of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. International Journal of Business Administration, 4(2), 39-45.

Deardorff, D. K. (2009). The SAGE handbook of intercultural competence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Deardorff, D. K. (2011). Assessing intercultural competence. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2011(149), 65-79.

Hunter, P. (2016). The refugee crisis challenges national health care systems. EMBO Reports, 17(4), 492-495.

McClay, R., & Irwin, L. (2008). The essential guide to training global audiences. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

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