Intercultural Competency


Intercultural competence is the ability to work across cultures, communicate effectively, act according to individuals’ needs and wants, and work across multiple to effectively accomplish/perform in work environments. In our modern world, the multicultural work environment is rapidly increasing due to globalization and the expansion of businesses and corporations worldwide. Products and services are provided across borders, which creates an environment where individuals must communicate and work together to accomplish their goals and expectations. The diversity of cultures in workplaces has also rapidly increased in the 21st Century, businesses must now adapt to cultural change and operate effectively.

For example, a company in the United States might provide financial consulting services to other countries. While they have a headquarters in the United States, they must now open an office in some parts of Asia and recruit people from around the world to run that specific office ( Note that individuals are from around the world). The individual who heads the office comes from the United States and is totally oblivious to cultural differences within the office. The individual who is oblivious to the cultural differences will have a hard time adjusting to the office culture, which may lead to the inability to operate the office effectively, which may cause losses in productivity and profits.

An individual need to be knowledgeable about other cultures is important because individuals are unique and act accordingly to their culture. For example, a Chinese person in a business would rely on his supervisor to implement policy and act accordingly to the need of the company. However, individuals in the United States would rely on their own initiative to implement policies. While one may see a discontinuity in the two individual approaches to policy, those approaches are instilled in by culture.

Individuals in higher business positions must be knowledgeable to operate their businesses internationally. Communicating effectively with each person from the office will motivate the employer and operate the office efficiently. The higher positive businesses must recognize individuals’ ways to accomplish tasks and adjust to the need and want of the employee due to difference, or the company will fail in their endeavor toward expanding their business. Businesses must be open-minded and flexible and learn other cultural values systems. Attitude toward other cultures must invoke curiosity and learn from each other to improve the working environment.