Strategic Intercultural Communication
The Strategic Intercultural Communication Model (SIM) or "4 Distances Model - (4DM) has been developed by the European Researcher Daniele Trevisani.
The first appearance of the model dates back to Dr. Daniele Trevisani's Thesis on International and Intercultural Communication ad Bologna University, Dept. of Communication Science, in 1990. The Model has been presented to the Fulbright Commission (USA) that awarded Dr. Daniele Trevisani the "Fulbright Grant" for advancing his research and studies in the US. A first presentation of the model appeared on the 9th International and Intercultural Communication Conference (University of Miami) in 1992
What the model is about
Intercultural Communication Theories deal very often with "differences" in communication rather than on the result of interaction. The 4 Distances Model provides instead a framework for Intercultural Communication in which we can start analyzing 4 major "Communication Distances":
The basic law of intercultural communication is that interaction becomes harder and harder the higher the distances. Not only. One distance influences another, so that, a Communication Codes distance might inhibit the search for a "common ground" in roles that can work at least for establishing a first relational platform. Or it can block the search for common values and generate misunderstandings.
The "4 Distances Intercultural model" provides a framework for "entering" the relational distances that are present in everyday interactions on the job, in the firm-client relational world, in the leader-team relational situations, and in every other aspect of human communication.
Types of available Intercultural Communication consulting services connected to the Model:
Team Building in Intercultural Environments: Internal Intercultural and Cross-cultural actions
Building cross cultural teams
Special Areas of Intercultural Training, Intercultural Communication and Intercultural Coaching
Other advanced research areas on Intercultural Competences
Tools for Intercultural Communication Training and Coaching
Link to the downloadable paper
Link to the book on Amazon (In Italian)
Trevisani, Daniele (2005), "Negoziazione Interculturale: Comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali", Milano, Franco Angeli (Translated title: "Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers".) ISBN 9788846466006
Link to relevant Wikipedia articles on Intercultural Communication
Full wikipedia Article on Intercultural Competence
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Intercultural competence is also called "cross-cultural competence" (3C).
Cultures can be different not only between continents or nations but also within the same company and even within the same family. The differences may be ethical, ethnic, geographical, historical, moral, political, or religious.
The basic requirements for intercultural competence are empathy, an understanding of other people's behaviors and ways of thinking, and the ability to express one's own way of thinking. It is a balance, situatively adapted, among four parts:
Main article: Cultural competence
Cross-cultural competence (3C) has generated confusing and contradictory definitions because it has been studied by a wide variety of academic approaches and professional fields. One author identified eleven different terms that have some equivalence to 3C: cultural savvy, astuteness, appreciation, literacy or fluency, adaptability, terrain, expertise, competency, awareness, intelligence, and understanding. The United States Army Research Institute, which is currently engaged in a study of 3C has defined it as "A set of cognitive, behavioral, and affective/motivational components that enable individuals to adapt effectively in intercultural environments."
Organizations in academia, business, health care, government security, and developmental aid agencies have all sought to use 3C in one way or another. Poor results have often been obtained due to a lack of rigorous study of 3C and a reliance on "common sense" approaches.
Cross-cultural competence does not operate in a vacuum, however. One theoretical construct posits that 3C, language proficiency, and regional knowledge are distinct skills that are inextricably linked, but to varying degrees depending on the context in which they are employed. In educational settings, Bloom's affective and cognitive taxonomies serve as an effective framework for describing the overlapping areas among these three disciplines: at the receiving and knowledge levels, 3C can operate with near-independence from language proficiency and regional knowledge. But, as one approaches the internalizing and evaluation levels, the overlapping areas approach totality.
The development of intercultural competence is mostly based on the individual's experiences while he or she is communicating with different cultures. When interacting with people from other cultures, the individual experiences certain obstacles that are caused by differences in cultural understanding between two people from different cultures. Such experiences may motivate the individual to acquire skills that can help him to communicate his point of view to an audience belonging to a different cultural ethnicity and background.
Immigrants and international students
A salient issue, especially for people living in countries other than their native country, is the issue of which culture they should follow: their native culture or the one in their new surroundings.
International students also face this issue: they have a choice of modifying their cultural boundaries and adapting to the culture around them or holding on to their native culture and surrounding themselves with people from their own country. The students who decide to hold on to their native culture are those who experience the most problems in their university life and who encounter frequent culture shocks. But international students who adapt themselves to the culture surrounding them (and who interact more with domestic students) will increase their knowledge of the domestic culture, which may help them to "blend in" more. Such individuals may be said to have adopted bicultural identities.
See also: Geert Hofstede
Cultural characteristics can be measured along several dimensions. The ability to perceive them and to cope with them is fundamental for intercultural competence. These characteristics include:
The assessment of cross-cultural competence is another field that is rife with controversy. One survey identified 86 assessment instruments for 3C. A United States Army Research Institute study narrowed the list down to ten quantitative instruments that were suitable for further exploration of their reliability and validity.
The following characteristics are tested and observed for the assessment of intercultural competence as an existing ability or as the potential to develop it: ambiguity tolerance, openness to contacts, flexibility in behavior, emotional stability, motivation to perform, empathy, metacommunicative competence, and polycentrism.
Quantitative assessment instruments
Three examples of quantitative assessment instruments are:
Qualitative assessment instruments
Research in the area of 3C assessment, while thin, points to the value of qualitative assessment instruments in concert with quantitative ones. Qualitative instruments, such as scenario-based assessments, are useful for gaining insight into intercultural competence.
Intercultural coaching frameworks, such as the ICCA™ (Intercultural Communication and Collaboration Appraisal), do not attempt an assessment; they provide guidance for personal improvement based upon the identification of personal traits, strengths, and weaknesses.
An interesting aspect in management offers Riether in his book "Business Cooperation - cultural Integration as Keyfactor - Reasons for Failing and improving chances for success" of business-related cooperation and globalization. He assumes in his CRT-model that Communication, Relationship building and Trust are the essential factors to enable cooperation. Integration is not just to understand the other but to accept and to integrate the others behavior i.e. to act in a way which the other will understand, accept but also to meet expectations
It is important that cross-cultural competence training and skills does not break down into the application of stereotypes. Although its goal is to promote understanding between groups of individuals that, as a whole, think differently, it may fail to recognize specific differences between individuals of any given group. Such differences can be more significant than the differences between groups, especially in the case of heterogeneous populations and value systems.
Madison (2006) has criticized the tendency of 3C training for its tendency to simplify migration and cross-cultural processes into stages and phases. Madison's article offers an outline of the original research.
See also a recent article by Witte summarizing objections to cultural theories used in business and social life.
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