Are you intelligent? one of our listeners, Dennis Jim Frederiksen wanted to know in February. Well he didn’t ask the question directly, but he did suggest that we take a look at the work of Elisabeth Plum who has come up with a new way of looking at intercultural differences and how to overcome them. She calls this cultural intelligence. So this show is about a new way of looking at the issue of intercultural competence.
We’ll also be hearing from Barry Tomalin, kicking off an exciting new European project called Diversity in Europe at Work, on why human rights has become part of the cultural landscape.
Why did Plum think we needed a new theory of culture? Ignoring the many aspects of diversity means you fall back on stereotypes according to Plum so how do you become culturally intelligent?
So how does this translate into practice? When you meet with Russians, you should find out about Russian culture, right? Or maybe we shouldn’t!
The idea that we shouldn’t focus on just one aspect was also the theme of Barry Tomalin’s talk to the ICC conference in Florence, Italy a couple of weeks ago. Tomalin is Director of Cultural Training at International House in London and was at the conference to present a new project called Diversity in the European Workplace or DEW for short, which is preparing some exciting intercultural training materials based on critical incident methodology. Tomalin started by talking about the different aspects of diversity which you typically find in a European workplace. These he called the 7 – ‘isms’. Watch out for an explanation of the Somali worker mystery at the end. The recording comes courtesy of Carl Dowse who does intercultural training as part of his Business English courses in Germany and I hope to be talking to him in more detail about his approach in a later show.
Well let’s return to this idea of cultural intelligence. It is clear that the concept relies on the interplay of 3 factors, emotion, cognitive, action or what you feel, what you know and what you do. We hear how Elisabeth Plum explains the three factors.
So what do you think? Is this an idea that would help you in your intercultural encounters? You could let us know by leaving a comment here If you want to find out more about cultural intelligence then go to Elisabeth Plums blog where you can find details of her book and an article explaining the basic concepts of cultural intelligence. You may have heard Elisabeth mention that the phrase cultural intelligence is also used by a research group in the US in a slightly different way. So we will try and follow up on that so that we can see how the ideas compare. Well I hope that you are now a little more culturally intelligent. If not then you’ll just have to come back for more on May 15th when Laurent Borgmann hosts the next show from Germany.
The next show will be coming to you on 15th May Germany.
So long…stay tuned!
The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Jan Warnecke