From cultural understanding to cross cultural competence
Cultural understanding is a necessary but insufficient component for the cultural capability needed by military personnel to meet current and future challenges. “Military personnel also need the ability to use situational cues to determine when and how culture is relevant, as well as other skills for interacting with individual members of the culture. For example, cultural knowledge may have limited utility if rigid interpersonal behavior or ethnocentric attitudes are not addressed. This ability is referred to as cross cultural competence”.
The ability to quickly and accurately comprehend, then appropriately and effectively engage individuals from distinct cultural backgrounds to achieve the desired effect.
Despite not having an in-depth knowledge of the other culture, and
Even though fundamental aspects of the other culture may contradict one’s own taken-for-granted assumptions/deeply-held beliefs.
Three components are necessary to provide the capabilities required to work in a foreign culture. The first component is ‘cultural knowledge’. Such knowledge begins with an awareness of one’s own culture and includes an understanding of culture and cultural differences using schemata or frameworks, progressing towards an increasingly complex understanding of the sources, manifestations, and consequences of a particular culture.
The second component is ‘affect’ and includes attitudes toward other cultures and the motivation to learn about and engage with them. In this component openness and empathy are of particular importance. The third component is ‘skills’ which encompass the ability to regulate one’s own reactions in a cross-cultural setting, interpersonal skills, and the flexibility to assume the perspective of someone from a different culture.
In short cross-cultural competence is a set of culture-general knowledge, skills, abilities, and attributes (KSAAs) developed through education, training, and experience that provide the ability to operate effectively within any culturally complex environment. It is further augmented through the acquisition of cultural, linguistic, and regional proficiency and by its application in cross-cultural contexts. » read more