Discovery Magazine

Cross-Cultural Competence (3C) Training and Knowledge Management System

Organizations engaged in international operations must navigate complex dynamics for successful intercultural communication, necessitating the identification of individuals who are likely to succeed in these environments and training personnel in cross-cultural competence (3C). To effectively train intercultural communication, culture specific scenarios are often developed and used to determine which trainees can effectively identify cultural cues and adapt to cultural demands. our goal for this contract was to ensure that the military had accurate cultural information to design these scenarios.

As part of a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, we developed a regional-specific cultural database comprised of both declarative knowledge (e.g. economy, resources, style of government, religion) and cultural norms (e.g. social etiquette and concept of space and time) of 12 countries/regions. In addition, we collected qualitative data from cultural subject matter experts who were born and raised in the region. these brief white papers were written to provide commanders in the field a rapid way to access cultural information that may impact mission success. The goal of the project was to support the development of 3C, which ultimately should improve intercultural communication and mission success.

The second task was to conduct a meta-analysis examining the impact of cultural diversity on team effectiveness and intercultural communication. Forty-two independent studies that reported examining culture in teams were examined using meta-analytic procedures. Literature was compiled via a comprehensive, multifaceted search of scholarly social science databases, DTIC military reports, and dissertation databases. The relationships between (1) cultural values and team processes and (2) cultural values and team emergent states were coded using a theoretically-driven coding scheme. The results of the meta-analysis demonstrate several relationships between deep-level cultural values and various team processes, such as monitoring, coordination and interpersonal processes.

The third and final task was to develop a total of 72 Culture Quick View papers, covering at least 12 regions/countries and containing information from the following areas (5 sections for each region/country): country overview/facts (required); social relations; family; sex/gender; religion/spirituality; social etiquette; social activities; intercultural communication etiquette; key phrases/gestures; and keys to rapport building. In addition, case study/lessons learned briefs were provided for each region/country.