At the beginning of this course, you received your personal results on the compe

At the beginning of this course, you received your personal results on the competences
assessed by the IRC – Intercultural Readiness Check. The report invited you to reflect on
how you view your behavior when dealing with culturally diverse environments, and your
scores reflected how you approached intercultural settings in that moment. To what
extent do you think you have developed a deeper awareness of any one, some, or all four
competences during this course and, if applicable, reflecting back on any time that you
have spent studying or living abroad? Which aspects do you consider to be most useful or
necessary for you to develop in the immediate future, based on your experiences to date?
2) Compare your experience of living and studying abroad with the model of cultural
adaptation attached: consider any time you have spent living or studying abroad, do you
feel that you experienced some degree of culture “shock” during your experience? Give a
detailed example from your own experience of one of the three challenges that you had to
face. Which of the emotions listed in the model do you feel you experienced most
frequently? What behavioral responses did you use to deal with any stress you felt? Did
this change from the beginning of the semester to the end? Were your reactions
functional, dysfunctional, or some of both? Do you feel that in the time you’ve been here
(or in the target culture) you(’ve) reached the stage of adaptation? What did/have you
found relatively easy to adapt to? What still bothers you in some way? Is or was there
something in the foreign reality that you feel you might never be able to adapt to?  4) During this short course we have explored various skills that are considered important
when working in a multicultural environment, including suspension of judgment,
awareness and modification of stereotypes, application of intercultural knowledge to
specific events (critical incidents, influencing, teamworking) in order to better understand
the behavior of culturally different others, the development of cultural empathy and the
skill of perspective taking. Which of these skills do you feel you have developed and will
use to the greatest degree in the future? How effective are you when building
commitment within the context of team-working with others? Please give specific
examples of how you think you can apply them during your international mobility.   
The four IRC Competences
Intercultural Sensitivity
The degree to which a person takes an active interest in others: their cultural background, needs and perspectives
and how they express themselves. Scores illustrate to what extent people reflect on their own culture and consider
other cultural perspectives as equally valid. They also indicate to what extent people seek information about others’
thoughts and feelings, i.e., by paying attention to verbal and nonverbal signals when interacting with them.
Intercultural Communication
The degree to which a person actively monitors how he or she communicates. Scores indicate to what extent people
listen actively in order to understand how others may be affected by what is said. People with high scores tend to be
patient communicators, cautious in how they get across difficult messages and are willing to take extra time before
responding. This attitude helps them to adjust their behavior to the needs of their listeners.
Building Commitment
The degree to which people actively try to influence their social environment, based on a concern for building
relationships and integrating different people and their concerns. Scores indicate to what extent a person knows how
to engage others and get them committed to a shared goal. People with high scores invest in developing
relationships and building strong and diverse networks. They constantly seek to integrate the needs of different
stakeholders and believe that they can create flexible solutions to meet those needs.
Managing Uncertainty
The degree to which a person sees the uncertainty and complexity of culturally diverse environments as an
opportunity for personal development. Scores indicate to what extent a person is open to dealing with the additional
complexity of cultural diversity, unfamiliar groups and unexpected requirements. They also reflect that person’s
motivation for exploring new approaches and feeling stimulated by diversity as a source for learning.
Interpreting your results
The IRC invited you to reflect on how you view your behavior when dealing with culturally diverse environments. Your
view may differ from that of other people. The IRC feedback is designed to help you better understand your
perception of your strengths and challenges when working in a culturally diverse context. Your scores reflect how you
currently approach intercultural settings. They should not be seen as rigid indicators of your intercultural
competences. Instead, each competence can be developed, so we suggest concrete steps you could take to
strengthen a given competence. Please note that we cannot accept any responsibility of the use made of the
information contained in this report.
26-03-2024 © 2022 Intercultural Business Improvement.
Nicole Laudadio
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Intercultural Sensitivity
This competence assesses the degree to which a person takes an active interest in others: their cultural
background, needs and perspectives, and how they express themselves. Your score is low.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
This indicates that you may not have yet spent much thought on the cultural background of the people around you
and that you could spend more attention on what motivates them and what has influenced them.
We distinguish between two facets of Intercultural Sensitivity: Cultural Awareness and Attention to Signals. Your
results suggest that it would be best to give equal attention to both facets. Below, you will find some potential pitfalls
and suggestions for how you could develop this competence.
Facet 1: Cultural Awareness
Needs attention
The ability to see one’s own interpretations, norms and values as culture-specific, and to consider different cultural
perspectives as equally valid. Your score suggests that you need to further invest in this ability.
Cultural Awareness: Potential pitfalls
Below are some of the pitfalls you may encounter. Please tick the ones you consider most relevant. You may:
– Underestimate how much your cultural background has influenced your beliefs, expectations and opinions
– Not be sufficiently interested in the cultural values and expectations of others
– Be uncertain about how to be tolerant of other cultures and stay true to your own values
– Be judgmental
Cultural Awareness: Practical suggestions for further development
Please tick one (or more) of the following that you want to focus on for your development:
– Learn more about your own cultural background(s). How did your culture’s values develop over time, which
events shaped its history? What do people from other cultures say about your culture(s)?
– Learn more about a culture that is relevant to you, e.g., through workshop materials, movies, literature,
conversations with colleagues, etc.
– Try to suspend judgment. For instance, by comparing your interpretation of your actions and events with those of
someone you know very well but who tends to have different opinions.
– Look for situations where you can deliberately experience and enjoy cultural differences.
26-03-2024 © 2022 Intercultural Business Improvement.
Nicole Laudadio
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Intercultural Sensitivity
Facet 2: Attention to Signals
Needs attention
The attention a person pays to verbal and nonverbal signals when interacting with others. Your score indicates that
you do not see yourself as consistently paying significant attention to these signals.
Attention to Signals: Potential pitfalls
Below are some pitfalls you may encounter. Please tick those you consider most relevant. You may:
– Not pay attention to nonverbal signals, e.g., body language, facial expressions, eye contact
– Not be aware of underlying messages, e.g., when receiving feedback or instructions
– Not realize when others feel uncomfortable with different levels of directness
– Not pay sufficient attention to how people feel about your way of communicating/interacting.
Attention to Signals: Practical suggestions for further development
Please tick those that you want to focus on:
– Do you sense a hidden message? What do people find comfortable stating in public; what subjects would they
rather address informally or via third parties? Pay attention to the relationships between people in a public setting.
– People communicate indirectly to avoid loss of face. Learn to read between the lines, in particular in facethreatening situations involving feedback and instructions.
– Do the nonverbal signals support what is said, or is there a mismatch?
– Practice ‘off-line’: Culture reference guides, foreign movies and novels provide valuable information about how
people use verbal and nonverbal signals.
– Cultures differ in terms of how and when emotions are shown in public. How can you become more comfortable
with people who express their emotions more strongly, or less strongly than you?
26-03-2024 © 2022 Intercultural Business Improvement.
Nicole Laudadio
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Intercultural Communication
The degree to which people actively monitor how they communicate. Your score on Intercultural Communication is
intermediate.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
This indicates that you pay attention to what listeners need and expect and try to adapt your style accordingly. At
times, however, you may forget to do so, for example, when faced with conflict or disagreement.
We distinguish between two facets of Intercultural Communication: Active Listening and Adjusting Communicative
Style. Your results suggest that you have clear strengths with respect to Facet 1, and that you may want to focus in
particular on Facet 2.
Facet 1: Active listening
Medium
The degree to which a person is mindful when communicating with others and pays due attention to their
expectations and needs. You do consider different needs and expectations but you may want to do this more often
and more consistently, or spend more time understanding the needs of people who are very different from you.
Active Listening: Potential pitfalls
Below are some of the pitfalls you may still encounter. Please tick those you consider most relevant. You may:
– Focus mainly on being clear and effective
– Come across as forceful when you feel strongly about a topic
– Be distracted or focus mainly on what you are going to say next when there is conflict or disagreement
– Discourage exchange with comments like “that won’t work here” or the “yes, but …” reflex
– Not pay attention to culture-specific expectations about giving feedback, explaining and recommending.
Active Listening: Practical suggestions for development
Please tick those that you will focus on for your development:
– In cross-cultural interactions, assess ahead of time what others may expect, know, and want to get out of the
situation.
– Rephrase statements neutrally, and take time to reach conclusions.
– Listen carefully for information about the context or the relationship. Contributions may seem irrelevant regarding
the content but are actually intended to preserve the relationship.
– Show interest by asking open-ended questions, express approval, and build on others’ ideas.
– Suspend judgment in order to focus on the other party.
– Monitor your emotions when under pressure. When you get impatient or need to criticize a person from another
culture, you may need to package your message more than you normally would. If necessary, wait for a better
occasion, for example, an informal setting, or use a third party to avoid loss of face.
26-03-2024 © 2022 Intercultural Business Improvement.
Nicole Laudadio
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Intercultural Communication
Facet 2: Adjusting Communicative Style
Needs attention
The degree to which people adjust how they communicate in line with cultural requirements. Your score suggests
that you do not see yourself as consistently adjusting your style in line with different cultural requirements.
Adjusting Communicative Style: Potential pitfalls
Below are some of the pitfalls you may encounter. Please tick the ones you consider most relevant. You may:
– Express attention and interest in a topic (through tone of voice, eye contact, body language, etc) in ways that
listeners from other cultures may misinterpret. As a result, they may perceive you as brash and angry or,
alternatively, as withholding, shy and unassertive.
– Manage turn-taking (e.g., speed, pausing, intonation) in ways that do not match your listener’s expectations. They
may not know how and when to take their turn for speaking, or when to stop and give the turn to you.
– Express your emotions in ways that are appropriate in your culture but confusing to people from other cultural
backgrounds. The same emotions may be subdued or suppressed, or, alternatively, expressed more strongly.
Adjusting Communicative Style: Practical suggestions for further development
Please tick those that you wish to focus on for your development:
– Find out about how verbal and nonverbal signals are used in one or more cultures that are relevant to you, e.g.,
through culture-specific books, language training, conversations with colleagues. Consider watching foreign
movies together with cultural insiders, who can share their impressions with you.
– Gestures may differ in meaning across cultures. If you are uncertain about what a gesture means, don’t use it.
– Be careful with showing negative emotions like anger, irritation, and exasperation. Wait until people know you
better and have a broader basis for judging how strongly you really feel about the issue.
26-03-2024 © 2022 Intercultural Business Improvement.
Nicole Laudadio
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Building Commitment
The degree to which you actively try to influence your social environment, based on a concern for integrating
different people and personalities. Your score on Building Commitment is intermediate.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
This indicates that you basically feel at ease with the people-related aspects of your work and that you enjoy
engaging and cooperating with others. Nevertheless you may still need to invest more in identifying the networks of
influence surrounding your task, getting people committed, and enhancing their cooperation.
We distinguish between two facets: Building Relationships and Reconciling Stakeholder Needs. Your results suggest
that ideally you would give equal attention to both facets. Below you find some potential pitfalls and suggestions for
developing this competence.
Facet 1: Building Relationships
Needs attention
The degree to which a person invests into developing relationships and diverse networks. Your answers suggest that
you may want to invest more energy into this aspect of Building Commitment.
Building Relationships: Potential pitfalls
Below are some pitfalls you may encounter. Please tick those you consider relevant. You may:
– Not build effective working relationships to gain the resources and cooperation you need for implementing
projects
– Not develop many contacts outside your immediate group
– Not invest enough time into building networks of influence outside your own culture
– Not sufficiently encourage exchange between people
– Not develop the appropriate relational context in which to manage people effectively.
Building Relationships: Practical suggestions for further development
Please tick those that you will focus on for your development:
– How important are networks for your work? If you do need them, ensure that you establish and maintain such
networks across cultures.
– Think of interesting topics and try to find like-minded people. Keep in mind that one usually needs to invest time
into any network before benefiting from it.
– Are there interesting topics on which networks are based that open tremendous opportunities for networking?
– Find key local contacts that can advise you and introduce you to the right people.
– Think of formal and informal occasions for bringing people together and encouraging exchanges between them.
– Pay attention to the personal aspects of a work relationship. It does not mean you have to become friends with
all your colleagues. It just means acknowledging that the quality of relationships influences the quality of work.
26-03-2024 © 2022 Intercultural Business Improvement.
Nicole Laudadio
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Building Commitment
Facet 2: Reconciling Stakeholder Needs
Needs attention
The degree to which a person seeks to understand the needs and interests of different stakeholders and to create
flexible solutions to meet those needs. Your score suggests that you currently do not see this as one of your
strengths.
Reconciling Stakeholder Needs: Potential pitfalls
Below are some pitfalls you may encounter. Please tick those that you consider relevant. You may:
– Assume your way of working works best
– Try to impose your own expectations, e.g., around procedures and time frames
– Be impatient when having to address difficult topics
– Admit some downsides to your approach but overlook the advantages, and/or overemphasize the disadvantages
of other approaches
– Not spend much time exploring the key issues and values underlying a (cross-cultural) conflict.
Reconciling Stakeholder Needs: Practical suggestions
Please tick those that you will focus on for your development:
– Acknowledge that individuals differ in their viewpoints and priorities. Learn about their perspectives, aspirations,
and challenges so that you can take into account their concerns when recommending steps later on.
– Study people’s objections to your approach. Look for what is constructive in what they are saying. Try and see
resistance as an opportunity to learn.
– Envisage the potential objections of key stakeholders so that you can address their concerns when
recommending solutions.
– When faced with a problem or conflict, show that you are interested and concerned; make sure to ask questions
before suggesting solutions.
– When working in a multicultural team, ensure that you understand everyone’s work preferences and obligations.
Multicultural teams need extra time to clarify misunderstandings before they can focus on the task.
26-03-2024 © 2022 Intercultural Business Improvement.
Nicole Laudadio
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Managing Uncertainty
The degree to which a person appreciates the challenges of culturally diverse environments as an opportunity for
personal development. Your score on Managing Uncertainty is low.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
This suggests that if you accept the greater uncertainty of cross-cultural environments, you will find it easier to
discover how you can learn from them.
We distinguish between two facets of Managing Uncertainty: Openness to Diversity and Exploring New Approaches.
Your results suggest that you have clear strengths with respect to Facet 1 and that you may want to focus in
particular on Facet 2.
Facet 1: Openness to Cultural Complexity
Medium
The degree to which a person is willing to deal with the added complexity of culturally diverse environments. You
accept that people’s cultural background needs to be considered in order to understand where they are coming
from, and you are willing to learn more about it.
Openness to Cultural Complexity: Potential pitfalls
Below are some of the pitfalls you may encounter. Please tick the ones you consider most relevant. You may:
– Focus more on similarities between cultures rather than on understanding the differences
– Be satisfied with respecting the Do’s and Taboos of other cultural groups
– Stick with an initial understanding of another culture without constantly refining your cultural understanding
– Downplay cultural factors when under stress or pushed for time
Openness to Cultural Complexity: Suggestions for development
Please tick those that you want to focus on to develop this competence.
– Make a list of the Do’s and Taboos of your own culture. How much do they really say about you and the culture
you come from? Imagine what you would consider normal if you had grown up in another culture.
– When working with culturally diverse teams, take more time to prepare so as to reduce time pressure later on.
– If you pushed your team towards one approach because of time pressure, reflect on the situation afterwards: Did
you overlook important cultural factors?
– Look for people who have experienced cultural differences as a source of personal development. What did they
find interesting about the experience?
26-03-2024 © 2022 Intercultural Business Improvement.
Nicole Laudadio
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Managing Uncertainty
Facet 2: Exploring New Approaches
Needs attention
The degree to which a person is stimulated by diversity as a source of learning and accepts the risk of trying out new
ideas. Your score indicates that you tend to be wary of novel approaches or feel uncomfortable when faced with
them. As a result you may tend to stick to what you already know and overlook opportunities you could seize by
thoroughly exploring other cultural ways of doing things.
Exploring New Approaches: Potential pitfalls
Below are some pitfalls you may encounter. Please tick those you consider most relevant. You may:
– Rely on what you are familiar with rather than try out something new
– Become insecure when you do not know what is expected of you
– Avoid situations that would challenge you to improvise
– Hesitate to approach people who are different from you
– Feel more secure and acknowledged within your own culture.
Exploring New Approaches: Suggestions for development
Please tick those that you wish to focus on:
– Think back of when you successfully adapted to a new situation (e.g., starting your professional training, working
for a new company). What did you do to adapt and how could this help you to approach unknown situations
now?
– If you are not excited about new approaches immediately picture how they could help you be more effective in
the long run. Imagine you were already used to the new approach and be experiencing its benefits.
– Combine new settings with familiar ones. Working with people from different cultures can be stressful. Make sure
you combine the challenge with activities you find enjoyable and reassuring.
– Do you demand too much perfection? What would happen if things did not run perfectly smoothly