Bertelsman & CD


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Bertelsman & CD

  1. 1.  Another International Research Paper Supports theCultural Detective® ApproachBertelsmann Stiftung and Fondazione Cariplo Studyby Dianne Hofner SaphiereMany of you ask us how you can make the case for and roll out astrategy for developing intercultural competence in yourorganizations and communities.Two of the world’s major philanthropic foundations, Germany’sBertelsmann Stiftung and Italy’s Fondazione Cariplo (Cassa diRisparmio delle Provincie Lombarde), published a research andpolicy paper* in October 2008 that may help a bit in this regard.The objectives of the study were to promote tolerance,integration and cultural dialogue within Europe and with non-European partners. The paper makes several key points that areimportant for Cultural Detectives to understand as we go aboutour work. They are points that underscore the value of theCultural Detective® approach, namely:1. The danger of reifying culture. Cultures are not static entities but open, dynamic, complex systems.2. Intercultural competence requires a process orientation.3. Requisite intercultural competencies include: a. Specific attitudes, knowledge and behaviors. b. Internal “relativising” of one’s frame of reference. c. External performance, or constructive interaction.4. Intercultural competence involves recognition of similarities as well as differences.5. Intercultural competence development processes must be the core of school curricula, revisited in different contexts repeatedly over time; they can not be appended as supplementary learning.*©June 2010 Dianne Hofner Saphiere, 1  
  2. 2.  In this article I quote from the Bertelsmann-Cariplo study regardingeach of these topics, and then make the link to the Cultural Detectiveapproach. Let me begin, however, by quoting from the article on theneed for intercultural competence in the world today.The Need for Intercultural Competence “Given the process of pluralization that has resulted from internationalization, the ethnic, religious and cultural heterogeneity of our societies will increase, as will contacts between people of differing cultural values and norms. Thus, in the coming years, the ability to deal constructively on an interpersonal level with cultural diversity and a multitude of attitudes, values, norms, belief systems and ways of life will not only remain a key qualification required of business executives working in international settings; it will also be required generally of each individual as a key factor for contributing to social cohesion and reducing exclusion so that cultural diversity can be experienced positively.” (pp. 3-4)1. The Danger of Reifying Culture “By focusing on what was assumed to be an integrated, almost static whole of locality, group and culture … culture was considered (and is still considered by many) to be the way of life of a certain group of people in a specific setting, people who – because of their culture – consider themselves members of the same group and who – because of their culture – are different from other groups in other localities. This notion is often depicted as a global map with different discrete cultural groups, or as a mosaic, whose pieces are distinct individual cultures. Since Ulf Hannerz (and others) formulated the ideas of “culture as flux” and the idea that cultures are open, dynamic and constantly changing ‘entities’ or ‘practices,’ many leading figures in social theory and cultural studies in the 1990s increasingly relinquished the viewpoint that culture can be understood as a closed and static, island-like entity. In addition internationalization and globalization processes have shown the previous notion – that locality, group and culture exist as one unit – to be false or oversimplifying.©June 2010 Dianne Hofner Saphiere, 2  
  3. 3.   The changed, process-oriented conception of culture as a dynamic entity therefore tries to accommodate the contradictions, the intermixing and the new diversity, which are based more on relationships than autonomy.” (pp. 5-6)Link 1: Cultural Detective’s Approach to Culture as an Openand Complex SystemThere are several ways in which Cultural Detective helps users learnthat a culture is not some static, definable entity but a dynamicsystem. Each Cultural Detective package comes with a page entitled,“What is Culture?” The first words on the page are “culture is acomplex …” Culture is said to affect how we do things, with furtherexplanation that “common sense” is really a process of “culturalsense.” Readers are asked to think about central tendencies andpatterns of a group of people, and that each individual is a compositeof the influences of many cultures simultaneously (nationality,ethnicity, gender, age, spiritual tradition, sexual orientation,organizational culture, professional training).The Cultural Detective Worksheet is an interactional analysis andplanning tool, one that reinforces to the learner that the importance ofculture is how it colors what we do, what we perceive and how wewant to proceed. Culture is not presented as some static, separatething but as affecting individual people in real situations in complex butvisible ways.The Cultural Detective Values Lenses are positioned as a view of groupnorms or tendencies, a filter through which members of a culture aretaught to view the world. The Lenses are used as clues, tools that mayor may not prove helpful in unraveling the mystery of a given casestudy. Not all members of a culture will hold these values; in fact,some may have an almost allergic reaction to a society’s dominantvalues, even while recognizing the norm. It is also noteworthy that thesame or similar values can provoke different or even contradictorybehaviors, depending on the person and the context.Thus, Cultural Detective, by its very nature, relates to cultures as open,dynamic and complex systems.2. Intercultural Competence Requires a Process Orientation “…This procedural understanding of culture as a dynamic flow and ongoing process of negotiation between norms, values and lifestyles only underlines the need for a conceptualization of©June 2010 Dianne Hofner Saphiere, 3  
  4. 4.   intercultural competence which is in its turn able to take account of the changing nature of culture and the interactions it influences. Some existing models of intercultural competence, in fact, underscore the importance of a process-orientation.” If the assumption is correct that culture is constantly in flux, then individuals must learn and master the ability to deal with ongoing processes. The development of intercultural competence is thus complex and multidimensional and, depending on the intercultural situation, can take on a variety of forms.” (pp. 6-7)Link 2: Cultural Detective’s Process Approach to InterculturalCompetenceCultural Detective is a process. It is to our knowledge one of (if not theonly) intercultural competence tool available in the world today that isprocess-based. The approach looks at individuals in real situations,urging the learner to describe the facts of the situation, as would agood detective, filtering out biases and assumptions, and seeing whatactually occurred or was said. The learner is then encouraged, at leasttemporarily, to set aside negative judgment and give benefit of thedoubt. What could have been possible positive intent underlyingbehavior in the situation? Once possible positive intentions have beenformulated, the process asks the learner to discover or create methodsin which the contributions of all involved can be most fully used. Howmight the people in the interaction behave, both to be fully themselvesand to be cross-culturally effective? What steps could the organizationor community take to encourage and reinforce interculturalcompetence?One of the strengths of the Cultural Detective process is that it is notlinear. Individuals or groups can jump around and between steps ofthe process, in a holistic manner, with powerful results.We would like to caution that saying “culture is constantly in flux” canbe as dangerous as the traditional boilerplate. Of course everything isin flux; Heraclitus told us “you can’t step into the same river twice.”The questions can include what is changing, how fast, how much andwhere. We need to deal with ongoing processes, and we also need astandpoint from which to do this. Cultural Detective gives us exactlythat.3. Requisite Intercultural Competencies©June 2010 Dianne Hofner Saphiere, 4  
  5. 5.   “With regard to the definition [of intercultural competence], one may distinguish four dimensions, namely attitudes, comprehensive cultural knowledge and intercultural skills, an ability to reflect on intercultural issues as an internal outcome of intercultural competence [relativizing frames of reference and feeling empathy], and an ability to interact constructively as an external outcome of intercultural competence. It is important to remember that the relevant cultural knowledge differs in each intercultural context and, as global knowledge, is potentially unlimited, i.e. too extensive to always be known in the intercultural context. Therefore, many experts attach much more importance to certain behavior related (conative) communication skills than to explicitly knowledge- related (cognitive) elements. According to the specialists, to the degree that comprehensive cultural knowledge cannot be definitively known, process-oriented skills on how to handle the situation grow in importance, skills that make it possible to acquire and process (explicit and implicit) knowledge about one’s own as well as foreign ways of life, cultural determinants and practices.” (pp. 7 and 9)Link 3: Cultural Detective and the Requisite CompetenciesThe first two skills upon which Cultural Detective is premised “make itpossible to acquire and process (explicit and implicit) knowledge aboutone’s own as well as foreign ways of life, cultural determinants andpractices,” as described above. The first is Subjective Culture: knowingyourself, in context, as a product of personality and multiple culturalinfluences. Subjective Culture knowledge allows us to explainourselves, what is important to us, and why we do what we do, toothers. It also helps us to predict how we will respond in a givensituation. Cultural Detective: Self Discovery is an entire package,approach and tools for developing subjective culture understanding,and such understanding is developed and reinforced with every criticalincident and Worksheet our users work with. When learners reflect ona critical incident complete a CD Worksheet, they naturally reflect ontheir own values and behaviors: what they would do in a similarsituation, how they would expect someone to behave, what wouldupset them. Analyzing incidents from diverse cultures and situations isan organic, intuitive way of getting to know ourselves, individually andas products of cultural influences.The second Cultural Detective skill is Cultural Literacy: knowing othersindividually, in context, as a product of their personalities as well as©June 2010 Dianne Hofner Saphiere, 5  
  6. 6.  their multiple cultural influences. Cultural Literacy helps us tounderstand others’ intentions and why we respond to them the way wedo. It enables us to put culture on the table as a perspective to beused, rather than as something that we don’t recognize or talk aboutbut which reaches out to bite us when we least expect. Every CulturalDetective package, critical incident and Values Lens helps the user todevelop cultural literacy.The third Cultural Detective skill goes farther than the Bertelsmann-Cariplo report. It is Cultural Bridge, the ability to leverage similaritiesand differences for interpersonal, organizational and communitysatisfaction, productivity and effectiveness. Cultural Bridges allow allparties to retain their authenticity, encourage all parties to developintercultural competence, and involve processes, structures andsystems that sustain intercultural competence in the organization orcommunity. Cultural Bridges must be multi-directional, as one-wayCultural Bridges may work in the short term but are rarely if eversustainable over the long term. a. Specific attitudes (emotion), knowledge (cognition) and behaviors (conation) One set of questions we are sometimes asked is, “Where does emotion fit within the Cultural Detective framework? By reporting facts and behaviors, are we to divorce ourselves from emotion?” On the contrary, emotions are crucial pieces of a Cultural Detective approach. Contemporary cognitive science is showing that what we consider emotion has cognitive content and vice versa. Evaluation and emotion are automatically present in nearly everything we do. The Cultural Detective methods develops in the learner the capacity to see this, and the desire as well as capacity to purposefully shift perspective in order to see a situation more thoroughly and accurately. Heightened emotion can provide a beeline into the salient aspects of deep culture that make a difference in a situation. The things that most upset us are invaluable clues to the underlying values and intent that drive perception and action. Cognition and conation obviously come into play in the Cultural Detective Worksheet. The “Words and Actions” as well as the “Cultural Bridges” sections of the Worksheet involve behavior and conation. The Worksheet and the Values Lenses involve knowledge and cognition.©June 2010 Dianne Hofner Saphiere, 6  
  7. 7.   b. Internal “relativising” of one’s frame of reference The Cultural Detective process requires us to step into the perspective of other people, to shift our frames of reference. The Worksheet provides a visual illustration of such a shift of frame of reference. Each Values Lens, through its positive values and negative perception of those values, involves shifting perspective or frame of reference as well. c. External performance, or constructive interaction This final Bertelsmann-Cariplo skill is well represented in the Cultural Bridges portion of the Cultural Detective Worksheet, and is also the focus of the upcoming Cultural Detective: Bridging package.4. Recognition of Similarities as well as Differences “Perhaps the search for commonalities is as important in intercultural competence as the sensitivity and recognition of cultural differences that have been talked about so intensively in scientific, political and everyday-life discourses on intercultural competence during the last decades.” (page 13)Link 4: Similarities, Differences, and Cultural DetectiveAs a process-based, interactional approach, Cultural Detective naturallyencourages the learner to explore similarities as well as differences.When analyzing a critical incident using the Cultural DetectiveWorksheet, it may become apparent that multiple parties aremotivated by similar or compatible values or desired outcomes. Aneffective Cultural Bridge may involve building upon this shared outlookor purpose, while also acknowledging and working with difference.Values Lenses also encourage exploration of both similarities anddifferences. Whether we are discussing our Personal Values Lenses inan attempt to better collaborate, or comparing and contrasting nationalValues Lenses, the ways in which we are similar and the ways in whichwe are different make themselves apparent.5. Intercultural Competence Development Processes as Coreof the Curriculum ”The multidimensional and process-oriented nature of the development of intercultural competence can hardly be appended as a supplementary learning module to existing school curricula. Instead, it is necessary to examine to what©June 2010 Dianne Hofner Saphiere, 7  
  8. 8.   extent intercultural competence as an educational goal can be established in curricula as they are currently structured.” (page 10)Link 5: Cultural Detective Process as CoreHerein lies one of the true beauties of the Cultural Detective toolset.Because it is a process, it can be used as a design backbone for nearlyany type of curriculum, courseware, teambuilding, coaching,technology transfer, competence development program, mediation orconflict resolution, merger and acquisition. Because it is so simple, iteasily integrates with nearly any topic. It can be taught once, and thelearner retains it, being able to use it again and again in differentsituations for ever deeper or broader learning, applying it both at homeand at work, across disciplines, to continue developing knowledge ofself, knowledge of others, and the ability to collaborate.The key, as with any tool or important learning, is to integrate it aspart of an ongoing spiral learning approach, revisiting and reusing it atperiodic intervals in order to improve users’ facility with the tool and todeepen and broaden user ability and sophistication. A tool left on theshelf serves no purpose. Cultural Detective, as any tool or approach, isuseful for certain purposes and not for others, and it can be used wellor poorly. We trust your efforts towards intercultural competence willbear positive results.  ©June 2010 Dianne Hofner Saphiere, 8