The Cultural Competence Curriculum

11/17/2015

Business today is more global than ever before. As organizations expand across the world, form partnerships with international associates, and hire local talent whose origins lie elsewhere, they will likely face cultural hurdles that can reduce their chances of success. Today’s leaders need to understand the importance of culture in work-related interactions, partnerships and strategies, and imbue their employees with a sense of cultural competence. At the same time, those readying to enter the global workforce – business students at the undergraduate and graduate levels – can get a head start on gaining intercultural awareness and give themselves a leg up in the hiring process by learning about cultural competence while in school.

Business school instructors and those leading employee learning events have to go beyond simply teaching about mergers and acquisitions, supply-chain management, and international finance and accounting practices. They need to help students understand their individual cultures and how they can bridge cultural gaps with those from different backgrounds in order to create synergies and collaborate fruitfully.

This is no easy task, but fortunately there are excellent resources available to meet this challenge. Platforms such as the Cultural Navigator and its constituent assessment, the Cultural Orientations Indicator (COI), present excellent learning opportunities for employee learners and for business students at any level. The COI allows students to understand their own, individual cultural preferences so that they can then learn about others’, and bridge any cultural gaps they may have. The Cultural Navigator’s country guides give in-depth background on dozens of countries and their unique business and management cultures. The Cultural Navigator also hosts extensive, multi-media content on inclusion, national cultures, teams, international assignment and more.

The Cultural Navigator is adaptable across any course and can be tailored to suit the needs of the class and the individual learner. This is one of the powerful and unique ways instructors can incorporate cultural competence into their already existing programs and find ways to demonstrate the outcomes of student learning at any level of business education.