Intercultural competence for professional mobility


June 2006

February 2006 |

January 2006 |

October 2005 |

May 2004 |

Action Plan

Calendar |


June 2006: ICOPROMO Team Meeting

On 9-10 June 2006 the ICOPROMO team met for the last time in Graz. The main purpose of the meeting was to finalise work on the publication. Quite a large number of texts had already been written and most of the training activities had been developed. What still remained to be done was to prepare a clear overview of the parts that were still missing and of the final structure of the printed publication and the CD ROM. Furthermore, the meeting was an occasion to edit some of the texts and to give feedback to the authors for the revision process.

We also decided, in concertation with the ECML Head of Programmes, on the parts of the publication which needed to be translated into French and the deadline for the final submission of all the files was set. The publication will be available by the end of 2006.

The printed part of the publication will contain a thorough explanation of the main concepts underlying our Transformational Model on the Development of Intercultural Competence. The CD ROM will include a set of sample training activities designed to develop intercultural competence in multicultural teams.

As the ICOPROMO project comes to an end, our team can look back on three years of fruitful cooperation and mutual inspiration.

February 2006: ICOPROMO Team Meeting

This meeting was dedicated to the conceptualisation of our final publication. The team made the last revisions of the Model developed within the framework of the project and allocated the sections to be written by each team member. We also agreed that the printed part of the publication would contain an explanation of the different parts of our model, while the CD ROM would hold the training activities. This will make it easier for all facilitators to print out and photocopy the material chosen for a specific target group. In addition, the CD ROM will contain two articles on the qualitative and quantitative studies conducted by the project team. These studies have provided us with relevant ideas for the design of our model.

Roughly, the structure of the publication will be as follows:

1. Foreword by the project advisers

2. Introduction of the publication to the readers/users:
  • Brief characterisation of the training activities on the CD ROM
  • Overview of project ICOPROMO
    o Development of the project (organisational and content issues)
    o Research (review of the literature and conducting of empirical research)
    o Testing of activities (workshop) and company visits (contextualising today's corporate intercultural needs and realities as a backdrop to reviewing and testing the activities)

3. Model

  • Introduction to the model
  • Graphic illustration of the model
  • Description of the components of the model (see structure given above)

  • January 2006: ICOPROMO Team Meeting

    The team members Manuela Guilherme, Maria del Carmen Mendez and Terry Mughan met with their team leader Evelyne Glaser and their advisor Duarte Silva in Graz on January 20 and 21, 2006. As usually, we received a warm welcome from the ECML staff. This was our first meeting after the project workshop, which had been held in October 2005 and to which we were looking back with warm thoughts of the wonderful people who had attended it.

    There were two big items on our agenda:

    1. Discussion of our tentative model for intercultural competence
    2. Decisions concerning the content of our project publication
    We started out by considering the input from the workshop. We reviewed the feedback and incorporated the suggestions made by the participants during the discussion of our proposed model. The feedback had indicated that the illustration did not adequately reflect the concept embedded in the model. Therefore the team engaged in reshaping the graphic design of the model. We also elaborated on the interaction and interdependence of the individual components of the model. Then the team proceeded to define and delineate the different components of the model. A revised model with elaborated terminology was the result. After producing a computer version of the model, we expect it to be ratified by all team members at our February meeting. In addition, the team developed an outline for the ECML publication due in 2007 and assigned different sections to respective team members. All the team members found that the two days were arduous but productive and rewarding.

    Members of the team

    October 2005: ICOPROMO Workshop

    The ICOPROMO Workshop was held October 27 - 29, 2005 at the ECML in Graz. Altogether, 21 participants representing 20 different European countries attended the workshop. They were professionals involved in intercultural communication, education and teacher training in their home countries teaching at secondary or university level who were all highly interested in the subject matter and eager to share their ideas and experiences on intercultural competence and communication.

    The purpose of the workshop was to introduce a tentative model of intercultural competence for professional mobility and to test some of the training activities developed so far. In a specifically designed activity, the group was able to visit GIBS (Graz International Bilingual School) and AVL (an engineering company with an international workforce based in Graz). This was certainly a highlight for many participants. The team is greatly indebted to the hosts as well as to Ursula Newby of the ECML's "Austrian Association" who helped a great deal with the organisation of the visits.

    The feedback on the activities was mostly positive and proved very valuable for the ICOPROMO team. A great majority of participants stated that the workshop had met their expectations and that its content was relevant to their particular needs. Many also reported that they intended to use the activities in their own professional contexts. Suggestions for future activities included various dissemination strategies, such as additional seminars or other events and the development of training activities tailored to the specific needs of particular professional groups. The workshop ended with a discussion on the tentative model of intercultural competence for professional mobility developed by the team. This feedback will contribute greatly to the improvement of the model.

    The workshop took place in an open and discussion-friendly climate that allowed for the free exchange of ideas and opinions. The ICOPROMO team is very grateful for the intellectual input as well as for the co-operative spirit displayed by the participants that made the workshop a great success. The team also wishes to express its gratitude to all the ECML staff, the assistants (above all Reetta Honkanen and Anne-Sofia Holmberg) and the interpreters who all worked very hard to provide support in every respect to the ICOPROMO team.

    For a detailed report refer to Report of Central Workshop 5/2005.

    May 2004: team meeting report

    What has happened so far?

    On May 7 and 8, 2004, the members of the ICOPROMO project met for the first time at the premises of the ECML in Graz. Fortunately, we had already been able to meet once before in February to get to know each other and to agree upon the detailed method we would use to come up with a model for training modules for the development of intercultural competencies. These modules should be appropriate for undergraduate and graduate students in the social sciences as well as for professionals with an academic background from the same area.

    Before the meeting in Graz, we had already discussed a number of models on cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication. We had drawn up a set of interview questions and conducted extended qualitative interviews with representatives from the business world and from governmental and non-governmental trans-national organisations. These interviews addressed different issues around the topic of working in multicultural teams, such as languages used for communication, power relationships, conflicts among team members etc. The purpose of these interviews was to provide us with insights into problems that may arise in multicultural teams, so that we can come up with a suitable theoretical model upon which we can build for the design of some sample training modules for our target groups.

    In Graz we discussed the results of our interviews using a grid that was supposed to help us to extract relevant information and to design a questionnaire for a quantitative study whose results would be used for analysing the needs of our target groups. Our discussion revealed, however, that such a quantitative survey might not be as useful at this point in time as going into greater depth with our qualitative study. In fact, we decided to do an in-depth analysis of the transcribed interviews we had already conducted, to focus on areas that turned out to be particularly interesting and to get back to our interviewees with probing questions on these specific areas. Furthermore we will conduct a larger number of qualitative interviews.

    We decided to revise one of the previously agreed requirements for our interviewees, as the guideline of interviewing only people with an academic background in social sciences turned out to be too limiting.

    After a thorough analysis of the qualitative interviews, we hope to be able to come up with a first idea on what might be relevant elements of the model we intend to create.

    Discussions in Graz were intense and very helpful for the future progress of our project. We were very grateful that our project advisor, Professor Michael Byram, was able to be with us during the entire meeting in Graz.