Intercultural competence is measureable now
Trans-boundary cooperation is no longer an exception but everyday practise for many local companies today. However, the managers in charge have an additional problem to solve, because the growing internationality demands special characteristics: „intercultural competence“ is in demand, on an the individual as well as the organisational level. In order to make this competence controllable, the consulting companies HILL International and Hauska & Partner International Communications have developed a new evaluation tool: the InterCultureAnalysis.
The problems have been obvious for a long time: The cooperation of people with different languages, experiences or moral concepts is influenced by prejudices and frequent misunderstandings. Therefore extensive preparation is necessary for the creation of international teams, before business trips or longer stays in abroad. Until now, various trainings, and the disclosure of Do’s & Don’ts and general education, mainly about characteristics of national state cultures were initiated. In reality however, not only individual people have to adjust to new surroundings, but the also companies must provide ideal framework conditions for intercultural cooperation. Only if they provide the necessary basis the employees can bring individual skills in their personal surroundings. Intercultural competence is therefore not so much a personal matter as a management task. Therefore, HILL and Hauska set the goal to offer the management a tool that would give a quick overview over the intercultural competence of the company and at the same time show areas that could use improvement.
A compact evaluation tool
The service package offered by the name of InterCultureAnalysis could be called a „health-check“: by using interviews of qualitative and quantitative nature as well as the analysis of selected data, facts and management tools like personnel development systems, employee newspapers or company model the current status is evaluated and assigned an identification number, which at the same time allows a benchmarking. The evaluation includes the four areas moral, personnel, communication and organisation management and is executed in the headquarters and also in the offices abroad. Due to the fact that the majority of the processing is done electronically, the analysis can be realized within a few weeks with comparably low costs: the expenses for the standard version amount to EUR 18,000.
Barely two years development time
The first course for the development of this product was set already in 2004: In the course of the interest platform „Headquarters Austria“ a survey was taken within main offices, who had defined inter¬cultural competence as a key criteria for the qualification of employees. At the same time it became obvious that the main area of work was located in the cooperate culture, in order to allow the human potential to develop towards the desired direction. HILL International and Hauska & Partner International Communications have therefore combined their competencies and initiated a joint development project. A test run was executed with the prototype in an Eastern Europe main office located in Austria and subsequently final improvements were made. The present result: a compact analysis tool that informs about the current level of intercultural competence and existing problem areas.