Journal of Danubian Studies and Research, Vol 4, No 2 (2014)

Intercultural Competence – Key Competence of Multicultural Teams

Diana Bebenova - Nikolova


The article deals with intercultural competence of multicultural teams elaborating European projects. Firstly, it discusses basic theoretical aspects of the related concepts: culture and intercultural competence, then presents its impact on multicultural team effectiveness and models for improving it. Prior Work: The article finds ground on studies of intercultural competence as a set of strategic, personal, social and professional competences. Approach: The paper uses the project cycle management theory and proves that in multi-ethnic surroundings, the project members’ communication skills might not be sufficient to generate mutual understanding. Provisionally, the study performed a standardized Internet survey on self-assessment of intercultural competence among 50 experts on European projects. Another applied approach is field observation (attendance and note-taking) of the 5- day training "To become diplomats between cultures", based on Bennett’s theoretical model for "Development of Intercultural Sensitivity". Results: A training model for improving intercultural competence of multicultural team members. Implications: Possible approach for improvement of project management of cross-border or trans-border funding programs. Value: Building intercultural competence in European project management is important, timely and necessity-driven, especially under the framework of the Danube Region Strategy.


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