Dealing with Diversity: Intersections and Frictions between Personal and Organisational Development
Several authors in the field of intercultural research have presented binary developmental models to describe the development of intercultural competences as a prototype of dealing with social and cultural diversity (e.g. Hoopes, Bennett, Berry). All models are based on a semantic approach of “opening and closure”. It is assumed that the increase of intercultural encounters and diversity experiences may ideally lead to a reflexive learning process, resulting in a transformation of complex ethno- and egocentric world-views. Such approaches have also been applied to the analytical description of organisations and their capacities of dealing with diversity (e.g. Adler). But personal and organisational developments might intersect in a paradox way leading to frictions in the envisioned learning process. Based on a brief review of intercultural competence models, it will be argued that dealing with cultural diversity on the organisational level cannot be understood as aggregation of personal intercultural development of individuals. As an alternative approach a two-dimensional typology of intercultural orientations within organisational contexts will be introduced in the presentation. Participants are invited to discuss this typology and constraints that can obstruct diversity policies and intercultural learning.
Keywords: Intercultural Development, Cultural Diversity, Competence, Organisation, Learning, Ethnocentrism
Dr. Matthias Otten
Researcher and Senior Lecturer, Department of Intercultural Education, University of Landau