Cross Cultural Competence Development in the Public Sector - “The Exploration of Work Related Cross Cultural Encounters and Learning in the Work Place”
Purpose: To study and analyze how cross cultural encounters at work enhance cultural learning make employees culturally competent in order to increase knowledge about cultural competence development in the public sector. Theoretical Framework: The theoretical framework of this study is based on two understandings: Firstly, on cross cultural encounters at work as interpersonal cultural interactions or experiences. Secondly, on cross cultural competence as cultural knowledge and skills learned. Two learning theories; Experiential Learning Theory and Social Learning Theory are employed to understand and explain the development of cross cultural competence at work. Methodology: A qualitative study with a narrative and interpretative approach based on in depth open ended interviews is used. Narratives of 10 interviewees with 3 or more years of work experience within a culturally diverse work environment in the public sector were studied and analyzed. Results: The findings of this study reveal that cross cultural encounters in the work place provide a means of stimulating cultural learning and enhance employees’ cultural competence. The respondents in this study report growing their cultural competence through learning from previous cross cultural experiences and the daily cultural interactions in their working life. They identified specific personality traits that are essential for this process.
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