Today on IHEC Blog I’m pleased to be posting my first interview! I’ve been planning on conducting and posting interviews for several months now (and I still need to get back in touch with a few colleagues about interview requests I made through LinkedIn) and I am very happy to be posting this interview with Christi Hunter! Christi is the Director of Global Leadership Excellence, LLC and you can learn more about their work here.
1. What is global competence?
Global Competence is "having an open mind while actively seeking to understand cultural norms and expectations of others, and leveraging this gained knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively outside one's environment" (Hunter, 2004). The Internal Readiness components are attitudinal in nature; they are: Self-Aware, Open-Minded, Willing to Take Risks, and Perceptive and Respectful of Diversity. External Readiness components are based on one’s knowledge gained from education or life experience; they include: Knowledgeable about World History, Globally Aware, Interculturally Competent, and Effective across Cultures
When the research on Global Competence began in 1999, there were 12 published definitions of the term and they varied widely. With that in mind, a primary goal of the research became to derive a consensus definition of the term. With the help of a number of international educators, Human Resources managers with Fortune 500 corporations, UN representatives, and others with extensive international experience, a Delphi Technique was employed. Following several rounds, first beginning with all published definitions of the term, a consensus definition for global competence was reached.
2. What’s the difference between global competence and intercultural competence? Are they the same thing?
No, global competence and intercultural competence are not synonymous terms; however, intercultural competence is one of the eight components of global competence. Our friend and colleague Darla Deardorff defined intercultural competence as “the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in intercultural situations based on one’s intercultural knowledge, skills and attitudes.” However, the Global Competence Model™ expands to include a willingness to take personal risks outside one’s comfort zone, global awareness (including cross-border interactions, trade, geography, etc.), knowledge of world history, and being effective across cultures, so as to collaborate and work effectively within and across perceived or actual cultural barriers.
3. There are a lot of assessments available. What makes the Global Competence Aptitude Assessment® (GCAA®) different from the others?
There are several key distinctions between the GCAA® and its competitors. First of all, the Global Competence Aptitude Assessment® is one of the most widely piloted assessments in the world; it has been researched in more than 40 countries. The GCAA® is currently being used by students and educators around the world. As the global competence research population and the GCAA® deployment pilot group included Human Resources managers in transnational corporations, the instrument measures the skills that employers around the world seek in the workforce. Therefore, employers are actively seeking means of implementing the GCAA®, too.
While other assessments claim to measure global competence, they are not capturing all the components identified in the research and presented in the Global Competence Model™:
The GCAA® is far more insightful and revealing than many assessments that use question repetition or mere self appraisal. The Assessment challenges participants with a wide range of question styles, and most importantly, requires thinking on one’s feet, not just static responses.
Scoring is immediate, and provides an extensive report spanning both the Internal and External Readiness categories for global competence. The report also includes definitions of each component, and a series of recommendations, training and published resources to guide one’s growth and maturation. Since the participant receives the report directly, there is no costly overhead associated with training assessment administrators to deliver feedback. The report clearly delineates an individual’s strengths and growth opportunities across each of the eight components of global competence in understandable terms for personal improvement.
4. How does global competence impact education and employment marketability?
The American Council on Education has noted “the United States has a dangerous shortfall of individuals with global competence,” and went as far as to say that “America’s future depends upon our ability to develop a citizen base that is globally competent.” (1998)
Global competence isn’t just for those studying abroad, majoring in international relations or hoping to work for a transnational company. There are very few sustainable jobs in the global marketplace that don’t require effective communication and cooperation with international partners, counterparts, suppliers, or customers.
According to US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, “We're competing … around the globe for jobs of the future” (2009). The research on global competence identified the necessary skills for the global workforce, so being globally competent dramatically increases one’s ability to compete in the global talent pool.
5. Can’t one just study about the destination country before departure and expect to be successful?
While there are many traveler’s guides and How To books and websites, they rarely prepare people for any experience deeper than language tidbits, common customs, tipping suggestions and food expectations. It would be naïve to assume that everyone one encounters in another country is a native or shares the majority culture identified in reference materials. As the world becomes more intermixed, so do the cultural norms and expectations.
In addition, no matter where one lives, one cannot always anticipate when one will encounter a person with a different cultural background -- leaving no opportunity to study in advance. A globally competent person can parachute to anywhere in the world, prepared with the foundational skills for effective interchanges with people from any cultural background. Basic skills for success begin with a mindset where one is willing to step outside one’s comfort zone, and has the ability to accept and embrace differences in a non-judgmental manner when in a new environment.