Theoretical research
This presentation is based on a study carried out for
Agefa Pme by Fiona Bibby and Franck Brulhart
Fiona Bibby,
Franck Brulhart,
Jean-Jacques Dijoux
Purpose of this study
To identify the sources and body of knowledge supporting the competences
and skills (soft) required to train and develop young people to adopt an
entrepreneurial mindset in order to improve performance when working
To serve as a work base to identify, check and improve on the sources
chosen by an analysis in each partner country of the state of the art in this
To identify the knowledge, skills and competences found in the literature to
be used alongside those found in the company research questionnaires and
study of existing training which will provide a starting point for the
development of a vocational profile for the training unit
Context of the study
Nowadays, encouraging international entrepreneurship by increasing
international mobility and developing international activity is an absolute
One of the major obstacles to this mobility is cultural barriers which makes it
necessary to investigate how intercultural interaction is managed.
To do so, we must first consider the notions of entrepreneuriat and culture,
then analyse cultural deiversity on an international level and then look at
possible actions to overcome this diversity.
The concept of international
entrepreneurship (1)
Entrepreneurship is a complex phenomena which has been understood in
deiverse ways (Saporta et Verstraete, 2000).
Two main schools of thought structure this area of research (Fayolle, 2004 ;
Julien et Marchesnay, 1996).
– The first one sees entrepreneurship as creating a company or new
– The second defines entrepreneurship as the study of a process which
leads to the discovery, assessment and action on new
opportunities.(Fayolle, 2004; Venkatraman, 1997). This approach is
linked to entrepreneurship seen as having an entrepreneurial mindset.
An entrepreneurial mindset can be defined as tha capacity of an individual
or social group to take risks to invest and commit in an « enterprise » in the
sense of « an adventure » (Julien et Marchesnay, 1996
The concept of international
entrepreneurship (2)
Value creation and innovation (in the general sense) are central to an
entrepreneurial mindset as are the notions of risk and uncertainty. (Julien et
Marchesnay, 1996). What are the characteristics of international
entrepreneurship defined as the perception of and seizing of opportunities
for international business ?
In addition to the qualities usually seen in an entrepreneur (self-confidence,
will, decision-making capacity, capacity to learn, aptitude for people
management, communication skills, ability to innovate, sense of fine detail,
perfectionism etc ) an entrepreneur must have three special qualities :
empathy, patience and especially cultural tolerance. (Hinkelman, 1999)
The concept of international
entrepreneurship (3)
Several European texts adress the question of « entrepreneurship » in
education and learning (this will be adressed in more detail in another
The Lisbon Council (2000) quote entrepreneurship as a key competence
(transferable and multifunctional) to be integrated into secondary education
Key concepts impacting our project
– « personal quality crucial to managing one’s own life »
– « fostering the right mindset »
– « a set of knowledge, skills and attitude »
– « experiential laearning/learning by doing »
Examples of competences quoted for entrepreneurship also valid for
development of intercultural competence
– e.g. empathy,openess to new perspectives,capacity to manage
deversity/increased complexity, flexibilty of approach, proactive
behaviour, win/win solutions in potentially conflictual situations etc
The concept of culture (1)
It is very difficult to define the concept of culture (more than 164 different
définitions identified by Kroeber et Kluckhohn en 1952).
There are 2 contrasting visions of culture :
– Universalist conception: culture is foremost « the culture of humanity »
(Tylor, 1871).
– A specific culture : culture refers to a set of characteristics common to a
community (Boas, 1940).
The « culture and personality » school of thought is based on the specific
vision : each culture determines a style of behaviour common to all
individuals belonging to a society or a given group. (Mead, 1963)
The concept of culture (2)
The « culture and personality « school is based on two stages:
– Different cultures are defined by a type, a style, a « pattern », in
– other words a global structure
– It’s through a process of education, of cultural transmission and
socialisation that individuals take in and integrate this cultural structure
(Mead, 1963).
Culture and behaviour (Adler, 1986)
Managing international diversity
Persistance of cultural diversity despite
Globalisation: tendancy towards cultural convergence and domination of
ideals of consumer soceity and market economy (Levi-Strauss, 1955;
Hannerz, 1992; Mattelard, 2007).
From the juxtaposition of non permeable cultural zones, the world has
progressed to increased close contact of inhabitants (« global village »).
However this « village » still has economic and social divides and very
strong cultural influences. The remaining differentiating factors
(religion,family, history, ideology, climate..) underline this international
cultural diversity (Equilbey, 2004).
In the end, the tendancy towards the globalisation of culture doesn’t
necessarily mean homogenisation but leads rather to a mixed or hybrid
culture (Hannerz, 1992).
Managing international diversity
Adaptation to cultural diversity
Faced with this cultural heterogeneousness and if we consider that social
interaction is determined by specific cultural models then behaviour and
attitude must be modified in order to avoid disturbing or upseting or
infringing on the conscious or unconscious cultural norms of the person you
are communicating with (Hall, 1990).
This intercultural approach means first knowing and recognizing the
existance of other cultures, integrating the values on which these cultures
are based and to combine taking into account culture characteristics while
at the same time considering global imperatives (Dupriez, 2000).
Managing international diversity
Analysis of cultural diversity and classifying national
Crucial inputs:
Hofstede (1980), Hall (1990), Trompenaars (2003)
Hofstede (1980, 1991) is known for his gound breaking work on the origins
of cultural difference and for his work to identify cultural models according to
the country or geographic zone. This work identifies 4 dimensions used to
classify national cultural differences :
Power Distance Distance hiérarchique
Individualism/collectivismDegré d’individualisme
Uncertainty avoidance
Managing international diversity
Analysis of cultural diversity and
classifying national cultures
Crucial inputs:
Hofstede (1980), Hall (1990), Trompenaars (2003)
Hall (1990) defines culture as a set of behavioural rules gained during the
socialisation process which determine the way in which individuals perceive
their environment and use verbal and non verbal communication.
Hall’s objective is to provide the necessary tools to decipher the messages
from another culture. He underlines three hidden dimensions:
– Notion of Time (polychronic vs monochronic)
– Proxemics (space )
– Cultural context (High and Low)
Managing international diversity
Analysis of cultural diversity and classifying
national cultures
Crucial inputs:
Hofstede (1980), Hall (1990), Trompenaars (2003)
Trompenaars (2003, 2004) developed and enriched the work of Hoftede
and Hall and created a seven dimension analysis model:
– Universalism – particularism
– Sequential time – synchronic time
– Specific - diffuse,
– Acheived status – ascribed status
– Outer directed – inner directed
– Affectivity – neutrality
– Individualism - collectivism
Managing international diversity
Beyond knowing about other cultures
towards « awareness/mindfulness » to other cultures
Based on this research, there is much literature aiming to help executives
and entrepreneurs to overcome cultural barriers.
Most of this work highlights « intercultural sensitivity » (Trompenaars, 2003),
in other words accepting the relativity of management behaviour and
This work usually covers 4 main themes :
– Economic, political, geographic, social, historical
– Work environment
– Social and personal relations
– Practical information
Managing international diversity
Beyond knowing about other cultures
towards « awareness/mindfulness » to other cultures
These models serve to improve knowledge on modes of communication and behaviour,
these determinist models can be dangerous in that they may lead to stereotyping
behaviour that may be very different from the individual you have to communicate
with.(Chevrier, 2003).
In recent research we find basically 2 approaches
– Knowing: culturalist approach where interaction is between two static cultures
– Know-how: approach where interaction is based on two individuals within a culture
As seen above, awareness of the danger of stereotyping is a necessary corollary of any
type of cultural briefing and intercultural awareness raising training. Identifying the
difference between generalisations (statistics, likelihood) and stereotypes (don’t allow for
exceptions/individual cases) and their pertinence, is essential to any intercultural
Principal authors analysing the genesis and functions of stereotypes and their effects on
attitude :
Milton Bennet’s (1998).
Gudykunst (1994)
Richard Brislin (1999),
An interdisciplinary approach to acquisition of skills
in intercultural intelligence (1)
From intercultural intelligence to skills development
An overview of the body of knowledge behind the development of the concept
of intercultural competence or intercultural intelligence shows it is a balance,
adapted in context, between three parts:
•knowledge (about other cultures, people, nations, behaviors…),
•Empathy/awareness (understanding feelings and needs of other people)
•self-confidence (understanding feelings and needs of self, knowing what I
want, my strengths and weaknesses, emotional stability and intelligence).
And so the specific associated behavioural skills
An interdisciplinary approach to acquisition of skills
in intercultural intelligence (2)
Beyond knowing to know how:
This approach to intercultural competence can be summarised as “a complex of
abilities needed to perform effectively and appropriately when interacting with
others who are linguistically and culturally different from oneself” (Parry (1999)
Work in this field has its sources in many disciplines: linguistics, psychology,
ethnology, sociology, business studies and anthropology. Much of the recent
research concentrates particularly on writings from the areas of emotional
intelligence, communication (intercultural), languages, educational science and
Principal authors working on an interdisciplinary approach:
* Parry (1999)
* Selmeski (2007)
* Fantini (2006)
An interdisciplinary approach to acquisition of skills
in intercultural intelligence (3)
Intercultural competence development models (1)
In the literature concerned with acquiring intercultural competence or raising
cultural intelligence, development is a process and an interface between
knowledge, feelings, attitudes and behaviours.
“Intercultural learning is by nature a cognitive, and also an affective and
behavioural affair”
Models illustrating phases in cultural adaptation show the interface of cultural
awareness and competence between declarative knowledge and procedural
knowledge. In other words, the interface between factual knowledge (ie the
majority of Catalans speak Catalan and not Castilian Spanish) and affective and
behavioural elements (knowing how to cope with reactions of some Catalan
natives if you start speaking to them in Castilian.)
Principal authors on affective and behavioural development
* Comeraie(1998)
* Brislin (1990)
* Bond (1993)
An interdisciplinary approach to acquisition of skills
in intercultural intelligence (4)
Intercultural competence development models (2)
These models use what are considered to be the different stages in the
adaptation process to a different culture when living and working abroad. This
work addresses culture shock and overcoming it.
The models are useful in the perspective of assessing levels of intercultural
competence but also be seen as useful as foundations for the development of
training. The work is also useful for designing of training before interaction, work
in a multicultural environment. The approach is a developmental one with needs
Principal authors on developmental models :
* Ruben (1976,1979) Behavioural approach
* Bennett (1993) Developmental model of intercultural sensitivity
* Olson and Kroeger (2001) Intercultural Sensitivity Index
* Byram (1997) and Risager (2007) Teaching and assessing intercultural
communicative competence
An interdisciplinary approach to acquisition of skills
in intercultural intelligence (5)
Intercultural competence development models (3)
Byram (1997)
(1) The attitude factor refers to the ability to relativize one’s self and value others,
and includes curiosity and openness, readiness to suspend disbelief about other
cultures and belief about one’s own .
(2) Knowledge of one’s self and others means knowledge of the rules for
individual and social interaction and consists of knowing social groups and their
practices, both in one’s one culture and in the other culture.
(3) The first skill set, the skills of interpreting and relating, describes an
individual’s ability to interpret, explain, and relate events and documents from
another culture to one’s own culture.
(4) The second skill set, the skills of discovery and interaction, allows the
individual to acquire “new knowledge of culture and cultural practices,” including
the ability to use existing knowledge, attitudes, and skills in cross-cultural
(5) The last factor, critical cultural awareness, describes the ability to use
perspectives, practices, and products in one’s own culture and in other cultures to
make evaluations.
An interdisciplinary approach to acquisition of skills
in intercultural intelligence (6)
Emotional intelligence/psychological approaches (1)
Increasingly, emotional intelligence is being recognised as a necessary part of
the skill set not only of managers but of all professionals. Emotions have often
been largely a distant second place compared to rationality and intellect.
However recent studies have demonstrated that emotional intelligence is a prime
factor in the success of the individual, in overall performance and in learning.
(managing emotion, impacting behaviour and results)
The development of the term “cultural intelligence” and CQ has recently been
developed when talking about emotional competence in a cross cultural
environment. Many of the behaviours and attitudes characteristic to emotional
intelligence are also essential to succeed in developing intercultural intelligence.
Principal authors
•Salovey and Meyer (1990)
•Daniel Goleman
An interdisciplinary approach to acquisition of skills
in intercultural intelligence (7)
Emotional intelligence/psychological approaches (2)
EQ through its emphasis on intercultural awareness, empathy, self awareness
and social skills, can strongly aid intercultural communication competences.
Development in all of these areas similarly leads to the competences required in
In Western cultures we overestimate in general the role of rational decision
making and underestimate the role of emotions. The risk of conflict, of cultural
misunderstanding is often rooted in the objective consequence of the
misunderstanding itself, but in the possible emotional power associated with it.
Cultural misunderstanding can cause strong emotions like shame or
embarrassment and which can in turn seriously influence decision or
relationships. Managing emotions and conflict become key skills.
This clearly underlines the necessity for taking into account the development of
emotional intelligence in training which aims to reduce possibilities for
misunderstanding and conflict in intercultural training.
Principal authors
* Roese and Olson 1995. Research on counterfactual thinking
* Gudykunst, 1993, 1998 an integrative system’s theory
* Kim, 1993 and identity negotiation
* Ting-Toomey, 1993.
An interdisciplinary approach to acquisition of skills
in intercultural intelligence (8)
Intercultural communication approaches (1)
A number of mostly behavioural concepts has been identified that can be used to
distinguish between cultures. These include, for example, the differences in the
usage of kinesics (body movements), proxemics (space organisation), oculesics
(eye movement), haptics (touching behaviour) as well as paralinguistic concepts
such as accents, intonation, speed of talking and so on.
Most people will consciously or unconsciously look for affirmative action or
reaction by their counterparts. Failure to provide the correct action, may in some
cases undermine the spoken word and lead to breakdowns in Communication.
Another examined concept may be thought patterns.
For example, inductive or deductive thought patterns may have a profound impact
on argumentation and communication styles, but also on the way the world is
seen and understood. For example, thinking within the Aristotelian logical
tradition, which is dominant in most Western cultures may not be understood by
people with a more holistic approach to thinking.
An interdisciplinary approach to acquisition of skills
in intercultural intelligence (8)
Intercultural communication approaches (2)
Recent research underlines the necessity to address belief systems and mental
filters in intercultural interaction :
“Mechanisms that delimit the number of alternatives from which we choose when
we encode and decode messages. More specifically, the filters limit the
predictions we make about how strangers might respond to our communication
behaviour. The nature of the predictions we make, in turn, influences the way we
choose to encode our messages. Further, the filters delimit what stimuli we pay
attention to and how we choose to interpret those stimuli when we decode
incoming messages.”
Obviously once we are placed in a multicultural environment, we may find our
expectations are inaccurate and the degree to which we hold on to them impacts
our capacity for effective communication
Principal authors
* Gudykunst and Kim in Communicating with Strangers
* Maletzke 1996 Thought patterns
Next steps…
To check and add in each partner country to the body of knowledge supporting
identified KSC’s
To structure the identified knowledge skills and competences to prepare for work
on the profile
To identify and link the training and teaching approaches best suited to training
such competences (Experiential Learning Theory - David A Kolb)
Questions raised …
Teacher training ? Existing projects and research
Training materials and programme development ?
Dissemination of work so far and feedback from national actors ?

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