Danubius International Conferences, 4th International Conference The Danube - Axis of European Identity

Intercultural Competence - Key Competence of Multicultural Teams

Diana Bebenova-Nikolova
Last modified: 2014-06-04


Objectives: The article deals with intercultural competence of multicultural teams elaborating European funded projects. Firstly, it discusses basic theoretical aspects of the related concepts: culture and intercultural competence, then presents a study on intercultural competence as one of the communication parameters in order to highlight its impact on the multicultural team effectiveness. As a conclusion, the article proposes a model for building intercultural competence of experts involved in such teams. 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 a multi-ethnic surroundings, the communication skills of a project team are not sufficient to generate mutual understanding and thus multicultural competenece needs to be further  developed to  achieve implementation effectiveness. 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  (site monitoring and taking notes) on the 5- day training "To become diplomats between cultures", based on Bennett’s theoretical model for "Development of intercultural sensitivity". Results: a model for building intercultural competence of the experts involved in such teams , based on a preliminary assessment on the level of this competence. Implications: This is an appropriate topic for project development under the new integrated program "Erasmus plus", which provides € 19 million to be distributed over 7 years for projects related to "education, training, youth and sport." Value: The theme of building intercultural competence in European project management is important, timely and sensitive, especially under the framework of the in the Danube region strategy.