Our activities are based on theories of social constructivism and the concept of recognition, and steer towards newer ways of thinking of culture.
Traditionally, culture is defined as a static entity associated with a particular country and shared by the people of that country. This understanding of culture retains boundaries between groups of people and particularly between countries, and perpetuates feelings of 'us' versus 'them'. This definition of culture has little value in the world we live in now, a world in which people travel, live in foreign lands, marry into different cultures and in essence contribute to a greater multiculturalism.
In Social Constructivism, culture is dynamic, evolving and established by social interactions. There are no boundaries in this understanding of culture and no generalizations of characteristics and values to a whole nation of people. It is very individual, and these individual constructions of culture and all that they entail play a part in intercultural interactions, for example in our expectations of others.
Interpreting another's behaviour in terms of our own standards is a common source of misunderstandings in intercultural encounters as it is very difficult to realize that one enters these situations with one's own expectations and biases. It is also difficult to realize that one's view of the world is specific to one's background, and therefore may not be the same view of the world the other person has.
Cultural Intelligence is a concept that Supporting People believe in and promote; we believe that the key to finding a middle ground for communication lies in realizing that there are more elements to consider in a diverse work team than merely national differences.
At our workshops we use exercises and techniques that focus on recognition and opportunities for positive change and we actively encourage participants' curiosity about 'the other '. We play thought-provoking games, use visual tools to open minds, and through discussion and reflection we create a foundation that participants can depend on in their work and social life.
“Companies who employ highly educated foreign employees experience an extraordinary 7% increase in effectivity over a 5-year period (1995-2005) compared to companies without foreign experts”
The Rockwool Foundation’s Research unit, April 2009
In this section...
It’s funny how one can be on their best behavior in a situation and yet be seen to be something else by the other person. This is particularly true in intercultural interactions.