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EPALE

Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe

 
 

Blog

Intercultural Mediation for managers - BEYOND THE DIFFERENCES

28/10/2019
by Monika Nowakows...
Language: EN

Why this project?

With the current influx of migrants from outside of the EU and freedom of movement in the EU, it is crucial for successful integration to help migrants find a job and be effective and happy in the workplace. Research has shown that employees in a positive work environment are more effective in their work and perform better (Jeffrey Fermin, www.business.com). Therefore, successful mediation within an intercultural workforce context could improve the company’s productivity and thus their bottom line.

  

Who is it for?

Managers and team leaders who employ or aim to employ an international workforce.

  

What does intercultural mediation mean?

Intercultural mediation in the context of this project is defined as a methodology which looks beyond the barriers of language, culture and politics in order to find a common understanding of the work place ethics and  improve the ability of the manager to mediate both between colleagues and between his/her own cultural understanding and the understanding of (future) employees. The definition of intercultural mediation in this sense includes the traditional meaning of conflict resolution, but also includes finding commonalities between working cultures in order to avoid conflict and promote integration. It is often found that managers receive little or no training in this field (UCL).

    

  

BEYOND THE DIFFERENCES
Introduction

  1. Main Aimes
  • Defining culture and intercultural mediation in your own country and beyond without stigmatizing or caricaturing 
  • How can we turn intercultural misunderstandings towards better cooperation with respect? 
  • Emphasize the importance of a vision on diversity in the workplace so sme-businesses will be more intercultural in their approach 
  • Translating this vision into a personnel policy with attention to recruitment, integration and retention  
  • Creating self-awareness about of the benefits of an international workforce  

  1. General framework

     

FIRST FRAMEWORK

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  • The first layer is the tangible business, the things a foreigner notice when he first comes to the Netherlands: the cycle paths, the houses with the large windows and the curtains that are often open, the cheese roll at lunch, the language, the body language, fashion etc.
  • The second layer consists of the norms and values of a culture, for example: How do we deal with time? Is it a habit to come right on time, or later? How do we greet each other? Do we give a hand or, for example, bend?
  • The third layer consists of the basic values, the so-called assumptions. These are abstract and invisible, and therefore very difficult for an outsider to recognize. We teach our basic values at an early age. Earliest at the time we are most responsive. Then we learn, for example, when we can express our emotions and when we can say something; When we are allowed to fight, laugh, cry and lie; When we can be proud; When we feel tired-ashamed, etc. Around our seventh year of life, these patterns of thought and action are nestling within our personality. From then on we consider the basic values as normal. If an outsider asks why we act as we do, we often say: “That’s how we have always done that”, while we actually mean: “That’s how we learned it.”

   

Watch this video about the cultural iceberg (introduction):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mkeGtUD1zY

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