Developing Intercultural Competence: Managing Conflict and Strengthening Outcomes in Multi-cultural Settings


Tate Miller,

Dean, Advising, Career, and Student Services

Monterey Institute of International Studies


Many disciplines make increasing use of collaborative teamwork as a means of teaching content and strengthening a student’s skills. These teams are often multi-cultural in make-up. Team members who lack cross-cultural understanding often experience frustration and conflict when working in teams. Additionally, given the globalized nature of the world’s economy, and the expanding demand for people trained to work in teams that are multi-cultural in context and demanding in outcomes, a strong understanding of other cultures is essential to maximizing learning outcomes and minimizing levels of conflict. Deliberate and strategic training in inter-culture issues, combined with an understanding of the roles and fit of your teammates can significantly impact learning outcomes and overall productivity in settings where students or professionals engage in collaborative teamwork. This discussion will briefly examine these points and touch upon how language acquisition can pave the way for better outcomes in team-based collaborative coursework.