An Empirical Research on the Increasing Importance of Intercultural Competences

Term Paper (Advanced seminar) 2015 38 Pages

Business economics - Offline Marketing and Online Marketing



List of charts and figures ... ii
List of abbreviations ... iii

1 Introduction ... 1
1.1 Research problem and purpose ... 1
1.2 Structure of the research paper ... 2

2 Theoretical Framework ... 3
2.1 Culture and its five dimensions ... 3
2.1.1 Culture ... 3
2.1.2 Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions ... 4
2.1.3 Cultures’ affects on international negotiations ... 7
2.2 Intercultural Competence ... 8
2.2.1 Definition ... 8
2.2.2 Importance of intercultural competence ... 9
2.2.3 How to improve intercultural competence ... 10

3 Empirical Survey on Intercultural Competences ... 11
3.1 Research methods ... 11
3.2 Analysis of the questionnaire ... 12
3.3 Interpretation and recommendation ... 19
3.4 Critical acclaim ... 21

4 Conclusion ... 22
4.1 Summary ... 22
4.2 Outlook ... 22

Bibliography ... 24


Chart 1 – 10th question, gender distribution, own presentation (o.p.) ... 12
Chart 2 – 11th question, age distribution, o.p ... 12
Chart 3 – 12th question, nationality, o.p ... 12
Chart 4 – 2nd question, time abroad, o.p ... 13
Chart 5 – 3rd question, reason for staying abroad, o.p ... 13
Chart 6 – 4th question, general interest in culture, o.p ... 14
Chart 7 – 5th question, meaning of intercultural competence, o.p ... 14
Chart 8 – 6th question, self-evaluation, o.p ... 15
Chart 9 – Crosstab, self-evaluation and meaning of int. competences, o.p ... 15
Chart 10 – 7th question, wish to better understand the counterpart, o.p ... 16
Chart 11 – Crosstab, German answers on Hofstede’s statements, o.p ... 18
Figure 1 – 8th question, offers to improve int. competences, o.p ... 16
Figure 2 – 9th question, reference to statements, o.p ... 17


AM – arithmetic mean
a.m. – above mentioned
c.f. – compare
o.p. – own presentation

1 Introduction

1.1 Research problem and purpose

“God created land – politicians created boundaries”
- Med Jones on Globalisation

There are indeed boundaries separating each country from another, but some of them are by far less strict than a couple of years ago. Free trade areas in Europe, Asia or America already readjust these boundaries when it comes to international trade. The European Single Market further allows all members of the union to work and to live permanently in another members’ state. On both levels, the world is moving closer together and nowadays, countries already experience an omnipresent influence of foreign cultures.

Different country equals different culture. There is a unique culture in every country that explains the population’s way of thinking, its actions or values. Social rules in one country might be the opposite in another one. There are lots of differences people should be aware of when living harmoniously side by side with people from other origins.

On the basis of the increasing multiculturalism and internationalisation everyone will sooner or later be confronted with foreign countries, cultures or their economic influence. The fact that we have to come along with alien cultures and that we have to deal with new behaviours might evoke both, pleasure and discomfort. Nevertheless, it shows that in times of globalisation understanding and interpreting foreign cultures’ actions is indispensable. Being interculturally competent has become fundamentally important.

The present research paper aims to reveal this importance of intercultural competences. Despite the world moving continuously closer together and the gradually omission of strict boundaries, these competences are rarely communicated within educational institutions.

Including an empirical research on peoples’ intercultural competence, this research paper delivers different approaches to improve one’s competence and defines the most suitable institution to communicate these skills. Last but not least the author examines his hypothesis that people tend to overestimate their personal intercultural competence.

1.2 Structure of the research paper

In order to provide the most important theoretical background information, chapter 2 initially builds up certain frameworks with regards to culture and intercultural competences. Culture in comparison with Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions is defined and its possible affects on business negotiations are displayed.

Chapter 2 defines furthermore intercultural competences and reveals its general importance regarding diversity and globalisation. Last but not least, selected approaches how to improve one’s intercultural competences are mentioned.

The empirical part, which is chapter 3, deals primarily with the applied questionnaire and gathers the collected primary data of the survey.

First of all, the corresponding research methods are mentioned and a first insight into the structure of the questionnaire is given.

In the following, the questionnaire’s results are analysed. Several charts and figures illustrate how the respondents answered on the questions and at the same time the results are interpreted.

Based on this analysis, recommendations how to deal with the current situation and how to improve intercultural competences are given. Afterwards the results are critically reviewed.

In the end, chapter 4 includes a summary of this research paper as well as an outlook on future developments.

All three versions of the questionnaire (English, French and German) can finally be found in the appendix.



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
626 KB
Catalog Number
Institution / College
Northern Business School
Intercultural Competence Culture Globalisation Foreign Culture Kultur Interkulturelle Kompetenz Globalisierung International Compétences interculturelle Mondialisation



Title: An Empirical Research on the Increasing Importance of Intercultural Competences