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Toward an Operational Definition of Cross-Cultural Competence from Interview Data

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The task documented here is part of a project to support Cultural Readiness for the Department of Defense. The purpose of this project is to derive a preliminary operational definition of cross-cultural competence and test and validate related measures in the military population. We define measurement for this purpose as establishing an understanding of the level of expertise in the target population. Cross-cultural competence CCC is the expertise which enables an individual in the military to perform in any number of cultures to achieve organizational goals in contrast to more specific regional knowledge and language skills. The first part of this task, previously reported, was to operationalize the definition of CCC by using constructs previously investigated in the literature. The second half of this task, documented here, further develops the operational definition using the findings of critical incident interviews conducted to examine the role of cultural competence within the context of mission success. The five interview participants from the DEOMI class consisted of NCOs with recent Iraq deployment experience. The data from the DEOMI interviews was not sufficiently rich in a variety of mission types, depth of experience, or military branches examined. For that reason, data from four other interviews were added to our data set to increase our insights during analysis for a total of nine interviews all male Army. Participants were asked to perform the task of placing their team members without relaying identifying information on a continuum and indicating the relative cultural competence of each team member where it was possible to identify a specific team or key people with whom the respondent typically worked. Interview participants were then asked to discriminate those different people on the continuum in terms of what specifically about the person caused them to be ranked at that level.

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  • Sociology and Law
  • Psychology
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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