ix
Introduction—
How To Use This Book
George Simons, Jonamay Lambert, and Selma Myers
Editors
This manual of 50 Activities for Achieving Cultural Competence brings you a reliable collection
of activities that increase the competence of those who must work across cultures to accomplish
their daily tasks. It contains training and coaching tools and instruments. All have been devel-
oped, tested, and used successfully in business and other organizational settings by a select group
of experienced intercultural training professionals from around the world.
From Diversity to Global Management
In the 1980s and 1990s, diversity initiatives focused on changing demographics in the United
States, Canada, Australia, and a number of European countries, specifically focusing on the
increase of women and minorities in the workforce and how to successfully create an environ-
ment where everyone can contribute to their full potential. Some countries experienced substan-
tial challenges in diversity and equity-management areas, as well as challenges in acculturation
of newcomers: South Africa and nations receiving influxes of refugees and immigrants are par-
ticularly vulnerable in those areas.
It was the business sector in many of these countries that first began to use that diversity for
competitive advantage. People began to acquire the leadership skills necessary to manage a
diverse workforce. As we move into the 21st century, incorporating those cultural differences
into our work will become a key dimension of diversity, global management, and intercultural
competence initiatives.
As the global business world becomes more accessible, interactions across cultures will become
the norm. In the past, companies sent professionals on two- to three-year assignments to specific
countries. While this trend continues, a greater number of professionals challenged by cultural
diversity issues today require a broad understanding of many different cultures, rather than a
thorough understanding of only one. More often than not, we find ourselves members of long-
distance, virtual project teams representing five or six cultures.
The editors and contributors of this book exemplify this trend. The entire project was completed
in roughly nine months without any of us meeting face-to-face specifically for the purposes of
this project. Some of us work side-by-side with colleagues from several different countries, and
the team itself is a mix of many cultures. Though we often work virtually, many of us attend
meetings around the globe.

Get 50 Activities for Achieving Cultural Competence now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.