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Interpreting the

The Intercultural Competency Scale

A description of the Factors and the Total Score
Muriel I. Elmer, Ph.D.

I. APPROACHABLE - establishes contact with others easily
A high APPROACHABLE score suggests that you enjoy people and they find it easy to talk with you. In another culture approachability tends to build trust and help break down the suspicions inherent in cultural differences.
II. INTERCULTURAL RECEPTIVITY - interested in people, especially people from other cultures.
A high INTERCULTURAL RECEPTIVITY score suggests that you are drawn toward people who are different from yourself and find them interesting. Consequently, you will better understand their values, customs, and beliefs. This characteristic tends to facilitate task performance and enhances relationships with host-country people.
III. POSITIVE ORIENTATION - the expectation that one can be a success living and working in another culture.
A high POSITIVE ORIENTATION score indicates that you expect to be able to adjust and function well in another culture. Research has shown that people who look positively toward their move into another culture adjust better, as long as those expectations are also realistic.
IV. FORTHRIGHTNESS - acts and speaks out readily
A high FORTHRIGHTNESS score suggests that the host-country people will be able to read you readily and will find it easier to trust you. Consequently, it will be easier to make friends. In most non-Western cultures, a warm friendly relationship is prerequisite for a good working relationship. Some restraint in pushing ahead with one's own ideas and activities is certainly desirable in a new cultural setting. However, when such restraint is motivated by a need to hide one's feelings and intentions from others it can be detrimental to relationships. Such hesitancy would make it more difficult to read your intentions and predict your behavior.
V. SOCIAL OPENNESS - the inclination to interact with people regardless of their differences
A high SOCIAL OPENNESS score indicates that you probably enjoy interacting with people who are different than yourself. It will make it much easier for you to learn from host nationals in the field.
VI. ENTERPRISE - the tendency to approach tasks and activities in new and creative ways
A high ENTERPRISE score indicates a creative approach to tasks and activities. It suggests that you are able to entertain several options when planning activities--a real strength when you encounter many unexpected difficulties in the cross-cultural context.
VII. SHOWS RESPECT - treats others in ways that make them feel valued
A high score on the SHOWS RESPECT factor suggests that you value others. Making others feel valued often prevents our very American tendency to come off looking superior. This characteristic facilitates healthy dialogue and relationship-building with host-country people.
VIII. PERSEVERANCE - the tendency to remain in a situation and feel positive about it even in the face of some difficulties
A high PERSEVERANCE score indicates that you have a higher tolerance for ambiguity in social situations. You are able to remain in a situation where you feel uncomfortable. This characteristic should stand you in good stead overseas where you often find that you do not understand what is going on. Not withdrawing from the situation will help you grow in your understanding.
IX. FLEXIBILITY - open to culture learning
A high FLEXIBILITY score suggests your willingness to be a learner in another culture, a powerful way to open a window on the world of the host-country people.
X. CULTURAL PERSPECTIVISM - the capacity to imaginatively enter into another cultural viewpoint
A high CULTURAL PERSPECTIVISM factor score means that you probably have the capacity to understand and accept other cultural worldviews. Given this capacity, you should be able to communicate more effectively because you are aware of the other person's frame of reference. It also means you will probably be more alert to how host-country people are perceiving you.
XI. VENTURESOME - inclined toward that which is novel or different
A high VENTURESOME score indicates that you will thrive on the novelty of the cross-cultural context.
XII. SOCIAL CONFIDENCE - tends to be self-assured
A high SOCIAL CONFIDENCE score suggests a strength. It will help tide you through those early days in the field when you encounter so much ambiguity. This basic confidence in social situations will make it easier to take the risk of interacting with people in the new cultural situation. Don't allow that confidence, however, to keep you from a learning posture.
A high TOTAL score on the INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCY SCALE indicates your overall capacity to build highly effective relationships with host-country people. This, in turn, will assist you to accomplish your task in that culture.
The Intercultural Competency Scale © 2010 Muriel I. Elmer Ph.D.

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