Intercultural Competence Predicts Intercultural Effectiveness: Test of an Integrative Framework

Why does someone thrive in intercultural situations; while others seem to struggle? In 2014, Leung and colleagues summarized the literature on intercultural competence and intercultural effectiveness into a theoretical framework. This integrative framework hypothesizes that the interrelations between intercultural traits, intercultural attitudes and worldviews, and intercultural capabilities predict the effectiveness with which individuals respond to intercultural situations. An empirically verified framework can contribute to understanding intercultural competence and effectiveness in health care workers, thus contributing to more equity in health care. The present study sets out to test this integrative framework in a specific health care context. Future health care practitioners (N = 842) in Flanders (Belgium) were questioned on all multidimensional components of the framework. Structural equation modeling showed that our data were adequate to even a good fit with the theoretical framework, while providing at least partial evidence for all hypothesized relations. Results further showed that intercultural capabilities remain the major gateway toward more effective intercultural behavior. Especially the motivation and cognition dimensions of cultural intelligence seem to be key factors, making these dimensions an excellent target for training, practical interventions, and identifying best practices, ultimately supporting greater intercultural effectiveness and more equity in health care.

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