Culture is a central term of the research project. But what does this word mean? There is no standard definition for it. If you try to sum up the different explanations, it results in culture is depicted in adaptive interactions one the one hand. These adaptive interactions include speech, concepts, symbols, religion, pattern of behaviour and social pattern. On the other hand culture consists of common elements (e.g. speech, time and location) that are passed for longer periods of time and serval generations. Culture did not depend on one person, it is only passed by him to the next generation. (Kroeber & Kluckhohn (1990), cited by Genkova, P. 2012). So persons of one culture are kind of similar. Because of this the interaction with people of the own culture is easy – the people are familiar with it. The similarity creates a way of sympathy. In contrast to that there are often prejudices and stereotypes against people of other cultures. That means there is a (non-founded) prejudgement against another group of persons. These group look ‘strange’ to yourself so the attitude is often negative (Genkova, P. 2012).
Within interactions of two (or more) people problems and misapprehension are arise often.
This may start in the acting of welcome: In one country it is normal to greet another person with a kiss on its cheek, while in another country distance is kept e.g. by taking a bow.
If you want to obviate this, it is important to assemble knowledge on the foreign culture. As well it is relevant to get awareness of the impression of the own behaviour on other people (Thomas, A. 2014).
In that context intercultural competency is named often. Intercultural competency is a very complex construct, which includes different skills. There is no standard definition for it. Thomas (2016) gives the explanation that it is the skill to identify situations of cultural overlapping and to understand the course of process as well as the effects of the own and foreign organisation systems.
On that basis strategies for action will be deflected that includes the targets of all involved persons.
So the situation of cultural overlapping can be managed satisfactory for all parties and the understanding for the other culture is boosted.
Requirement for developing intercultural competency is to have the willingness for dealing with foreign organisation systems as well as the interest for intercultural contact (Thomas, 2016).
To sum up, the acquirement of intercultural competency is a process of learning and development. The adoption of knowledge on other cultures should be combined with personal contact and the critical review on the own culture (Thomas, 2016). According to Zee and Von Oudenhoven (2008) cultural empathy, open-mindedness, emotional stability, flexibility and social initiative support the development of intercultural competency. A collocation of the different results of research you can find in 5. Model of competencies.
In a nutshell intercultural competency names the skill to interact with persons of other cultures in a safe manner. The behaviour of the other people is evaluated right and the own behaviour is adjusted to it, so misapprehensions can be avoided.
How can be measured if a person is intercultural competent? Meanwhile different questionnaire are developed to measure intercultural competency. These focus different priorities. Some of this you find below:
- Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (MPQ; Van der Zee & Van Oudenhoven, 2000): measures cultural empathy, open-mindedness, emotional stability, flexibility and social initiative
- Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS; Deardorff, 2006): is based on the model of attitude change. That changings are clustered in cognitive (adoptions and convictions), affective (feelings and emotions) and behaviour level. This different levels are included in the CQS
- Sociolcultural Adjustment Model (Ward, Bochner & Furnham, 2001): focus on factores of stress and liabilities
- Diversity Organisationskultur (Harrsion und Klein, 2007): focusses the interaction with people of other cultures in organisations and the new requirement on management.
- Scale ‚social identity` (Orth, Broszkiewiccz & Schütte, 1996)
- Questionnaire for strategies of acculturation - a scale of Berry, Kalin & Taylor (1977): special focus lays on strategies of integration and takeover of culture (respectively on adaption to another culture)
There are many other measuring instruments and scales in that frame. The short version of the inventory of social competency (ISK-K) from Kanning (2009) is also used often while collocating the questionnaire. For example, empathy and sensitivity can be measured with it.
The research indicated that the contact with people of other cultures can be trained by the Critical Incident Methodi and the Cultural Assimilator in a very good way.
This methods of training were developed to get an efficient communication in cultural heterogeneous groups (Kosowski, 2010). Their principle is that intercultural misapprehension are based on culture-specific patters of interpretation. The behaviour of the interacting partner is irritating or interpreted in a wrong way (Kumbruck & Derboven, 2016). Because of that reason a better understanding of other cultures should be gained by the training with problem-based case studies. These case studies can be transferred into praxis e.g. in the work routine.
By using the Critical Incident Method the case study is analysed in a group – what did happen? Where could problems or misunderstandings occur? Subsequent to that a discussion about different ways of acting is started. The target is to find a good approach for praxis in similar situations.
The Cultural Assimilator is kind of further development of the Critical Incident Method. But the approaches for acting are pretended (usually four), one of these are the ‘best-way-of-acting’. The concrete way of acting is written down.
A big advantage of the method is the flexible application. The case studies can be adapted to different contexts, target groups and dimensions. So they can be used by different groups that communicate in an intercultural context. The methods help to train the contact with people of foreign cultures and to understand these cultures (Kosowoski, 2010).
Matt Flynn, University of Hull, email@example.com
Louise Wong, Wai Yin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elaine Dewhurst, University of Manchester, email@example.com Petia Genkova, University of Osnabrueck, firstname.lastname@example.org Christoph Daniel Schaefer, University of Osnabrueck, email@example.com
Research topic for Frontiers in Psychology
We are proposing research topic on ageing and migration. We are looking for contributions from colleagues in the academic, migration groups, policy bodies, and third sector communities. Contributions include original research, systematic reviews, community case studies, research reports and policy reviews. In order to propose the topic, we need to generate a list of thirty contributors. If you are interested in making a contribution, please email Matt Flynn (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your proposed contribution. This is just an indicative list of contributions so we are just gauging interest. Please let us know your interest by 22 April 2021.
As populations age, there is a growing interest amongst policymakers, businesses, and other stakeholders on ways to enable older people to 'actively age' through: interventions to promote healthy ageing; participation in social, economic, and civic affairs; and ensuring physical, social and income security. Older people's access to resources necessary for ageing well is impacted by socio-economic status. This in turn, draws attention to the policy and resource needs of communities of older people. One such community is older immigrants, those whom Warnes et al (2004) termed 'ageing in place', including economic migrants, asylum seekers and undocumented workers. For many, their life courses are characterized by precarious and disrupted careers, inaccessibility to public resources, and social isolation. In addition to age and race intersecting to create unique forms of discrimination. Thus, a multi- disciplinary focus is needed to apply an Active Ageing framework (World Health Organization, 2002) to enhance the lives of older immigrants.
The goal of this Research Topic is explore how the WHO's Active Ageing framework can be used to understand how older immigrants experience the social, economic, and personal experience of ageing; the barriers which they face to ageing well; and the public and social policy challenges of ensuring safe, participative, and healthy ageing within the older immigrant population. A multi-disciplinary approach is needed to understand older immigrants’ experiences of ageing and identify ways to promote active ageing. This Research Topic aims to explore how older immigrants' past experiences in social, economic, and civic spheres impact on present experiences preparing for and living through retirement, family and community engagement, and end of life care. It also seeks to generate a dialogue on the ways in which policy makers, businesses, third sector organizations and older immigrants themselves can enhance active ageing within this community.
Call for papers
We welcome original research, systematic reviews, community case studies, research reports and policy reviews as well as general commentaries and opinion pieces on active ageing and immigration. Contributions are welcome from the perspectives of migration studies, public and social policy, sociology, health, psychology, and business, although this list is not exhaustive. To enhance the policy impact of this Research Topic, we especially encourage co-produced contributions between academics and members of immigrant communities. We welcome contributions addressing:
- How older immigrants experience ageing within social, economic and personal spheres
- Barriers which older immigrants face in ageing well
- Social and public policy challenges in enabling active ageing within the immigrant population
- The intersection of age and migration status in terms of lived experience
- Examples of good practice in active ageing with immigrants and how it can be disseminated, shared, and embedded.