Intercultural competence is today one of the most central themes of research in Intercultural Communication and other related fields, such as Linguistics, Psychology and Education. Intercultural competence is not, however, only a current topic for researchers. It is topical for practitioners (e.g., employees, employers, trainers) in various fields (e.g., business, diplomacy, development work, social work, health care).

In the globalizing world, research-based knowledge and information on intercultural competence is expected both in academia and one's professional life. Among others, the following questions are being asked:

  • What is intercultural competence?
  • What does it consist of?
  • What qualities should people have in order to be interculturally apt?
  • Is intercultural competence something one can learn?
  • Or to be trained in?
  • How can it be measured and evaluated?

During the last 25 years researchers from various fields - particularly psychology and communication - have tried to answer these questions. We shall be looking at these issues more closely in the following sections.

© Liisa Salo-Lee, 2006


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