The Consequences of Different Perceptions: the Intercultural Competence

The Efteling – located in the Netherlands – is a welcoming and creative company. Now, a statement like this can provoke a number of different reactions. Group A might fully agree, group B is doubtful or has no clear vision towards the topic and group C will oppose the statement. This is a perspective; a way of regarding and thinking about situations, facts and objects. Every given moment over 11.000.000 inputs shape these perspectives, luckily the focus is only on a selection of that! Just imagine the difficulties one could have implementing a new concept when not understanding other perspectives: the novelty is not appreciated by your guests, your co-workers are resisting the change and what more.  In our personal and professional careers, we all encounter people with different views on life. To see the world through another person’s eyes requires effort, but is essential to meet his or her needs.

This scenario might be a bit exaggerated and is unlikely to happen, yet it does explain the contents of the course ICC – Intercultural Competence. Where is this competence used in the field?  In modern marketing – where the customer is the starting point of product development – the manager researches the psychology of the target group before production and adjust to his or needs as accurately as possible. Also in project management, the project leader should research expectations of the client in order to meet and exceed them. In Operations, the managers should constantly be occupied with finding the points of improvement and hopefully prevent irritation among guests. In short, a manager will have to deal with perspectives in each field and should find the best way to tackle any issues.

From healthy food options in zoos to giving names to animals, the topics for this project were diverse. Any topic around the zoo industry was fine, as long as it led to a discussion. Annet Ghering, our lecturer for ICC, guided us towards the completion of the assignment for this course. We had the freedom to choose and contact three stakeholders, which we interviewed or researched online and then analysed. Eventually, the complete perspectives and underlying values were discovered. Then the task was to suggest an activity to start the process of reconciliation; bringing the parties together and combining the similarities with each other to create synergy – meaning that the combined force is stronger than the individual force. So, in short, what did the project teach us? To look from another person’s view and to search for solutions instead of focusing on the problems. And also that the statement is not limited to three perspectives, but that there is an enormous amount of different options. Everyone is either your personal or professional environment is unique and working on understanding one another can only be beneficial.


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