5.2 Tools for Intercultural Competence

Have a look on our compilation of tools for intercultural competence development.

Animal Exercise

Field of application

Intercultural training

Resume / Brief description

 

The goal of the exercise is to make it clear to the participants that conflicts can be approached and solved in many different ways. In addition, the participants learn more about their own conflict style and learn to develop different perspectives in conflict resolution.

Target group

Students

Entrepreneurs

Colleagues of the same company or work team

Colleagues working in intercultural contexts

Professionals of different area

Group Size

This exercise can involve 10-30 participants. The ideal size is 15-20 participants.

Objectives

The Animal Exercise has the objective

  • To understand that there are different ways of conflict resolution
  • To gain experience about one's own conflict style
Requirements

Materials

 

  • 5 different pictures of animals (mouse, snake, elephant, dolphin, owl, lion)
  • Flipchart paper
  • Thick felt pens
  • 30 moderation cards
  • Large room with open space 

 Time

 

  • 60 minutes
  • Another 30-40 minutes for deeper learning

Implementation - Guidelines

 

 

 

 

1.        Preparation

 

  • Distribute animal pictures on the walls in the room with sufficient distance.
  • Write definition of conflict resolution on flipchart
  • Explain conflict styles
    • Verbal direct
    • Verbal indirect
    • Emotionally closed
    • Emotionally open

2.       Process

 

2.1.    Conflict situation (20 minutes)

 

  • Definition of “conflict"
  • Brainstorming: Collection of ideas for the respective animal images (conflict resolution strategy)
  • Further procedure: Ask the participants to stand up and explain the further procedure as follows:
    • “I will present a series of situations. Please listen carefully to the description.”
    • “Go to the animal symbol that best describes your own reaction in this situation. Remember: There is no right or wrong answer - it is important that you think about your own conflict resolution style in these situations.”
  • Description of the situation
    • Can be individually adapted to the target group: conflicts in private life - with friends - with strangers

2.2.   Evaluation (40 minutes)

 

  • Ask the participants to name different strategies for dealing with conflicts. Write the mentioned strategies on the moderation cards
  • Participants are asked to find definitions for direct or indirect language in conflicts, emotionally open or reserved behaviour
  • Explain that each participant has his or her own conflict style that can be categorised in a model, such as the Model of intercultural conflict styles according to Mitchell R. Hammer (Intercultural Conflict Style Model, www.icsinventory.com )
  • For example, assign the moderation cards with the behavioural patterns in conflicts to the appropriate fields.

3.       Debriefing

 

To debrief, you can reflect on the following questions:

  • Between which styles are conflicts most likely to escalate?
  • What strategies could be used to successfully resolve conflict between people with different styles?

4.       Deeper learning (30-40 minutes)

 

  • Divide the participants into 4 group and work on the following question:
    • "What are the strengths of each conflict style?"
  • Present results

Additional format/references

 

Thiagarajan, S. (2006). Thiagi´s 100 Favorite Games. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.

 

ICS Inventory (n.d.). Resolving Conflict across Cultural Boundaries: Using the Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory (ICS). Available at: https://icsinventory.com/

COMPANY PICNIC

Field of application

#Intercultural training

Resume / Brief description

 

Company picnic is a #role-playing game for a whole group, which involves everyone and has great #expressiveness. This activity presents a variant of an #improvisation game.

Target group

(including group size)

-         Participants:

  • Min. 12
  • Max. no limitation
  • Ideal: 25 to 50

Objectives

Role play for a whole group, justifying status-based behavior and its consequences 

Requirements

Material

Time

Time:

  • 10 to 20 minutes

Materials:

  • A set of poker playing cards with 52 cards. If you have a larger number of participants, you can also use two or more sets
  • Stopwatch
  • Signal (whistle, sound signal, etc.)

Implementation - Guidelines

 

 

 

 

PHASE 1: PROCESS

  1. Distributing the playing cards:
  2. Remove the joker cards and shuffle the playing cards. The participants come forward and receive one card each. Everyone holds them to their forehead, face forward, so that everyone but the person can see the card. No one may look at the card before the end of the game. If someone has seen the card due to carelessness, the person returns the card and receives a replacement.
  3. Creating the scenario and role assignment
  4. Provide the following background information and instructions in your own words:

•        They all work for a multinational accessories manufacturer and came together for a company picnic to celebrate a very successful first half of the year. In the following minutes you will interact with as many people as possible. Treat each person as if their status in the company is the same as the one on their forehead (two is the lowest card, ace is the highest) (two = post office, ace = CEO, king = member of the board). Their task is to give their counterpart subtle clues as to which card they have. At the same time, you have to assess the clues you receive from others about your card. Do not say anything to anyone directly about the map. And don't say anything you wouldn't normally say.

 

Start of the role play:

•         Give 4 minutes – Start of the stopwatch

 

End of the role play:

•         After 4 minutes you will stop the game, the participants are still not looking at their cards but should now form a line from the lowest status to the highest status. Nobody should be rebuked. When everyone is in line, the participants look at their cards to see how well they have guessed their status.

 

PHASE 2: DEBRIEFING

  • Questioning the participants about their feelings
  • Ask the participants if the role play reflected real events
  • Question about status symbols in reality
  • What if?
  • What if we only had one ace, but several deuces, threes?
  • What if during the role-play you met your boss who had a two? 

Additional format/references

 

Thiagarajan, S. (2016) p. 159-161

 

Thiagarajan, Sivasailam/ van den Bergh, Samuel: More Interactive Training Strategies for Improving Performance (Skript for the course “Interactive Training Strategies”, 4-6. June 2020, Winterthur, Schweiz), S. 166 ff.

STEREOTYPE EXERCISE

Field of application

Intercultural training

Resume / Brief description

 

 

Target group

(including group size)

-         Participants:

§  No limitation

§  Ideal: 15-25, from different countries  

Objectives

Recognizing stereotypes and differentiating between the two attitudes (judgement/ recognition), recognizing and questioning your own and others perceptions and judgements   

Requirements

Material

Time

Other

-         Time:

§  45-60 minutes (10-15 min for filling out and sticking on the slips of paper)

-         Materials:

§  Flipcharts one per nationality

§  Red and yellow post-it notes

§  Signal (whistle, sound signal, etc.)

§  Stopwatch

Implementation - Overview

 

Implementation - Guidelines

 

 

 

 

PHASE 1: PROCESS

§  Instruction of the participants: Distribute red and yellow post-it notes to all participants

§  Encourage them to reflect on their own and foreign cultures (criteria)

§  Consider which common stereotypes can be assigned to which culture/ criterion

§  Each participant should note down at least three cultures including their own characteristics

§  Clarification of the qualitative different between stereotyping and neutral perception

§  Description and allocation of the notes: Participants have 10 minutes to note down the stereotypes

§  After the time is up, a signal is given and the participants should present the notes on the corresponding flipcharts

§  Participants go to the flipchart of their country of origin, reflect on it and prepare a short presentation (approx. 2min)

§  Presentation of the results

 

PHASE 2: DEBRIEFING

§  What was learned? How can I act differently in the future?

Additional format/references

 

 

Thiagarajan, S. (2016) p. 164-166

 

Samuel van der Bergh

SITUATION CARDS 2: WORKING IN MULTICULTURAL TEAMS 

Field of application

#Intercultural training

Resume / Brief description

This card game encourages the participants to #reflect on different situations and to work out suitable proposals for action. It is a framework game that serves as a basis for the #investigation of various topics.

Target group

(including group size)

-         Participants:

§  Min. 3

§  Max.: any number, divided into groups of 3-7 members

§  Ideal: 15-30 in groups of 5-6 members 

Objectives

Reflection of different situations and development of appropriate proposals for action

Requirements

Material

Time

 

-         Time: 15-45 min

-         Materials:

§  Situation cards: set of 20-40 cards for each group, each card has a short description of a situation

§  Index cards: a sufficient number of cards for the players to record their answers

§  Stopwatches: One clock for the entire course of the game, one clock per group (2 min per situation card) (hourglass, electronic stopwatch, digital clock)

§  Handout per participant: “How to play situation cards?”

Implementation - Overview

The tool is implemented in three phases; each of them consists of several steps.

 

 

Implementation - Guidelines

 

 

 

 

PHASE 1: PREPARATION

-         Create situation maps based on the 4 criteria

§  Short scenario for relevant situation (see Twitter message)

§  Authenticity: Real situation of working people

§  Reality reference: vaguely defined situations from the real world instead of sophisticated situations that can be solved by the direct application of a certain technique

§  Good mix: positive and negative challenges

 

PHASE 2: PROCESS

§  Formation of play groups: Division into teams of 3-5 members

§  Distribution oft he aids to the groups: set of situation cards and index cards/ writing paper

§  Instruction: One copy of the handouts per participant – Answering open questions

§  Start of the first round: Determine one starting player per group – take the top card and read it out – set stopwatch to 15min

§  First round: Start player sets stopwatch to 2 min, after the time runs out, he collects the answer cards, reads them out and chooses the best one 

§  Continuation: Groups determine their next starting player and continue as before

§  End: At the end of the time the end of the game is announced, player with most points in each game group wins 

 

PHASE 3: DEBRIEFING

§  Discussion within the play group about what they have learned about the topic

§  After some time, ask the participants to choose a member of another group and share their insights with them

   

Templates, Graphics for download

 

Additional format/references

Thiagi Gameletter (monthly Online-Newsletter from Sivasailam Thiagarajan) http://www.thiagi.com/pfp.html (24.01.2014) completed by Annette Gisevius

 

Thiagarajan, S. (2016) p. 152-154

What is worth how much to whom?

Field of application

Dealing with #diversity

Resume / Brief description

 

From a list of values and characteristics that are important in their group, the participants identify those with the highest priority by comparing two #values

Target group

(including group size)

-         Participants:

§  Min. 10

§  Max. no limitation

§  Ideal: 20-30

Objectives

Determining the relative importance of different values that are important in teamwork

Requirements

Material

Time

Other

Time:

§  30-60 min (depending on the number of participants and number of values)  

 

Materials:

§  List “Values at work in intercultural teams”

§  Stopwatch

§  Signal

 

Room layout

§  Furnishing the mediators' corner with chairs

Implementation - Guidelines

 

 

 

 

PHASE 1: PREPARATION

§  Value cards: Take the list and select one value less than you have participants

§  Write each of the selected values on a separate card

 

PHASE 2: PROCESS

§  Choosing a mediator to take a seat in the meditator's seat

§  Distribution of value cards: Each participant except the mediator receives a card

§  Objective: Explain that each card contains a value that is important for cooperation. Value with the highest priority should be determined

§  determination takes 15min

§  Participants form pairs and prioritize the values on their cards

§  Continuation: Participant with the card that was not chosen gives it to the leader and goes to the mediator's corner - New couple formation and new selection process

§  Explaining the meditation: if the couples cannot decide, the mediator will do it

§  After the mediation, the couple sits down on the mediator chairs and the mediator goes to the playing area with the more important values card

§  End: As soon as only one participant has a value card, end the activity

 

PHASE 3: DEBRIEFING

§  What are the benefits of putting this value into practice?

§  How strongly is this value lived by the team members at the present time, and how does it show?

§  What would happen if this value was disregarded?

§  How can this value be lived in the collaboration?

§  How can the awareness and acceptance of this value be promoted among the team members?

Additional format/references

Thiagarajan, S. (2016) p. 203-206

UNRULY PARTICIPANTS

 

Field of application

Dealing with #diversity

Resume / Brief description

 

Different teams receive envelopes written with different categories of disruptive #behaviour. Participants collect guidelines on how to deal with their behaviour, write these guidelines on a card and put them in the envelope. The teams pass the cards on in rotation and thus develop guidelines. In the evaluation phase, the team members discuss the cards with the guidelines and determine the five best suggestions

 

Target group

(including group size)

Participants:

  • Min. 3
  • Max. 60
  • Ideal: 12-28

Objectives

#Learning strategies to deal with different categories of conspicuous and disruptive #behavior during teaching sessions

Requirements

Time:

  • 25-45 min

 

Materials:

  • Four envelopes
  • Three empty index cards per team
  • Stopwatch
  • Signal  

Online Implementation:

  • For envelopes/Stopwatch: Breakout sessions (or similar possibility to put the participants in different groups)
  • For index cards: Blank Word document / Handout shared before starting breakout sessions

Implementation - Guidelines

 

 

 

 

PHASE 1: PREPARATION

  • Select four categories for disruptive participants from the list
  • Label each of the four envelopes with a theme

 

 PHASE 2: PROCESS

  • Instruction of the participants
  • Remembering situations with unruly participants
  • Invite participants to consider strategies for prevention
  • Group classification
    • Division into four approximately equally sized groups with a maximum of 6 members
    • The teams sit in a circle to facilitate the exchange of envelopes
  • Distribution of the materials
    • Each team gets an envelope and three index cards

 

  • First round
    • Teams discuss guidelines on how to deal with the disruptive behavior under discussion
    • Guidelines are recorded on the index cards 
    • Duration: 3min
    • End of the first round: Index cards are put into envelope after sound signal and passed on to the next team
  • Second round
    • Participants think again about the next category
    • You are not allowed to look at the answers in the envelope
    • New answers will be put back in envelope
  • Third round
    • Runs like the rounds before

 

  • Evaluation stage
    • The cards in the envelopes are rated
    • The five best proposals all cards are selected
  • Presentation of the results
    • One person per team presents and discusses the results

 

PHASE 3: DEBRIEFING

  • Which category was the most difficult fo the participants?
  • Clarifying questions and comments

Additional format/references

Thiagarajan, S. (2016) p. 207-211

 

Thiagi Gameletter (monthly Online-Newsletter by Sivasailam Thiagarajan) http://www.thiagi.com/pfp.html (24.01.2014)

Dealing with difficult participants

Field of application

Dealing with diversity

Resume / Brief description

 

Participants collect words, thoughts and #behaviours of #difficult participants on life-size paper silhouettes to gain new #perspectives on their options for action

Target group

(including group size)

-         Participants:

§  Min. 4

§  Max. 30

§  Ideal: 8-20

Objectives

Learn #strategies for dealing with different categories of disruptive behavior during #interactive exercises and how to positively engage the participants concerned.

Requirements

Material

Time

Other

Time:

§  25-45 min

 

Materials:

§  20-30 sheets of flipchart paper

§  1 scissors

§  Masking tape

§  1 Edding

§  20 sheets each of colored and white A4 paper

§  10 pin boards or space on the wall to hang up silhouettes

Implementation - Guidelines

 

 

 

 

PHASE 1: PREPARATION

§  A paper silhouette is created for each difficult participant type with enough space to collect ideas and a short description of the participant type

§  Speech bubbles, hearts, plus signs made of paper

§  Blank pieces of paper with the following questions:

o   What does he/she wish...? (beside the heart)

o   What does he/she say...? (stick it next to the speech bubble)

o   What does he/she think...? (stick next to the head)

o   What does he/she contribute...? (next to the plus sign)

o   What does he/she...? (stick into the body at the height of the hands)

 

PHASE 2: PROCESS

§  Instruction of the participants

o   Presentation of the prototypes, ask the group to remember situations with difficult participants and invite the participants to write on the silhouettes according to the questions

o   Duration: 15-20 min 

§  Group division

o   Participants should assign themselves to the types with which they want to continue to work, per type at least 2 participants

§  Processing of the types

o   The teams discuss possibilities in dealing with the difficult participants and how to use their peculiarities productively for the group, results are recorded on the flipchart

o   Duration: 15-20min

§  Presentation of the results

o   3min time to present the most important ideas in dealing with their types

 

PHASE 3: DEBRIEFING

§  Short feedback round on the results and on the most important findings

Additional format/references

 

Thiagarajan, S. (2016) p. 212-214

 

www.intercultur.de Anette Gisevius

Auction of the values

Field of application

Dealing with #diversity

Target group

 

-         Participants:

  • Min. 8
  • Max. 20
  • Ideal: 10-14
  • If possible, for larger groups two trainers should be available to lead the evaluation phase

Objectives

Participants should be enabled to create a personal scale of #values, to defend them and to get to know themselves better through this

Requirements

 

Time: 30-45 min

 

Materials:

  • Pens
  • Copies of the value sheet
  • Hammer and stable board for the auction
  • Handout "Auction of values”

Online Implementation:

  • Handout&Value sheet as editable Word Document
  • "Auction atmosphere": Background image / Sound of hammer that can be played/shared
  • Option to "raise the hand" in the online meeting (e.g. zoom)

Implementation - Guidelines

 

 

 

 

PHASE 1: PREPARATION

  • Tables and chairs
  • The chairs are placed in rows one behind the other
  • In front of the first row, a table is placed as a podium to simulate an auction 

 

PHASE 2: PROCESS

  • Participants sit on chairs and receive a value sheet and pens  
  • The participants' task is to create a personal scale based on the list
  • Participants consider which of the listed values are important to them in order to bid for them (10-15min)
  • available rating: 20.000 wertons (cannot be overdrawn)
  • Gamemaster opens the auction of the values, in which the individual values are called and asked for bids
  • The highest bidder is awarded the contract
  • Auction is finished when all values are auctioned

 

PHASE 3: DEBRIEFING

  • Dividing into small groups of 6-8 people, each group is led by a trainer
  • Evaluation questions:
    • How satisfied are you overall with the outcome of the auction?
    • How difficult or easy was it for you to select the most important and worthy items for auction from a total of 21 values?
    • How did you feel when certain values that you didn't consider so important received a high bid?
    • How did you feel when you didn't have enough money to bid for a value that was particularly important to you?
    • What do their bids say about themselves?
    • What would they do differently in retrospect?
    • Are there parallels to real life in this exercise?

Additional format/references

 

Thiagarajan, S. (2016) p. 223-227

 

www.intercultur.de Anette Gisevius

 

THE COORDINATE MESH

Field of application

Dealing with #diversity

Resume / Brief description

 

This activity belongs in the category of structured #exchange and promotes #self-observation output and #self-confidence

The exercise should be done as an #individual activity.

Target group

(including group size)

-         Participants:

§  optional

Objectives

§  Recognition of personal likes and dislikes

§  Create a personal plan to achieve useful results

§  Appreciate what has been achieved and avoid the undesirable

§  Accepting things that are beyond your control

Requirements

Material

Time

Other

-         Time:

§  45-60min

 

-         Materials:

§  Handout “Fuel of your coordinate network for future action”

§  One coordinate grid per participant (fold a paper in the middle and then fold again - open the paper and number the quadrants with a fine line as follows

4

1

3

2

 

Implementation - Guidelines

 

 

 

 

PHASE 1: PROCESS

§  Write the following in the four quadrants:

o   1. Quadrant:

§  Create a list of things you want and currently have

o   2. Quadrant:

§  Create a list of things you want but do not have at the moment

o   3. Quadrant:

§  Create a list of things you don't want and currently don't have

o   4. Quadrant:

§  Create a list of things you do not want but currently have

 

PHASE 2: CONSOLIDATION

§  Go through the list of thought aids and if necessary, add something to the quadrants

 

PHASE 3: DEBRIEFING

§  “Reflect the process and your feelings when filling in the coordinate grid. I will now ask a series of questions. Think about the answers and try to find out what they mean”

§  Process Review:

o   Did you feel good or bad during the writing process?

o   Do you like or dislike thinking about yourself?

o   Did you feel calm and concentrated or rather harassed and unfocused?

o   Did you proceed systematically, or did you jump back and forth between the quadrants?

o   Did you proceed at a steady pace, or did you stay with one task for a short time or for a longer time with another?

o   Were you biased or did you feel as if someone else was analyzing you?

o   Did you always keep an eye on the time, or did you forget it completely?

o   Do you know how much time you spent on this activity? Did it take longer than you expected? Or less long?

o   Did the thought aids give you additional ideas? Or did you hardly get anything at all?

§  Content check

o   Which points came to your mind quickly and spontaneously? And which ones did you have to dig out slowly?

o   Which quadrants have more or less points than the others?

o   Which points did you think of many times in your life and which ones appeared out of nowhere?

o   Which points are about you directly and which are about other people?

o   Which points are about people, which are about objects?

§  Comparisons between two quadrants

o   Comparison of number and meaning of the points on the right side with those on the left side. What does this say about your focus on negative or positive aspects?

o   Comparison of the number and importance of the points in the upper half with those in the lower half of the coordinator network. What does this say about your focus on the current and future?

o   Compare the number and meaning of the points in the diagonally opposite Quadrants 1 and 3 with those of quadrants 2 and 4. What does this say about their tendency to optimism and pessimism, respectively?

 

PHASE 4: CONTINUATION OF THE DEBRIEFING

§  Each participant receives a handout "Fuel of your coordinate network for future action

§  Continually add points to the coordinate mesh when something new is bothering you

§  Pension scenario: Take a journey through time and imagine you end your career - how do the points in the coordinate grid change?

§  Role play: Pretend you are your own manager or mother - how would he or she fill out the coordinator network for you?

Additional format/references

Thiagarajan, S. (2016) p. 223-227

 

Thiagi Gameletter (monthly Online-Newsletter by Sivasailam Thiagarajan) http://www.thiagi.com/pfp.html (24.01.2014)

 

CLOCK ON THE CEILING

Field of application

Jolt, #perspective

Resume / Brief description

 

 

Target group

(including group size)

-         Participants:

§  Optional

Objectives

Experience and recognize a change of perspective

Requirements

Material

Time

Other

-         Time:

§  5-10 min

Implementation - Guidelines

 

 

 

 

PHASE 1: PROCESS

§  The participants rise

§  Ask her to point to the ceiling with her arm and index finger stretched out

§  The participants draw a circle with their finger, turning clockwise

§  Check if the direction is correct

§  After a few turns with the arm stretched out, ask the participants to continue the turn while rotating the arm down to chest level

§  Ask the question: "In which direction does your finger turn: clockwise or anti-clockwise?

§  Many participants will react irritated because they notice that they turn counterclockwise.  

§  Give the instruction to start over and concentrate better

§  When the first participants leave because they realize they have done nothing wrong, they stop and start the debriefing

 

PHASE 2: DEBRIEFING

§  Bring the discussion to the following conclusion: The finger always turns in the same direction, only our perspective changes.

§  Where in life does perspective play a decisive role?

Source

Thiagarajan, S. (2016) p. 29-30

Additional format/references

Thiagarajan, Sivasailam 2013, Interactive Techniques for Instructor-Led Training, S. 155

Synchronized Clapping

Field of application

Jolt, #experience of action

Resume / Brief description

 

Very easy, short exercise that requires no equipment and the size of the group does not matter

Target group

(including group size)

-         Participants:

§  Optional

Objectives

Participants experience that action has more effect than words

Requirements

Material

Time

Other

-         Time:

§  2min for the activity

§  10min for the debriefing

Implementation - Guidelines

 

 

 

 

PHASE 1: PROCESS

§  Ask the participants to clap their hands and wait until everyone has done so

§  Complain about the miserable result

§  You want all participants to clap at the same time, so that the listener can hear a single thunderclap

§  Indicate that you use a non-electronic power support system to ensure synchronization

§  You will count to three and then clap their hands. At the word "clapping" all should clap at the same time.

§  Now count "one, two, three". After the number three, you will clap without saying the word "clap”. After most participants have also clapped, they act surprised and now say "clap".

§  Ask the participants why they did not follow the instructions and did not wait for the word clapping. Someone will probably say, "But they clapped themselves." In response, ask them if they would throw themselves off the cliff just because they did.

 

PHASE 2: DEBRIEFING

§  What did the participants learn during the activity?

Source

Thiagarajan, S. (2016) p. 31

Additional format/references

Thiagi Gameletter (monthly Online-Newsletter from Sivasailam Thiagarajan) http://www.thiagi.com/pfp.html (24.01.2014)