Summary and Keywords
Cultural competence refers to an individual’s potential to function effectively in intercultural situations. The myriad conceptualizations of cultural competence can be broadly classified as intercultural traits (enduring personal characteristics that describe what a person typically does in intercultural situations); attitudes (perceptions and evaluations of other cultures); and capabilities (what a person can do to function effectively in intercultural contexts). In terms of empirical evidence, a review of existing report-based instruments (i.e., measures that involve self- or observer-perceptions of cultural competence) shows that only three instruments (Cultural Intelligence Survey, CQS; Multicultural Personality Questionnaire, MPQ; and Intercultural Adjustment Potential Scale, ICAPS) demonstrate strong psychometric properties and incremental predictive validity across cultures. Notably, the CQS has the most extensive evidence on its predictive validity. The field is also seeing an emergence of performance-based measures of cultural competence in the form of situation judgment tests. Finally, there is considerable research on interventions to grow cultural competence and intelligence in individuals. Meta-analyses and systematic reviews generally concluded that training enhances the development of cultural competence and intercultural effectiveness. Effect sizes, however, vary depending on training and trainee characteristics. The field of cultural competence is at an exciting nexus of globalization, increasing diversification within nations, and technological advancements. We suggest that future research should (1) extend our conceptualization of cultural competence to include managing vertical differences rooted in power and status disparity; (2) expand our measurement from psychometric approaches to the use of multimodal analytics; and (3) expand our criterion space of cultural learning.
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