Intercultural Competence


Intercultural competence—the ability to function effectively across cultures—affects performance at all organizational levels. This guide outlines the importance of increasing intercultural competence and recommends how to boost it while reducing bias against people with non-dominant identities.

You'll learn architecture’s challenges—including white male–dominated structures, the hero-architect trope, and extreme criticism—clash with collaborative practices, work-life balance, and practitioners’ diverse backgrounds. This guide covers questions to assess organizations’ intercultural competence levels along with concrete steps individuals and firms can take to create a level playing field and effect structural change.


Chapter 1: Intercultural Competence >

Intercultural competence and bias

A Conversation on Race - New York Times (2017)

Series of videos featuring conversations with people of many different races to demonstrate a variety of experiences of people in the United States.

Have a Conversation on Race >

Everyday Bias: Further Explorations into How the Unconscious Mind Shapes Our World at Work - Howard Ross - Cook Ross (2014)

Overview on what unconscious bias is, why it happens, and why it is important, including research that has been done on ways unconscious bias is prevalent in the workplace. The second half of the report has ways to recognize and address unconscious bias.

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Implicit Bias Review and Annual Reports - Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity (2016)

General overview of implicit bias and comprehensive annual reviews of current research across difference fields. Includes research in assessment and mitigation.

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Tools and toolkits

Bias Interrupters

Tool kits and worksheets for individuals and organizations to interrupt bias.

Learn more about Bias Interrupters >

Building Culturally Competent Organizations - University of Kansas

Part of the Community Toolbox, a set of chapters that provide actionable steps to improve community-building skills. Chapter 27 focuses on cultural competence; section 7 describes what a culturally competent organization is and lists several ways to build cultural competence.

Learn more about Building Culturally Competent Organizations >

What is Unconscious Bias?

An implicit association or attitude that operates beyond our control and awareness, informs our perception of a person or social group, and can influence our decision-making and behavior toward the target of the bias.

Learn more about Unconscious Bias? >

What is Covering?

How people attempt to combat and minimize the impact of negative bias on themselves.

Learn more about Covering? >

Flip the Script

Offers alternatives to harmful language in the workplace that reinforces negative stereotypes and hampers individual authenticity. Recommended language regarding race and ethnicity, LGBTQ, women, and men.

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Be Inclusive Everyday

Series of infographics, overviews, and ways to combat unconscious bias.

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Diversity Toolkit: A Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege - University of Southern California (2017)

Group activities to facilitate discourse about diversity challenges: identity, power, and privilege.

Learn more about Identity, Power, and Privilege >

Implicit Association Tests - Project Implicit

Several different categories of implicit association tests for individuals to evaluate their level of implicit bias. Some categories include race, gender, disability and sexuality.

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Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) - Mitchell Hammer

Assessment of intercultural competence. Test evaluates mindsets on a scale from monocultural to intercultural: denial, polarization, minimization, acceptance, adaptation.

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The 6-D Model of National Culture - Geert Hofstede

Six fundamental dimensions of cultural differences between nations. A useful framework for diagnosing difference and conflict and bridging gaps.

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Image credits


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