What you will study
You’ll explore a different thematic focus across ten units, each one relevant to developing intercultural competence at work:
Unit 1 unpacks complex and seemingly broad concepts like culture, communication and intercultural communication. A clear understanding of the impact of these is central to analysing authentic professional interactions and dynamics in the workplace.
Unit 2 focuses on different properties and expectations of non-verbal communication that are relevant at work, such as body language and its potential meaning or interpretation.
Unit 3 focuses on the concept of identity. You’ll develop a critical understanding of national culture and national identity as well as the concepts of ‘othering’ and belonging.
Unit 4 aims to give you a deeper understanding of the processes of enculturation and acculturation at work and in society. It also shows how to recognise stereotyping and you’ll discuss why it is so common and how it can be avoided.
Unit 5 introduces the concept of ‘face’ – or the image or status we claim in a social setting - and discusses cultural variations and expectations of how politeness is expressed, also with regards to gender. It invites you to test your own unconscious biases.
Unit 6 examines different strategies of cultural adjustment and language policies when working abroad. It also unpacks rather abstract requirements like a ‘global mindset’ through the discussion of concrete examples.
Unit 7 discusses the impact of cultural differences on intercultural collaborations both online and in face-to-face encounters. You are also invited to try out one of the suggested team-building exercises via the course forum.
Unit 8 unpacks what intercultural conflict competence entails and what practices it requires to resolve conflict while being considerate of intercultural competence to result in a productive outcome for all.
Unit 9 focuses on the importance of changing perspectives and critically reflecting on worldviews that are treated as ‘normal’. The focus here lies on the categories of ‘East’ and ‘West’.
Unit 10 provides a summary of the key course content illustrating and reinforcing the skills you have acquired throughout the course.
Please note that although this course is non-accredited, it can be used towards the module Making your learning count (YXM130) to gain OU credits.
You will learn
By the end of this course, you will:
- understand the implications of simplistic and reductionist definitions of culture
- be aware of how to accommodate for different communication styles
- be able to recognise and prevent ‘othering’ and stereotyping
- have critically evaluated narratives that appear to be objective and ‘normal’
- understand how recognising someone’s frame of reference is crucial to mediate between cultures
- be more aware of how your own attitude is crucial in becoming an effective and empathetic communicator at work.
The course is taught entirely online, with the aid of a learning adviser to offer support where needed. You will have access to online forums that you are strongly encouraged to participate in, as they are an excellent source of support and information. These forums combine peer support with input from the specialist learning adviser(s). Other support is available via the StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.
If you have a disability
The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs.
The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying LG004 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.