Cultural Competencies: Curriculum


M-POWER’s “Cultural Competencies Program” curriculum has 7 learning modules.  Each module is designed as a 2-hour session. The course can be scheduled for completion within a shorter or longer time-period depending upon client needs and expert/instructor availability. The following is an outline of the curriculum:

1. INTRODUCTION TO CULTURE & THE “FALLACY OF LIKENESS”: Critical and practical examination of culture. What is it? Why is it important? How does it shape our attitudes, beliefs, and interactions with others?

2. CORE COMPETENCIES OF BUSINESS CULTURE: COMMUNICATION: Discuss different cultural norms, communication styles of Europeans, and cultural differences in non-verbal communication.  Explore active listening strategies to help bridge communication gaps across cultural divides as well as some of the most common interactions in which we are likely to encounter cultural differences (presentations, forming/building a client relationship, negotiations, disputes, and conflict resolution).

3. CORE COMPETENCIES: RELATIONSHIP BUILDING & TRUST: Examine how relationships are established and trust is built across cultures. Examine “cognitive” versus “affective” trust and how it impacts business cultures.

4. CORE COMPETENCIES: BUSINESS ETHICS: Explore global business ethics from American and Western European perspectives. Engage in a critical examination and discussion of ethical issues, their origins and how they are addressed across cultures. Examine cross cultural variations and differences in organizational structures and practices. Review different approaches across cultures to corporate governance, sustainability, and social responsibility.

5. CORE COMPETENCIES: RISK CULTURE: Critical examination of different business risk cultures in the U.S. and Western Europe, what it consists of, how it influences the behaviors, attitudes, interactions, and decision-making.  Dissect common forms of risk analysis that range from strategic, financial, and operational decision-making to legal and reputational assessments. Discuss media relations and how publicity, promotion and branding are viewed differently across cultures.

6. CORE COMPETENCIES: NEGOTIATION & CONFLICT RESOLUTION: Focus on negotiation and conflict resolution. Explore different approaches to negotiation and dispute resolution by Americans and Western Europeans. Review diverse cultural expectations in both process and outcome. Offer students techniques for using persuasive communication strategies and methods to transform competition and conflict into cooperation.

7. FINAL EXAM/INDIVIDUAL CONSULTING SESSION: Student role-play exercises. Each student will be given a written scenario that presents a challenging that requires him/her to interact with a European counterpart, who will also participate in the role-play exercise. Each student will have 7-10 minutes to complete the exercise and achieve the objective of the specific role-play scenario.  Each session will then be followed by a 5-7-minute group discussion with constructive feedback from the instructor. The final role-play exercises are designed to enable students to observe, utilize and practice the skills and strategies covered throughout the course.

Milano: 21st century business meets the renaissance.

Where feasible, we recommend that the final session be scheduled to occur in Milan, Italy.  With this offering, we build a full day itinerary that allows us to complete the course with a full day of “real world” training and orientation. Our Milan itinerary includes the 7th module.  Then we will have a panel presentation and discussion with Italian and European business professionals. They will offer advice on best practices for integrating successfully into the business culture. This presentation will be followed with a networking session with local business professionals from diverse industries. This session gives our students the opportunity to interact directly with their future professional peers. Finally, we conduct our individual counseling sessions and exit interviews with students while they are in Milan.