IN SEARCH OF A MODEL OF INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE
The paper deploys from the holistic perception of modelling as an effective way to comprehend, discuss, teach or manage complicated matters. The design of a model starts with breaking down the discussed phenomenon into bite size chunks, which are then abstracted and surveyed. The outcome is a simplified version of the chunks called a model, whose main application is to enable studying of the complicated matters and to help construct scientific concepts on them. Modelling and conceptualization are often applied in different scientific fields, including intercultural communication and required competence, for compiling conceptual models that represent theoretical reasoning structured and easier to understand. However, in many cases the notions of "model", "concept" and "graphical representation" are used synonymously and as a consequence the term “a conceptual model” of intercultural competence refers to both the theoretical content itself and its graphic image. In addition, the academic literature offers a rich variety not only of visual representations but also of definitions on this topic such as intercultural adaptation, cultural sensitivity, global citizenship, and intercultural efficiency, based on the branch of interest of the specific scientist. Finding grounds in some previous studies on the topic, this article integrates some concepts and offers another point of view on the theoretical discussion and definition of intercultural competence. Firstly, the paper discusses basic principles in the synthesis and visualization of diagrams according to the Polish philosopher Alfred Tarsky's Theory of Models and thus introduces a more structured approach to modelling. Secondly, according to the presented rules, it analyses several models on intercultural competence, published in the scientific literature and classifies them by applying the dialectical approach to intercultural communication as proposed by Martin and Nakayama. Against this background, the article finally discusses and evaluates the characteristics of the "Integrated Process Model of Intercultural Competence" based on the basic principles of "Theory of Models" and applying the dialectical point of view to the analysis of communication processes in a multicultural environment. The discussed model was applied to study the development of intercultural competence in multicultural teams with cross-border projects within the Romania - Bulgaria Cross-Border Cooperation Program 2007-2013. The survey uses both qualitative and quantitative methods, all based on the model. This coherence in conceptualization and modelling leads to the conclusion that "The Integrated Process Model of Intercultural Competence" can be considered a serious contribution to adopting a more coherent approach to the study of intercultural competence. This model can be useful not only for understanding the subject matter but also for designing artificial intelligence software.
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