Cultural competence/Defense Language Office Framework for Cross-cultural Competence

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Gabrenya (2011) [1] present a complex component model developed for the military since 2008 [2] and that has been partly validated in the study. The authors distinguish between low-level competencies and enablers (i.e. antecedent variables) that can be combined into higher-level categories and constructs.


C1. Culture General Concepts and Knowledge
C1.1a Acquires … culture-general concepts and knowledge
C1.1b Applies culture general concepts and knowledge
C1.2 Comprehends and navigates intercultural dynamics
C3. Cultural Perspective - Taking
C3.1 Demonstrates an awareness of one’s own world view (i.e. cultural perceptions, assumptions, values, and biases) and how that influences our behavior and that of others. Understands how one’s own group is viewed by members of another group
C3.2 Understands and applies perspective-taking skills to detect, analyze, and consider the point of view of others and recognizes how the other will interpret his/her actions
C3.3 Takes the cultural context into consideration when interpreting situational cues
C4. Communication
C4.1 Acquires and applies knowledge and concepts of intercultural communication skills
C4.2 Employs human and material resources to facilitate intercultural communication
C5. Interpersonal Skills
C5.1 Develops and maintains rapport. Builds relationships in support of mission performance
C5.2 - Manage and resolve conflict in support of mission objectives
C6. Cultural Adaptability
C6.1 Understands the implications of one’s actions and adjusts approach to maintain relationships with other groups, or cultures
C6.2 Minimize/maximize, adjust, or integrate cultural differences according to operational demands


E1. Cognitive Bias Resilience
E1.1 Tolerance of ambiguity: Accepts, or does not feel threatened by, ambiguous situations and uncertainty. Manages uncertainty in new and complex situations where there is not necessarily a “right” way to interpret things.
E1.2 Low need for closure: Restrains from settling on immediate answers and solutions, and remains open to any new information that conflicts with those answers.
E1.3 Suspending Judgment: Withholds personal or moral judgment when faced with novel experiences, knowledge and points of view. Perceives information neutrally and withholds or suspends judgment until adequate information becomes available
E1.4 Inclusiveness: Tendency to include and accept things (including people) based on commonalities rather than dividing things into groups or categories; emphasizes commonalities and minimizes differences.
E2. Emotional Resilience
E2.1.1 Stress Resilience: Tolerates emotionally shocking, frustrating, or exhausting circumstances; can retain task focus and enthusiasm, even when faced with repeated setbacks, failures and obstacles to success; demonstrates tendency for positive emotional states and to respond calmly and steadfastly to stressful events
E2.1.2 Avoids adopting stress-induced perspectives that overly simplify culture
E2.1.3 Acts as a calming influence
E2.2 Emotion Regulation: Regulates/controls one’s own emotions and emotional expression to support mission performance
E3. Self-Identity Resilience
E3.1 Self Confidence: Believes in one's capabilities to mobilize the motivation, cognitive resources, and courses of action needed to meet situational demands
E3.2 Self-Identity: Demonstrates ability to maintain personal values independent of situational factors
E3.3 Optimism: Views problems as solvable challenges and as exciting learning opportunities.
E4. Learning Motivation
E4.1.1 Learning through Observation: Gathers and interprets information about people and surroundings to increase awareness about own treatment and how to treat others.
E4.1.2 Sensemaking motivation: Is motivated to make sense of inconsistent information about social rules and norms;
E4.1.3 Knowledge acquisition: Continually learns and updates own knowledge base as new situations are encountered.
E4.2 Inquisitiveness: Is receptive towards, and takes an active pursuit of understanding ideas, values, norms, situations, and behaviors that are new and different. Demonstrates curiosity about different countries and cultures, as well as interest in world and international events.
E5. Social Interaction
E5.1.1 Social Flexibility: Presents self to others in a manner that creates favorable impressions, facilitates relationship building, and influences others
E5.1.2 -- Is able to modify ideas and behaviors, … to be receptive to new ways of doing things.
E5.1.3 -- Is able to compromise
E5.2 Willingness to Engage: Actively seeks out and explores unfamiliar cross-cultural interactions and regards them positively as a challenge.

  1. W.K. Gabrenya Jr., R.G. Moukarzel, M.H. Pomerance, H. Griffith, J. Deaton, A validation study of the Defense Language Office Framework for Cross-cultural Competence. Technical report, Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (2011) Retrieved from (March 2016)
  2. Johnston, J. H., Paris, C., McCoy, C. E. E., Severe, G., & Hughes, S. C. (2010). A framework for cross-cultural competence and learning recommendations. Technical Report, Naval Air Warfare Center, Training and Systems Division