STEMskiller: Skill Set Map for Mentors of Early Career Researchers

CAREER MANAGEMENT: Leadership and teamwork

Intercultural collaboration skills: acting successfully in an international academic environment (includes international awareness, international communication)


At some point in their careers, early career researchers will likely collaborate with colleagues from other cultures (at conferences, during the peer review process for articles, as part of international research teams). While governments or trans-governmental organizations may support collaborative efforts in various ways (e.g., the European Union[1]), mentors should encourage mentees to foster so-called "cultural metacognition" (awareness of the cultural assumptions made by oneself and others "to prepare for, adapt to, and learn from intercultural interactions") and affect-based trust, "the kind of trust that involves concern for the other and comfort in opening up to them"(Chua, Morris, & Mor, 2011, pp. 3 & 5 [citation below]). These competencies are currently thought to foster creativity in collaborative efforts.


Useful resources on Intercultural collaboration skills:

Chua, R.Y.J., Morris, M.W., & Mor, S. (2011). Collaborating across cultures: Cultural metacognition & affect-based trust in creative collaboration. Harvard Business School.

Lengthy working paper. Defines concepts related to intercultural collaboration and presents a study with many references to related literature, Summarizes practical implications from a study described, finding “that coaching designed to cultivate more emotional and personal connections may be particularly valuable early in a team’s work together” and that “[m]anagers need to build metacognitive strategies for managing cultural knowledge, knowing how to learn about other cultures in anticipation of intercultural encounters, and checking and updating assumptions during interactions in relation to the cultural environment.” 

Tang, M. (2019). Fostering creativity in intercultural and interdisciplinary teams: The VICTORY model. Frontiers in Psychology.

Describes “how to build and manage interdisciplinary and intercultural teams to achieve creative goals.”

University of Michigan Center for Global Health. (2010). Student handbook for global engagement.

Written by students for student, this handbook can serve as a model for institutions creating similar guides. Offers practical advice applicable to many global engagement situations, such as: Ethics of Research Abroad, Project Development with International Partners, Guidelines for Professional Behavior Abroad, Global Citizenship and Advocacy, and Logistics of Research and Service Abroad. 

Tags: All IPS; all PSR; all IAL; CompGS; CompTS

Peer Review: None

Table of contents:

3.2.8. Intercultural collaboration skills: acting successfully in an international academic environment


Author: Stephanie Krueger

Peer Reviewer(s): None

Last Updated: October 28, 2021


Editor: Stephanie Krueger Last modified: 24.5. 2024 08:05