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Mindfulness
We were inspired to write about the mindful international manager by the work of others. Borrowing a term familiar from Buddhism, Ellen J. Langer developed the concept of mindfulness and made it well-known in psychology and beyond in her book of the same name and in numerous other publications.

The relevance of mindfulness to effective intercultural interaction was described by the communication scholars William B. Gudykunst and Stella Ting-Toomey. The term is also used in the international management field, for example by David C. Thomas and Kerr Inkson.

What do Jeremy Comfort and Peter Franklin mean by
‘The Mindful International Manager’?
Mindful international managers focus with understanding on the context and process of communication and cooperation as well as on their outcome.

This means that mindful international managers:
• pay attention to their own cultural and individual assumptions, values and norms;
• realise that these are only one set of guiding principles for action amongst
many others;
• pay attention to what they can see of the cultural and individual assumptions, values and norms of the people with whom they are working;
• try to see the different cultures and situations they are in through the eyes and with the feelings of the people they are working with;
• take account of these different perspectives and feelings in their own actions and in their evaluations of people from different cultures
• create understanding when communicating with people with backgrounds different from their own, for example, by
     · listening actively
     · modifying their language to make it more comprehensible
     · paraphrasing
     · testing their own understanding and
     · paying attention to non-verbal behaviour.

Watch
Peter Franklin talking about ‘Mindfulness and what else it takes to ‘do’ intercultural business communication’: Part 1 and Part 2

What are these key competences for working effectively across cultures’?
We mean the
• knowledge,
• skills,
• attitudes,
• traits and
• motives
which research and experience have shown you need in order to be effective in international situations. We describe these key intercultural competences so that you can reflect upon yourself and develop the competences which you think are important to you in your particular situation.

The
key competences described in the book are taken from the Worldwork Ltd set of competences for working effectively in international contexts. With Helen Spencer-Oatey, Peter Franklin elaborated on this framework in the book Intercultural Interaction. A Multidisciplinary Approach to Intercultural Communication.