101 INTERCULTURAL INSIGHTS
INTERCULTURAL INSIGHTS: Criteria
What Criteria Did You Use in Making Your Editorial Decisions?
When we asked this question during a debrief, this is what some
of the players told us:
My criteria for editing - pretty conscious but from my
background and work focus.
My basic criteria was 'is this guideline effective across
all/most cultures. Many of the tips - no matter how good -
seemed to me to be written from an individual, verbal
perspective and would be helpful to individuals that fit that
pattern. However, they would not be effective within other
cultural patterns. If it was a good tip with this limited
application and well written, I gave it the 'average' (C) with
the 'not so good ones' below that. Those I rated higher
reflected more than one cultural pattern and would be effective
in a diverse group.
I looked at each guideline in 2 or 3 realms:
- effective as a cross-cultural effectiveness guideline given
all potential cultural options and global experiences
- effective as a training tip given maximum diversity of
cultural and learning patterns in learning cohort
(individual/group, verbal/silent, linear/wholistic thinking,
- well-written - the guideline was effectively communicated -
I found some interesting tips where the writing didn't clearly
communicate it - I was guessing at what they intended to say -
if good, but poorly written I gave a 'C' - others below
David R. Piltz
The criteria for the activity were simple but subjective:
- If the idea seemed to be generalizable to many different
applications and was novel it was to be published immediately
or as soon as possible
- If the idea was a good idea that all trainers should keep in
mind was generalizable to many different applications then it
was publish when have space
- If the idea was like #2 and also was a very important thing
for trainers to always keep in mind, it was to be published
immediately or as soon as possible
- If the idea had any type of line or sentence that was a bias
statement it was to be not published or rejected.
The criteria I used were based on
- relation to the topic
- writing level
- ease of understanding.
Primary criteria were
- novelty - something people might not have thought of
- wide range of application
- a "gut level" connection with a value I hold or an
observation I might have made myself in the past.
Main criteria used:
- Does the suggestion seem logical and is it widely
- Is it good for all it might affect?
- Is it easy to implement and/or will it be understood by
- Is it 'common sense'?
- What is the bang for the buck - how much impact will it
I based my conclusions on the following:
- Previous experience working with diverse groups
- Information learned in previous training received on
diversity and multiculturalism
- Gut feel ( how would "I" react if I were on the receiving
end of the suggestion)
- My own cultural background
- My personal exposure to other cultures, races, social
strata, etc and impressions received from those
Diane Hofner Saphiere
- Is the tip theoretically sound?
- Does the tip get to the "core" of what is really important
for intercultural effectiveness?
- Is the tip practical and immediately useful?
- Is the tip creative/a new and useful take on something, or
is it just a regurgitation of a tried-and-true but well-known
- Does the tip use a method that is wise and usable by most,
or is it highly risky and dangerous for the average person to
- As "filler editor," I was looking for articles that would be
short, succinct, and easily covered in up to one column.
- I was also looking for something that could be considered
tips that should be immediately applicable to trainers.
- Is the tip theoretically sound?
- I only gave the highest ratings to what I perceived as key
concepts - "do this or fail."
- My ratings were based on how useful an idea seemed to be,
and how practical. General/universally applicable items rated
higher than activity-specific items.
- Items that were clear and concise rated higher than longer
explanations (in most cases).
- Items with specific insight to cross-culturalism rated
higher (and this criteria was easy for me, as my
cross-cultural exposure has been relatively limited). In other
words, if I learned something, I figured others would, too,
and rated the item higher.
Kathleen A. Curran
How did I decide on my ratings? Following is my process:
I kept reminding myself of the purpose of the publication:
information for consultants working with intercultural groups.
'Working with' were operational words to me. I did not feel the
purpose was just to provide information about intercultural
communication. This led me then to rank the contributions in
- Immediate usefulness - more action oriented suggestions
- Vital conceptual information which I felt was more
attitudinal; ideas that one should resonate with when working
with IC groups
- Background concepts that are more cognitive, foundational,
for more understanding
I then intuitively ranked the items in terms of quality, in a
- Items that fit my category #1 were usually ranked "Publish
Immediately", as they were usually very sound, workable and
important, based on my own professional experience in working
with intercultural groups.
- Items that I considered #2 or #3 were ranked as "Publish as
soon as possible" or "Publish when space available" in a sort
of 'need to know' or 'nice to know' manner. These are still
good ideas and of importance.
- Items that I considered of some relevance to the field and
purpose of the publication, but less "right on", I ranked as
"Publish when desperate".
- Those items that I found completely un-useful for the
intended audience and purpose or even wrong, according to my
knowledge and experience, I ranked "Reject".
What criteria did I use?
- Personal, professional experience as an intercultural
trainer and consultant - What has worked for me?
- Personal experience living and learning overseas - What have
been for me the best ways to communicate with and learn about
- Literature/Lecture/Workshop advice - What does the
literature in the field of intercultural communication suggest
is effective? I believe I did not consciously attend to the
3rd point; I only thought of it now as I write this, but I am
sure that such academic foundation was of course used. Perhaps
through my work and experience, #1 and #2, I have sifted
through all the more theoretical material and found what
worked for me!
In summary, my criteria were basically subjective!
- Overall added value to someone working across cultures. That
is, it felt *right* to me, based on my learning and
- Generally applicable (rather than only in specific
- Clear and comprehensible to someone without extensive
experience in the field.
- Simple - short bites rather than detailed instructions.
- Well written.
- Matching the general structure of the other tips.
- I looked for clear, brief guidelines that were written in a
- A few conveyed the very prejudices that we hope this
training is meant to address; those were rejected
- Those that were clear and represented good advice under
varied situations, I rated highly.
- Those that dealt with very subjective topics: observation,
sense of humor, I treated cautiously or rejected.
In determining my editorial ratings,
- I first put myself in the role of the reader and asked
myself if the idea made sense.
- I then determined if it was a complete thought, or if
additional work was required.
- Additionally, I made sure that the idea qualified under the
guidelines established for the game(s).
- Complete understandable and applicable points received the
- I also used my own good judgment--if I didn't think the idea
was a good one, or thought it would do more harm than good
than it didn't get published. After all, I am the EDITOR.
I didn't have a formalized set of criteria from start to
finish, but I believe the following to be my guidelines:
- Content appears to be relevant
- Content appears to be on target (not misdirecting
- Ideas were interesting, compelling, important
- Sufficient substance for an article
- Thought provoking but not antagonistic
- Primarily, I arrived at my decision based on potential
impact. However, I probably am biased on using that criteria
because the environment I work in demands that everything have
quick, hard-hitting results.
- A second criteria was logical appeal. If it made sense and
I could back my intuition up with my experience as a training
professional, then I gave it a high rating.
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Revised: June 12, 2000