Need for Consensus
In 1999 we recognized the need for consensus research on a relatively new term called “global competence.” We discovered at that time that about 12 groups in education, business, and government in different parts of the world had either attempted to define global competence or had established checklists of tasks that they perceived a person needed to complete in order to develop global competence.
The challenge with the past notions about “global competence” was that no one agreed.
There was no agreement because each group had attempted to create their framework for “global competence” in isolation, either within the confines of their institution, organization, or sector.
How can we develop global competence in others when there are no agreed upon objectives or standards for proficiency?
All of these different theories and seemingly shifting positions are causing confusion, not clarity.
The issue was that past theories were not inclusive of other key stakeholders.
“Global competence” is a competency, which is an employment construct used by human resources regarding the traits a person needs for successful job performance.
It is critical to consider both the important foundational role of education as well as the ultimate needs of the workforce.
Most critically—and ironically—past ideas of “global competence” were NOT conceived through a global lens!
Inherently, possessing global competence means that individuals can work effectively with people across the world.
How can we prepare and develop people for success in the global workforce if stakeholders across the globe are not consulted in defining the concept?
Worldwide consensus research across the education-workforce continuum was necessary.
We decided to conduct worldwide consensus research so that everyone could agree what “global competence” is, and with that insight, effort could be focused on global competence development.
We started a research study by assembling all previously proposed definitions and frameworks for global competence, then we presented them to a Delphi Panel for initial consideration, which propelled in-depth investigation.
As expected, the shift to developing global competence has strengthened over the years, and progressively more organizations have since adopted the term and the competency. However, not all organizations have consulted rigorous worldwide consensus research such as ours, nor have they conducted their own comprehensive global investigations. For these reasons, it is unfortunately possible to continue to encounter apparent disparities in how some groups describe the term “global competence.”