Date of this Version
Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, Vol. 8, No.3-July 2010 ISSN: 1541-6224
Review of Contemporary Leadership and Intercultural Competence: Exploring the Cross-Cultural Dynamics Within Organizations, Moodian, M. A. (Ed.) (2009). Los Angeles, CA: Sage
Individuals who hold leadership roles in education need to be sensitive to and skilled in negotiating cultural differences across majority and minority cultures. Contemporary Leadership and Intercultural Competence (Moodian, 2009) is an edited collection of chapters that function to enable a reader to identify cultural differences, to understand what cultural differences exist in an interaction and why, and to prescribe creative and positive behaviors to resolve differences that can be integrated into daily interactions. The lessons facilitate an understanding of communication processes that can maximize the potential for intercultural dynamics to enhance productivity and outcomes within organizational systems. Strengths of the book include concise chapters that use visual and theoretical models to convey information, a pragmatic approach to the application of concepts and theories, and an array of assessment tools (many of which can be accessed online). Weaknesses of the book include limited application beyond corporate organizations and a lack of discussion regarding culturally relevant gender issues. Accounting for these weaknesses, the book offers a worthy amount of information from which educational leaders can benefit due to a focus on fostering communication competence. Competence can mean many things in different situations, however, when used in a communication sense it generally incorporates three basic tenets: motivation to communicate, knowledge regarding effective means of communication, and skill to successfully perform communication behaviors (Spitzberg & Cupach, 2002). Most people tend to think they are competent communicators and often forget that competence is judged by the recipient, not the sender, of a message. Judgments of communication competence are positively correlated with perceptions of a leader's credibility and ability to influence others (Singer, 1998), which makes the topic crucial for educational leaders. Within educational contexts, communication competence is essential for leaders who wish to impact positive changes in educational systems that are more culturally diverse than ever before.