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Innate and achieved multicultural individuals

In this video, Lee talks with Dr Jeff Shao from Monash University about their research on innate and achieved multiculturals.

Multicultural individuals are not all the same. It’s important to consider the different ways that people become multicultural, as this variation will likely influence how these individuals contribute in a team.

In this video, Lee talks with Associate Professor Jeff Shao about their research on innate and achieved multicultural individuals.

There are two main types of multicultural individuals, based on the process of becoming multicultural:

  Innate multicultural Achieved multicultural
Typical examples Second-generation immigrants
Multiracial individuals
First-generation immigrants
International students
How they become multicultural Through experiencing multiple cultures simultaneously at home from a young age: this is known as early immersive culture mixing. Through experiencing multiple cultures sequentially: they learn only their first culture at home.
What this means Tend to develop a culturally mixed or hybrid thinking style and identity. Tend to develop multiple culturally distinct thinking styles and identities.

In reality, the distinction between these two types of multicultural individuals may not be so clear-cut. It’s likely that there’s a spectrum of early immersive culture mixing that shapes whether we become an achieved multicultural or an innate multicultural individual.

It can be useful to reflect on your own multicultural experiences, and how this might affect you or others at work.

Your task

If you are multicultural, do you consider yourself to be more of an innate or achieved multicultural individual? Do you think it influences how you interact with others at work?

If you don’t think you’re multicultural, do you know people who are innate or achieved multicultural individuals? Do you think they interact with you in different ways?

Share your experiences in the comments.

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Leading Culturally Diverse Teams in the Workplace

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