The introduction of Cultural Communication competence (ICC 12) by Byram challenged
the idea of Communicative patterns that were relevant in the foreign language education field at
the time of study. Bryam’s (1997 53) model captured the factors thar are involved in intercultural
communication. Through the model the qualities of an intercultural speaker were described in his
five savoir’s . The section analysis Byram’s model from the five savoirs perspective.
2.1 Five Savoirs
2.1.1 Attitude (Savoir etre)
It is described by adjectives such as openness and curiosity, readiness’s to suspend doubts
regarding other cultures and their own. Attitude helps in taking up or seeking out opportunities to
interact with otherness in a relationship of distinctiveness, equality from other exotic relationship
to benefit from others. Byram applies the example of the speaker becoming interested in other’s
experience of daily’s life in contexts that are not used or presented to the media to develop
commercial relationship with outsiders. Instead, they become interested in their everyday social
groups within a society and not only the ones represented in the dominant culture.
Daily experience is a necessity tool used as an assessment criterion for this objective.
Moreover, the interest in a range of social groups rather than those developed for commercial or
media relationships within another community. Byram goes further to claim that an expression
ICC THEORY. 3
of preferences in an interest in other than the dominant group is critical. Preference creates a
more than attitude “if I had a choice, I would” (Byram,1997 88). The attitude is then used to
explain and make a choice to be part of the assessed performance. The learner’s application of
presentation of on a particular aspect of foreign culture with an objective to apply the
representation, an audio/video recordings and text as a basis of defining other culture would
depend on the choice of text would present the evidence of their focus interest.
However, attitude can also be assessed using the interest in discovering other opinions on
interpretation of both unfamiliar and familiar phenomena in their and other cultural practices and
culture. For example, a speaker does not draw conclusion that familiar phenomena cultural
products or practices common to themselves. Therefore, others become understood in similar
manner or unfamiliar phenomena can only be understood their own cultural phenomena which is
needed to discover the other’s understanding of these as their own culture that are not aware to
The method on which to judge learner’s interest in other views would require evidence of
not placing their own views which then leads to choosing the other explanation of the
phenomena. However, the process is conducted in the owner’s own way of presenting their
evidence which implicates their preferences. The author then recommends rather than focusing
on a statement it is important to formulate a preference in terms of evaluative comparison from
other person’s perspective to the other. The preference objective can also be used to explain the
decision made regarding on what is more suitable in describing an aspect of other person’s
ICC THEORY. 4
The third attitude objective is the willingness to question presuppositions and values in
cultural products and practices in one’s environment. When the intercultural speaker actively
looks the other’s evaluations and perspective pf phenomena in the speaker’s environment that is
taken for granted then it enables him to take the other third parties’ perspectives with an
objective of comparing and contrasting the dominant evaluation in their society.
The learner’s interest in questioning the values in their environment might integrate the
involvement of other’s evaluations and interpretations of ideas fundamental to the learner’s
society. although this objective would fit the performance description rather than attitude.
According to Byram the three attitudes are interrelated and it is necessary to evaluate
savoir etre aspects from it (1997 89) . It also becomes possible to acquire evidence from the
same performance of savoir comprendre. When taking the ICC from this perspective then it can
be assessed historically. The objectives also a framework for assessing some or the five savoirs
since they made on the approach of that the assessment is taken at one point in time by an
assessor involved the learners.
However, there are other approaches which assesses ICC from a period rather than one
given point. It helps to identify evidence as the need arises through out the study period. The
need to not to be multipurpose becomes critical. The approach helps is acquiring high reflecting
abilities and self-esteem. It also aids in deep learning skills has been defined by Byram (2002 15)
as the ability to relate with one’s ideas and actions to abstract and principles definitions of
objectives offered in the section.
The fourth objective is the readiness to experience the varied stages of integration and
adaptation with another in the residence (1997 89). An intercultural speaker becomes capable of
ICC THEORY. 5
coping with various types of experience of otherness such as withdrawal and enthusiasm during
residence and a location in them in a longer phase of rejection and acceptance. Nevertheless,
from Furnham and Bochner (1986 52) perspective the objective cannot be observed directly by
an external observer. The claims are based on the idea that the objectives describe an individual
ability to reflect their affective response and experience. The variables are then used to analyze
the situation and create ideas such as culture shock.
Byram (2002 69) supports the researchers by claiming that the process requires high-
degree of self-awareness to facilitate analyzing an individual’s feeling of dismay or enthusiasm.
Having a degree of self-awareness also provides a platform of understanding acceptance and
rejection are growth opportunities. The analysis can occur simultaneously for example “ I kow I
am experiencing culture shock and the phase will pass”/ it can also happen from a retrospectively
( “I remember that I thought everything was perfect at the beginning” (Byram,1997 92).
Although the process can occur simultaneously it depends on the learners had a previous
experience of culture shock. It can also come from the influence a mentor or teacher that urges
the learner to reflect on their affective responses by reflecting on culture such. Using this
approach, the evidence is then generated from the learner’s reflection rather the assessment
instrument. Furthermore, the evidence cannot be collected at one point therefore it requires time
to collect overtime therefore creating opportunities such as portfolios.
Byram (1997 96), uses readiness to engage with rites and conventions of non-verbal and
verbal interaction and communication. He applies the intercultural speaker notes therefore
adopting behaviors that are particular to a social group in a manner that they are the members of
that group consider to be okay for an outside. Using this approach, the intercultural speaker can
ICC THEORY. 6
have considerations regarding the expectation members with appropriate behaviors of that
However, it becomes critical to understand that at times native speakers do not accept the
non-verbal communication styles or convention for the intercultural speaker (Byram (1997 100).
Furthermore, the speaker might at times choose not to adopt convections that engage their whole
personality. However, there are non-verbal convections that are unconscious where they accept a
particular gesture but might resist doing it themselves. For example, if a speaker comes from a
community where male-male physical contact is breaking the taboo and visits a place where
kissing is the greeting approach. Then it becomes difficult for the intercultural speaker to break
the taboo for socialization purposes. However successful intercultural speakers have the
capability of finding modus vivendi satisfactory for both their interlocutors and themselves.
However, from the second objective the speaker has a probability of learning as they reflect and
analyze a modus vivendi which eventually becomes a part of their portfolio.
2.1.2 Knowledge (Savoirs)
Knowledge of social groups and their practices and products in individual’s intelligence
and general practices of personal and societal interactions. Ryle (1949 32) coined the assessment
criteria from the approach of “know that” is a familiar ground. However, he further suggested
that there is a difference between shallow and deep learning adds on a fresh perception.
Therefore, implying that techniques are essential to access an individual ability to reiterate facts.
Nevertheless, this does not form a new opportunity for new traditional methods as those of essay
writing that try to identify the writer’s ability to utilize new situations, establish a relationship
ICC THEORY. 7
between logical relationships and factual knowledge within the framework of knowledge. The
writers process helps in interpreting and coming to sound conclusions.
Byram made the writer’s conclusion based on a previous research with other friends
where it was revealed that essays written in French on aspects of French culture were marked
under four main categories demonstrating analytical skills, understanding, organizing and
structuring a breadth of knowledge. Therefore, the focus is least on approaches of identifying
deep learning and considerable emphasis is laid upon on these factors which can be found when
assessing the learners understanding on other languages. Although its usual for assessors to use
the approach English does not have an examination criterion. Therefore, professional judgement
formed on basis of implicit criteria and proved through double marking and analysis of critical
cases can be considered reliable. Although the process is time consuming it is necessary since it
is the accepted approach essential to ensure that the quality of assessment is present especially
what is considered important to examination in the education systems.
According to Byram (1997 95) there are inter-related categories of savoirs that have been
included in the definition of knowledge from a foreign culture perspective; about relationships
between cultures at a personal and societal level, own’s culture and the former is dependent on
the other two. The first objective of knowledge is the regarding the institutions and processes of
socialization in one’s interlocutor’s country (Byram ,2002 42). Cultural speakers have the
knowledge regarding their religious institutions, education systems and similar platforms where
they can acquire a national identity, become introduced to the dominant culture, pass through
special phases in the life-cycle both in a foreign and individual’s country.
ICC THEORY. 8
For example, a beginning learner of German can be introduced under this objective to the
tradition of Konfirmation in Protestant German with the idea that most young people undertake
the ceremony regardless of their church attendance status (Byram ,1997 100). However, at an
advance level information on the German culture can be acquired from Catholic parts of German
regarding the young people church attendance, rites of passage of Germans with Turkish origin
and practices in the former German Democratic Republic (Byram ,2002 42). Nevertheless, the
knowledge acquired is dependent on the student’s learning age as well as the course’s depth.
However, at all levels learner’s factual knowledge can be assessed as a function of what
they have learnt through out the course. Nevertheless, there is a possibility of acquiring further
knowledge from outside sources and decision has to be made whether to give credit to the other
platforms. Although, the decision is dependent on the function of the assessment and whether the
evaluation achievement in the stipulated time or leaner’s proficiency has occurred at a particular
cost. The approaches could be the answer and question or as a photograph of the young
generation at their Konfirmation dress and interaction to comment.
In the other technique there are set expectations for the learners where they demonstrate
their ability to understand the framework of knowledge regarding the role of church in Germany
and their rites of passage in Church from the Country of origin (Byram,2002 26). However, they
might have the privilege of being invited to comment on rites of passage upon their vital cultural
awareness. Therefore, as a single approach can avail evidence for more than one savoir.
The second objective on the knowledge savoir is they types of processes and cause of
misunderstanding of interlocutors from varied cultural origins (Byram ,1997 93). Intercultural
speakers are aware of communication conventions and interaction in both foreign and their own
ICC THEORY. 9
culture, alternative concepts, rituals, customs and the unconscious role of non-verbal and
Knowledge regarding intercultural communicative breakdown can be defined in abstract
terms which are acquired from interaction theory which have a high probability of being taught
through examples (Byram ,1997 88). A French learner might be taught to analyze transcripts
with an aim of demonstrating turn-taking convections. Furthermore, an assessment exercise
would integrate analysis of how two individuals are describing their conversation discomforts
where an individual feels “cut off” and the other feels that their interlocutor is slow to respond.
Then the learner would then relate turn-taking in particular uses in French especially for similar
situations in their own country (Byram ,2002 63). Nevertheless, the linked situation could be
having similar concepts with distinct differences therefore causing a misunderstanding.
To justify his claim the author uses a parallel example of Konfirmation where an English
learner of French can misinterpret it as “first communion” where it is widely accepted as a rite of
passage that does not depend on religious believes (Byram ,2002 20). It can also be interpreted
to as a rite of passage that is confined to a minority group of young adults that attend the church
regularly. However, the ability to interpret the misunderstanding would require a framework to
reference the factual knowledge (Byram ,1997 103). Furthermore, it would also require a general
approach on factual knowledge regarding socialization practices that explain and summarizes a
specific mode of knowledge.
2.1.3 Skills of interpreting and relating (savoir comprendre).
Skills of relating and interpreting are dependent on knowledge. Therefore, the assessment
is inter-related suggesting that knowledge can be assessed through techniques that collect
ICC THEORY. 10
evidence and have already introduced the relating and interpreting skills which are acquired
through analysis and comment included in the next objective of intermate between conflicting in
interpretations of phenomena (Byram ,1997 107). Intercultural speakers apply their explanations
as sources of dysfunction and misunderstanding to overcome conflicting perspectives. However,
they can explain their perspective of each terns accessible helping interlocutors to identify a
common ground and unresolvable differences.
The skill can be used in written communication methods where the intercultural speakers
translate and provides commentary to sections that identify to have potential dysfunction or
misunderstanding (Byram ,1997 105). The process helps in reduction of real-time for referencing
and analysis to existing knowledge. It also helps in the application of discovery of skills (Savoir
apprendre/faire) that helps in acquiring more knowledge. However, it is likely that the mediation
occurs in real-time interaction and with all the constraints and demands placed on the
2.1.4 Skills of discovery and interaction (savoir apprendre/faire)
Savoir apprendre is the ability to acquire new knowledge practices and operate attitude,
skills and, knowledge under the constraints of real-time interaction and communication (Byram
,1997 97). Skills of discovery have a pivotal location in Byram ICC model (Byram ,2002 51).
The constraints can be taught in classrooms since they are the means where the learner is
supplemented with new knowledge from the unknown materials. They are also connected with
skills of interaction since not every discovery is affected by interacting with the Native speakers.
In many circumstances discovery occurs in real-time and is dependent on the ability to ask
ICC THEORY. 11
question that elicit additional knowledge especially when the interlocutor is limited to the
explanation of what is self-evident for them in the taken-for-granted reality.
The ability to bring out a from an interlocutor values and concepts of documents or
system susceptible of application to other concepts is an objective used to explain savoir
apprendre (Byram ,1997 96). Intercultural speaker can apply different techniques to question
existing informants the allusion, presuppositions and connotation of an event or document.
Consequently, they can develop and extract values and meaning and establish relationships and
links among them. The process can be gotten from questioning appropriate literature and using
them to interpret another document through logical relationship of hierarchy, effect and cause of
conditions and consequences (Byram ,2002 30).
The objective of ability to identify significant references across and within cultures and
demonstrate their importance and connotation is used to explain savoir apprendre (Byram ,1997
97). The intercultural speaker ability to read an event or document for the shared values (space
concepts, national meanings, social distinction, and many others) and meaning to implicit
references are dependent on the international currency or interlocutor culture ((Byram ,2002 24).
The international currency arises from situations such as the dominance of western satellite of
television and can be used to elicit or identify the different connotations and interpretations
which aid in establishing relationships between them.
Although the process can be difficult previous work of Byram et al., (1994 3) had
prepared students to interact with a native speaker with the objective of exploring the idea of
regional identity. The interviewees were questioned regarding to what extent and how they felt
their social identity was connected to their place of origin. In the interviews issues such as what
it meant to say “alsacein /Je sius, breton” was asked. The process was combined with a
ICC THEORY. 12
discussion with an assessor where a reflection on the findings, suggestion on how they would test
them and explain their questioning and interview approach techniques. The process proved that
to be a difficult task for intermediate students since they required considerable sociolinguistic,
discourse competence and linguistic. However, from the research it was discovered that
advanced ethnographic data-collection skills increase the success chances in eliciting numerous
types of possibility of assessing their skills extracted from their audio-recording of an interview
which is then combined with a discussion that would be worth for further studies or
The final objective used to explain savoir apprendre is the ability to identify past and
complementary relationship between an individual and the others (Rauschert, and Byram, 2018
45). The intercultural speaker can apply sources such as the newspapers, reference books, lay
informants, experts and histories to understand political, social and economic relationship
between societies and cultures and analyze the involved interpretations. The objective process
then makes it possible to envisage a simulation where the learners are availed with sources and
requested to analyze and compare documents from their own and other society (Byram ,2002
41). Although it is possible for evidence for the skill to be collected by both the teachers and
students. To understand the concept Byram applies the portfolio example. The first and second
objective cannot be achieved in a test situation but through coursework and fieldwork in the
classroom. However, to apply this approach to assessment it is essential for the participants to
have a high degree of self-awareness and understand the impact of applying the discovered
skills. In the scenario that the learners have selected the evidence appropriately for particular
situations to general principles then the capacity of building ideas in post-adolescence is enhance
ICC THEORY. 13
(Byram ,1997). Nevertheless, in case learners have not acquired the high-degrees of reflection
then teachers can select evidence on their behalf.
According to Byram et al., (2002 35) the fundamental characteristic of savoir faire is their
operation in real time. The process integrates operationalization of other ICC components in a
complex manner. Although the evidence of success in interaction has a lower probability of
being direct since the process takes place in real-time and in situation where data collection can
be a hard task. However, evidence can be availed post hoc by learner or external parties that
were involved or had the capability of observing. Byram (2008 64) claims that a learner who can
negotiate agreements on conventions of interaction for inclusion and act in accordance to degree
of proximity of a foreign culture and language or use institutions to preserve and apply contacts
in other culture then they have the capability of reflecting on occasions. Students with such
characteristics have the capability of identifying retrospect problems and issues involves and the
indicators that summarizes the mode of assessment for skills.
2.1.5 Critical cultural awareness
Savoir s' engager or critical cultural awareness is the ability to evaluate, critically on the
basis of explicit criteria on one’s and other countries and cultures (Byram ,2002 26). this is an
educational component ICC adds the idea of notion of comparison and evaluation for purposes
beyond improving communication effectiveness for purposes of clarifying the perspective and
engaging other parties consciously with the objective to understand their perspective (Byram
,1997 99). From the element it can be concluded that harmonious communication is disrupted by
conflicts in perspective.
ICC THEORY. 14
The element applies the ability to interpret and identify implicit or explicit values in
events and documents in one’s and other culture as the first objective (Byram ,1997 102). The
second one then becomes the ability to make an evaluation analysis of the events and documents
that refers to a particular criterion. The other objective then becomes the ability to mediate and
interact in intercultural exchanges in accordance with explicit approaches, and negotiating is
situations where cultural exchanges occur by drawing upon one’s attitude, skills and
knowledge(Byram ,2002 8). The evidence of these objectives then occurs through testing events
and documents and asking for commentary and analysis where the third objective occurs in real
time and only indirect evidence can be provided for this particular version.
2.2 Critical Discourses of ICC by Byram (1997 VS 2020)
Over the past decades the idea of savoir’s engager have been developed further in the
context of Byram’s work on intercultural citizenship education (ICE) (Hoff,2020 10). ICE
emphasis is on the values like rule of law, democratic culture and human rights as a defense
approaches against intolerance, racism, and extremism in the society. Therefore, Byram work is
moving from a communication perspective only to addressing real-time issues facing the society.
The ICE work highlights the political approach of intercultural education and expands on the
civic action with reference to this model.
Apart from the savior’s engager the model has remained unchanged since its introduction
(Hoff,2020). It has continued to influence both the pedagogical and research practices up to the
present day. Furthermore studies such Wilberschied, (2015 11), Perry and Southwell, (2011 47)
and Spitzberg and Chagnon, (2009 58) have applied the in the literature review to establish
research concepts. Other studies such as Ayon (2016 3), Benavides, (2019 12) and Hoff, (2013
ICC THEORY. 15
33) have applied the model for theoretical basis for classroom teaching practice and materials.
The current Byram works have provided researcher with knowledge of reconceptualization.
According to Kramsch (2011 30) studies there is need to change the model since social
developments in cultures have become increasingly complex. From their perspective Byram
model has been tied to the static idea of national culture contributing to misinterpretations of
contemporary patterns in life and role of, multicultural and multilingual individuals that are
allowed to adopt in the language experience. Although the issue has been solved by Baker (2011
25) where he has introduced the model of intercultural awareness where the speaker’s ability to
differentiate emergent contextually and culturally grounded communication modes and frames of
2.3 ICC Application in Business
2.3.1 Self-insights, strengths and improvement areas,
According to Hoff, (2020 53) although ICC is a complex process at the basic level of
learning an individual accumulates knowledge into their existing frameworks. Although the
accumulated knowledge does not imply acceptance of the information it helps in increased
exposure. Park et al., (2020 76) defines effective business strategies as those characterized by
exposure. Through ICC individuals can develop open-mind when interacting with different
individuals which might assist in reducing conflicts and helping one to manage different
situations especially when in foreign countries. The process is also supported by ICC ability to
foster attitudes that motivate individuals discover knowledge that develop skills for survival
ICC THEORY. 16
purposes. When operating a business especially at the international level an individual can feel
overwhelmed by the new cultural ideas and this approach creates a high sense of wonder and
uncertainty. Nevertheless, through ICC five savoirs and individual can understand what to do
when faced with emerging situations that require high degree of tolerance. ICC has also helped
in understanding both non-verbal and verbal cues which might differ across cultures therefore
hindering the business negotiation process.
2.3.2 Global Insight Development
Digitalization has become a trend in the business’s world. The development in
infrastructure and communication have facilitated the process which business is being conducted
across borders. Nevertheless, the issue of cultural differences has been a challenge for most
business people. However, through savoir comprendre and engager the individual is empowered
with the ability to identify the ideological perspectives (Cranmer, 2017 62). Through
intercultural citizenship language and cultural learning have been facilitated therefore allowing
people to understand approaches needed in varied countries when conducting business
(Hoff,2020). Through ICC democratic processes that might impact businesses through
governorship and laws are understood and laid into a common reference removing barriers of
2.3.3 Communication and how to influence
The globalized world has created the need to focus on intercultural understanding in
addition to linguistic skills and knowledge. Furthermore, the increased transnational competition
and collaboration has placed ICC as an asset since it facilitates better communication methods
and expression levels (Cranmer, 2017 44). According to Salacuse, (2017 19) a successful
ICC THEORY. 17
negotiator requires high communication skills to convince their potential clients. However, with
cultural and language barrier a challenge might be placed on this objective. ICC helps the
intercultural speaker to understand the needed to skills to convince the clients that their product
is the best therefore increasing their business expression levels. ICC does not only help in
improving expression approaches but also improves the business productivity levels.
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