Intercultural Adaptation Assessment (iAA) - Pilot Study Complete

As the number of international assignments continues to climb, organizations are faced with the challenge of hiring staff that have the intercultural skills to work effectively in another culture. Sending someone on an international assignment costs between two and four times the person's annual salary and is a time-consuming effort on the part of the sending organization. Finding ways to streamline the international selection and assessment process not only reduces the time and money associated with international recruitment but also increases the likelihood of selecting the "right" candidate for the position and reducing further costs associated with an unsuccessful assignment and early repatriation.

In January, the Centre completed a successful pilot of the Intercultural Adaptability Assessment (iAA); the newest addition to the iPASS (International Personnel Assessment and Selection) line of service. Based on a situational judgement test methodology, the iAA has been developed to assess a candidate's adaptation in highly challenging intercultural situations. Following intensive focus groups with experienced international personnel and intercultural experts, the Centre devised over 50 challenging intercultural scenarios, each with four possible responses. During the development phase, the Centre invited volunteers from across the government, NGO and private sectors to complete the questionnaire. In total, nearly 400 people at CIDA, DFAIT and other government departments generously donated their time to help the Centre with this initiative. Peace Corps in Washington, DC, also made a significant contribution to the study. The iAA pilot also included a comparison group of 20 volunteers who, in addition to completing the iAA, also completed a behavioural-based interview (BBI) for intercultural competence. Information gathered from the comparison group will help normalize the data and further increase the validity of the test.

The Centre is currently analyzing all of the data captured during this process in order to finalize the instrument. Also in development is a Web-based portal for accessing and administering the iAA. The Centre anticipates launching the completed version of the iAA in April 2008. For more information on the iAA and iPASS, please contact Susan Robbins, Senior Learning Advisor (Acting) at 819.934.3776 or by email at Susan.Robbins@international.gc.ca.