Morgan Intercultural is a training and consulting firm that has been helping leaders and employees of global organizations communicate effectively across cultural boundaries for more than 20 years. We offer a wide range of highly customized training, coaching and consulting solutions designed for managers and personnel doing business around the world.
Morgan Intercultural's unique approach emphasizes:
- Thorough pre-program needs assessment
- Highly customized training design
- Carefully sequenced experiential learning
- A global network of experienced country resources
- The use of cross-culturally valid and reliable assessment tools
- Development of practical action plans
- Post-program follow-up, evaluation and learning reinforcement
Morgan Intercultural works with a global network: We draw upon our global network of associates and country experts to provide the highest level of professionalism and expertise.
More than 70 countries: To date Morgan Intercultural has conducted intercultural training for more than 70 countries on five continents.
Industries we regularly work with: Automotive manufacturing, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, agriculture, food manufacturing, aerospace, defense, media and entertainment, educational services, information technology, oil and gas, consumer products, natural resources and mining, paper manufacturing, apparel manufacturing and retail, electrical equipment and appliance manufacturing and others.
India specialization: India is a special focus for us. Morgan Intercultural offers a wide range of India-related cross-cultural training and consulting solutions. We've worked with more than 150 companies doing business in India. We work both with companies doing business in India--and with Indian companies and executives doing business around the world.
Exceptional track record: In all the years that we’ve been providing intercultural training, coaching and consulting services—working with many of the Fortune 1000 companies and other leading companies in all industries—we’re proud to say we’ve enjoyed more than a ninety-nine percent positive evaluation track record.
About Tom Morgan
Founder and Principal Consultant
Tom Morgan, founder and principal consultant at Morgan Intercultural, is a sought-after intercultural consultant who has worked with hundreds of companies across all industries over the last twenty years—increasing his clients’ ability to perform confidently and effectively across cultural borders. He has worked with leading companies in defense, automotive, oil, agriculture, food, insurance, financial services, media and entertainment, information technology, telecommunications and other industries, helping them to reach their goals in an increasingly interconnected world.
Tom developed a great love for the study of cultural differences while living and working in 12 countries in Europe, Scandinavia, Central America, the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. He received his training in the field of intercultural communication from some of the most highly respected leaders in the field. Tom has consulted with heads of state—a king, two presidents, and a prime minister--and many other high-level government officials of countries in Central America, the Middle East and South Asia. He has worked with C-level executives of many Fortune 1000 companies and with government ministers, legislators, military generals, university presidents, and top-level industrialists and business leaders around the world.
Tom regularly leads training sessions related to Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America. He has conducted business briefings and orientations for more than 70 countries. A major project Tom has been involved with in recent years is conducting inclusive leadership workshops for the senior managers of one of the “Big Four” global accounting firms. Tom’s current work includes conducting intercultural training, consulting and coaching, international business briefings, inclusive leadership workshops, multicultural and virtual team building and executive relocation programs for all industries.
Doing Business in or with India?
India is a special area of specialization for us: While Tom has lived and worked in Nepal, Turkey, Cyprus, the Philippines, Norway, Nicaragua, England, Switzerland, Spain, Germany and Italy, his principal area of expertise is India. He has lived, studied and worked on the Indian subcontinent for more than three years. Tom has spent much of his life studying Indian culture, the ancient traditions and historical roots of modern Indian culture, and modern Indian business culture and trends. A significant portion of his work continues to focus on working with companies and organizations doing business in India, helping them to bridge and navigate cultural differences between the U.S. and India. Tom has personally worked with more than 150 companies doing business in India, as well as many Indian companies and executives working globally.
Tom's Family Roots and Influences: Tom grew up in a Quaker family; the family home was available as a place to stay for travelers from faraway places, a Quaker tradition. Household guests included people from Japan, Kenya, India and other distant lands. His family was active in the civil rights movement, and racial and gender equality were strong Quaker values. His father was a counseling psychologist and professor, inspiring in Tom a love of teaching and an interest in the social sciences that aim to understand the mind and behavior of individuals and groups. On top of all that, Tom's curiosity was stimulated by stories of his uncle’s visits with people like Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, by his uncle's books on Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism, and by a recording his uncle had made for Folkways Records in 1951, The Religious Music of India (pictured below).
With these influences in his background, the stage was set for Tom to grow up appreciating the many ways in which ethnic, religious and cultural diversity can enrich us all as human beings—and can contribute to the greatness of a society. Learning how to migrate between religions, languages, cultures and countries became a fascination. Helping others to bridge across cultural differences became a career.
Kenneth W. Morgan
Tom's family roots and connection with India--and Asia in general--date back to the1930s, when his uncle, author and scholar Kenneth W. Morgan, lived in Indian monasteries and was associated with major figures in Asian religion such as Rabindranath Tagore, Thich Nhat Hanh, Zenkei Shibayama Roshi, Swami Nikhilananda, the Dalai Lama and Mahatma Gandhi.
< At left, Kenneth Morgan living as a monk in the Mayavati Ashram, Almora, Himalayas, 1936. (The ashram was founded in 1896 by Swami Vivekananda, a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world)
< Pictured to the left, Kenneth Morgan with Zenkei Shibayama-Roshi in 1972; Shibayama was a Roshi (venerated Zen master) of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism and the head abbot of the Nanzenji Organization, overseeing the administration of over five hundred temples. Shibayama Roshi was well known for his commentary on the Mumonkan--"The Gateless Gate"--a central work much used in Rinzai School practice. Shibayama-Roshi undertook the commentary for English readers because of Kenneth Morgan's persistent encouragement and with his assistance and editing of the text (pictured below).
Books on Asian Religions
In the 1950s, Tom’s uncle developed and edited groundbreaking books on Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam—still published today—(pictured at right) which have helped westerners better understand the religious forces that have shaped Asian cultures. Also in the ‘50s, Kenneth Morgan helped to establish Harvard Divinity School’s Center for the Study of World Religions, which continues today to promote international understanding and the sympathetic study and understanding of world religions.
What is Intercultural Communication?
Edward T. Hall
American anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher
“…there is an underlying, hidden level of culture that is highly patterned—a set of unspoken, implicit rules of behavior and thought that controls everything we do. This hidden cultural grammar defines the way in which people view the world, determines their values, and establishes the basic tempo and rhythms of life. Most of us are either totally unaware or else only peripherally aware of this.”
--The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time,
by Edward T. Hall
Dutch social psychologist
and cross-cultural researcher
“Culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group from another.”
As Tom‘s uncle said in 1964, “Sympathetic study of religious ways other than one’s own helps religious seekers to see the realities of their own path more clearly . . .”
This core idea of sympathetic understanding in his uncle’s work inspired Tom’s approach to intercultural studies. At the heart of Tom's work is the idea that one should seek to "frame shift"--to understand the other person’s cultural context with empathy (preferring the term "empathy" to the term "sympathy" for our purposes). On the basis of "seeking first to understand" the other, one can better determine how to modify one's behavior in order to communicate and function more effectively across cultures. Understanding other cultures better can also have the added benefit of giving one new eyes to see one’s own culture more clearly.
Intercultural communication is a field of study that looks at how culture affects communication. It tries to answer the question, “What happens when people from different religious, social, ethnic, and educational backgrounds come together and are trying to communicate with each other, but each person is looking through a different cultural lens?”
As writer Anaïs Nin and others have said, "We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are." In other words, our preconceptions can dramatically alter the way we perceive the world. The cultural conditioning that we receive as we grow up gives us an internal, unique, usually unconscious frame of reference or "cultural lens" that we’re always looking through—a set of tacit values, assumptions, preferences, expectations, biases and rules that determine how we perceive our environment. These values and rules--lying mostly beyond our conscious awareness--govern virtually all of our behavior as we go about our daily lives.
Many of society’s and the world’s problems, large and small, ultimately stem from problems in intercultural communication. Intercultural communication problems usually have their origin in problems in message transmission. When the sender and receiver of a message come from different cultural backgrounds, they’re each using different cultural information to encode and interpret the messages. The receiver’s interpretation is likely to be at least a little bit different or possibly very different from what the sender intended.
Researchers in the intercultural field have created frameworks for categorizing and comparing cultures. Intercultural consultants use the frameworks created by the researchers and work with clients to develop higher levels of intercultural competence—the ability to “frame-shift” from one cultural perspective to another, to read diverse situations accurately, and to exhibit culturally appropriate behavior in many contexts.
Pioneers in the intercultural communication field: As an intercultural consultant, Tom has been greatly influenced by the work of some of the important pioneers in the intercultural communication field, particularly that of anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher Edward T. Hall and social psychologist Geert Hofstede, but also that of Milton and Janet Bennett, George Renwick, Mitchell Hammer, Michael Paige and others.
A developmental framework for intercultural competence: At the heart of much of Tom's work is a developmental framework created by Dr. Milton Bennett. Bennett's model looks at different worldviews or developmental stages along a continuum--different ways that people may respond to cultural differences. The stages in Bennett's model range from the most simplistic ways of understanding cultural differences--with correspondingly low levels of intercultural competence--to more complex, nuanced and sophisticated ways of understanding cultural differences--associated with higher levels of intercultural competence. The stages range from more ethnocentric to more "ethnorelative." In the ethnocentric stages, people tend to use a single cultural reality as a basis for evaluating people from different cultural backgrounds. People in the ethnorelative stages have learned to shift cultural frames of reference, to use multiple cultural realities to evaluate the behavior of people from different backgrounds. According to Bennett's theory, people who are at the more ethnorelative stages are more likely to function with higher levels of intercultural competence.
Another one of Tom's teachers, Dr. Mitchell Hammer, created an assessment tool that measures an individual's or group's levels of intercultural competence along Bennett's developmental scale. The instrument, called the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), is cross-culturally valid and reliable. Armed with the knowledge of how an individual or group has scored in the IDI, a skillful intercultural consultant can select and use training methods that are most likely to be developmental for them at their developmental stage. This powerful, theory-based and assessment-based approach to intercultural training, coaching and consulting lies at the heart of much of Tom's work.
When he's not engaged in intercultural consulting activities, Tom enjoys performing vintage acoustic country blues and ragtime guitar--either as a solo artist or with his bass-and-guitar duo, Skunk River Medicine Show.
Doing Business in India
We take a deeper approach to intercultural training. Instead of telling our clients what to think, we tell them how to think about cultural differences. We help them learn how to see things from the other person's cultural perspective—and then to know what to do about it. Our clients are then equipped to chart their own way forward in the work they’re doing, and to reach their goals more effectively in a more interconnected world."