Program Details

Why is Tolerance Useless in Cross-Cultural Efforts?

Susana Fernandez
Politics / Current Events

Course Description

Tolerance is one of the first “solutions” proposed whenever cultural issues are discussed. It is also one of the first aspects identified as “lacking” when cultural or racial issues arise. However, tolerance is completely useless when it comes to understanding the value of cross-cultural exchanges, or to develop cross-cultural competence. In cross-cultural efforts, understanding the value of “utilization” is key. Given the current cultural and racial climate, understanding the value of utilizing culture to make us stronger individuals is timely and necessary. This series will explore and discuss the role that communication plays in cross-cultural exchanges, and how our cultural biases are shaped by our self-referent criterion. Practical tools to analyze and understand cultural approaches from an organic—rather than prescriptive—approach will be discussed and explored through an experiential “Shield” construct.


  1. Communication & Self-Referent Criterion
  2. Issues of Cross-Cultural Communication
  3. Issues of Cross-Cultural Communication
  4. Culture, Creativity, Innovation & Strategy

About the Instructor

  • Susana Fernández, Ph.D., teaches leadership at FAU’s Graduate School of Business. She has worked in public relations and advertising, as well as in print and broadcast journalism in the U.S. and Europe. She has also spent more than 25 years holding leadership positions in various academic and administrative areas of higher education. Aside from teaching, she is a corporate speaker and trainer in all aspects of leadership, having worked for organizations such as: First Data, FiServ, LAN Chile, LATAM, G4S Security, Carolina Herrera, and Calder Casinos, among others. She earned a master's degree in business with a concentration in marketing, and a doctoral degree in leadership and human resources development administration. She has professional certifications in situational leadership, effective negotiation from Harvard Law School, and Data Wise, from The Data Wise Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education.  As a published academic researcher and professional speaker, she is very interested in leadership development, team development, women and leadership, children and leadership, authentic leadership, communication styles, power, cross-cultural aspects, and leadership responsibility at the personal and organizational levels.