This paper reports the findings of the first systematic literature review (SLR) of studies on the intercultural approach as captured by two inter-connected articulations: interculturalism (IC) and intercultural dialogue (ICD). Initially, 16,582 available peer-reviewed articles and book chapters published over the period 2000–2017, were identified. After removing duplicates, 11,712 unique studies provided the basis for this SLR. The contents of the publications that met specified inclusion criteria and explicitly discussed the conceptual underpinnings of IC and its related ICD concept (N = 351) were analysed. Despite a more salient position in recent diversity governance discussions, IC and ICD have remained largely constrained by a lack of conceptual clarity and theoretical precision. This SLR, therefore, examines how IC and ICD have been accounted for, defined, and conceptualised across a broad-ranging literature spaning multiple disciplines. The findings indicate that the key conceptual and philosophical foundations of the intercultural idea are framed around interaction, dialogue, exchange and transformation. The SLR articulates four dimensions as the key constituents of the overall intercultural framework and no significant divergence between them was found between various definitions of IC and ICD. IC provides the conceptual foundations that enable an ICD articulation around intercultural exchange and dialogue across differences.