Developing Intercultural Capability in Business Faculty Members and their Students

By Anita S. Mak, Michelle C. Barker, Peter Woods and Anne Daly.

Published by The International Journal of Organizational Diversity

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Internationalisation at Home, a work-in-progress priority project funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, aims to internationalize the learning and teaching practices of Business higher education through intercultural capacity building of faculty, students, and the curricula. The initial phase of this participatory action research project involved consulting stakeholder groups (business professionals, faculty members, domestic students, and international students) to assess needs for sociocultural competence development in Business classes and workplaces. The integration of the stakeholder-generated critical incident scenarios with an internationally recognised intercultural training resource (the EXCELL Program) led to the design and delivery of a professional development workshop offered to Business faculty members at two Australian universities. Afterwards, senior faculty members established learning circle meetings to support colleagues to adapt workshop resources and embed cultural diversity awareness and intercultural competence development in the Business courses they teach. In this paper, the authors report and discuss the processes and outcomes of the professional development workshop and the learning circle meetings, including the curriculum renovation actions initiated by participating faculty members. We will discuss the project findings to date in the context of preparing university graduates to be effective crosscultural communicators in workplaces and society.

Keywords: Business, Higher Education, Crosscultural Communication, Cultural Competence, Cultural Diversity, Internationalization

International Journal of Organizational Diversity, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp.49-59. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 250.521KB).

Prof. Anita S. Mak

Professor of Psychology, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia

Anita Mak is a professor of psychology at the Faculty of Health, University of Canberra in Australia. An immigrant and former international student from Hong Kong to Australia, Anita is a Fellow of the International Academy of Intercultural Research. She is also an Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She has published extensively in the areas of acculturation, intercultural interactions, intercultural training evaluation, adolescent mental health, and work-related stress. She is the co-developer of the EXCELL (Excellence in Cultural Experiential Learning and Leadership) Program, an evidence-based program for developing students’ and immigrants’ socio-cultural competencies. EXCELL has been introduced into over 100 institutions nationally and internationally. She is the leader of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Priority Project on Internationalisation at Home: Enhancing Intercultural Capabilities of Business and Health Teachers, Students and Curricula (2011–2012), which involves multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional action research, including the design, delivery, and evaluation of professional development courses aimed at improving crosscultural communication in business and health settings.

Michelle C. Barker

Griffith University, Australia

Michelle Barker is Professor of International Business and Asian Studies, Griffith Business School (GBS) and Adjunct Professor of the Griffith Institute for Higher Education. Her professional background is in international development aid, and refugee and migrant resettlement. Michelle has led major action-research projects in Internationalisation of the Curriculum (IoC), and she has published extensively in intercultural skills development, IoC, and teaching in the multicultural classroom. Michelle has achieved national recognition for her teaching, winning the 2005 Individual Teacher Award (Australian Awards for University Teaching), and the 2003 AAUT Award for integration of the EXCELL Intercultural Skills Program at Griffith University.

Dr. Peter Woods

Griffith University, Australia

Peter Woods is a Senior Lecturer of Management at Griffith University, Australia. He is a member of the Department of International Business and Asian Studies in the Griffith Business School. His award-winning research has been published in leading international academic journals including the Journal of Business Ethics and Information Technology and People. His graduate and undergraduate teaching has been recognized by multiple awards, including the prestigious 2010 Australian Learning and Teaching Council Award for Teaching Excellence (Internationalisation). His research interests include teaching in the multicultural classroom, Chinese management, Indonesian leadership, cross-cultural management and diversity management. Peter is internationally recognised for his expertise in developing and effectively using innovative curriculum materials and approaches for teaching multicultural students. Before academia, Dr. Woods worked as a Social Worker and he also pioneered a number of non-government multicultural organisations in Brisbane.

Prof. Anne Daly

University of Canberra, Australia

Anne Daly is a Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Business, Government and Law at the University of Canberra. Her main research interests are in the area of Labour Economics, particularly related to the position of women and Indigenous Australians in the labour market. In her role as the Associate Dean (Education) for the Faculty she has been actively engaged in research aimed at improving the student experience including studies on developing generic skills among business students and the Internationalisation at Home project.