An Integrative Approach to Developing an Intercultural Awareness Strategy in a Multicultural University

By Helen E. Higson and Kai Liu.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Universities are increasingly diverse places; in terms of staff and students, their nationality, ethnicity and religious backgrounds. HEIs need to find ways of ensuring that this diversity adds to the life of the institution and to the development of graduates as employees in a global workplace. The paper offers a case study of one way of developing an intercultural strategy at a UK university. The university concerned has a highly multicultural and multinational staff and student population. Over many years the university has worked to celebrate and embed this diversity into the culture and values of the institution; in its learning, teaching, business operations and relationships. The university wished to develop its intercultural awareness strategy in an inspirational and vibrant way, one which was informed by research and practice.
The paper proposes a new integrative approach to developing an intercultural strategy, and summarises some reflections on the process of creating the intercultural awareness strategy which may be of use to other institutions. Analysis showed that in order to make the strategy effective there had to be commitment from senior management to match innovative practices at an individual level. It is also clear that such a strategy must include formal policies and procedures, as well as more informal channels to allow people to express intercultural differences and shared values. The critical role of middle management in strategy implementation is also discussed.

Keywords: HEIs, Intercultural Competence, Strategy Implementation, Middle Management

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp.219-230. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.227MB).

Prof. Helen E. Higson

Pro-Vice-Chancellor External Relations, Pro-Vice-Chancellor's Office, Aston University, Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Helen Higson is Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor Aston University, Professor of Higher Education, Learning and Management at Aston Business School and Convenor of the Research Centre of that name (HELM), as well as Co-Convenor of InterLanD.

Kai Liu

Research Associate, Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK

Kai Liu works in the Aston Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Language and Diversity (InterLanD). Before, he worked as a research analyst with the Creative Industries Observatory at the University of the Arts, London.


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