Intercultural Proficiency Essay

2536 words - 11 pages

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Irvine Clarke III, Theresa B., Flaherty, Newell D. Wright, Robert M. McMillen (2009)
Student Intercultural Proficiency From Study Abroad Programs, Journal of Marketing Education

Statement of the Problem
The problem, which is related to study abroad programs (SAPs), is clearly stated in the article’s introduction. The problem stated is “that a deficiency exists, within marketing education, of empirical evidence on the explicit impact of SAPs on student attitudes and behavior. In particular, empirical evidence is absent which specifies the characteristics of intercultural growth that are an outcome of SAP” (Clarke, Flaherty, Newell, McMillen, 2009, p. 174).

Purpose ...view middle of the document...

al.’s 8-item Openness to Diversity Scale, and Olson and Kroeger’s (2001) 22-item Intercultural Sensitivity Index (ISI). These instruments play a significant role in investigating the study’s research questions.

Research Questions
The research questions pursued included:
1. Are students who have studied abroad more global minded than students who have not studied abroad?
2. Do students who study abroad recognize greater intercultural communication skills than students who do not study abroad?
3. Are students who have studied abroad more open to diversity than students who have not studied abroad?
4. Are students who have studied abroad more interculturally sensitive than students who have not studied abroad? (p. 176).

Methods & Procedures
This study employed a static-group comparison design, which is a pre-experimental or quasi-experimental design. The researchers used an experiential (study abroad program) and a control group (study-at-home) to compare the advancement of specific intercultural proficiencies between both groups. The sample consisted of two groups of undergraduate students attending the business school of a midsize U.S. state university. The typical student in both groups was 21 years old and took 15 credit hours. There was an approximately equal representation across both genders.
To investigate the research questions, a survey was administered to both sample groups at the conclusion of the semester. All students were assured that their answers would remain anonymous. Global mindedness was measured with the 30-item Global-Mindedness Scale (Hett, 1993) that is composed of five elements: responsibility, cultural pluralism, efficacy, globalcentrism, and interconnectivity. This study employed Pascarella et al.’s (1996) 8-item Openness to Diversity Scale because of its ability to consider racial, value, and cultural diversity. Olson and Kroeger’s (2001) 22-item Intercultural Sensitivity Index (ISI) was used to measure the intercultural understanding of students studying abroad. This index includes items specifically designed to measure the various stages of intercultural sensitivity (Bennett, 1993) and the intercultural communication skills shaped in a SAP (p. 176).

From their statistical analysis of the data collected using the specified instruments, the researchers learned overall that students who studied abroad were shaped into more globally minded individuals (Clarke III, et. al. 2009). Particularly strong relationships were found for the global elements of cultural pluralism, efficacy, and interconnectedness. “Students did not exhibit any higher degree of responsibility to the global community, nor a greater interest in the “good of the world” (p. 176). The results also demonstrated a strong self-perception among SAP students as being more proficient, approachable, and open to intercultural communication. The study abroad program (SAP) increased the likelihood of enhanced intercultural communication...

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