Diversity and the Development of Intercultural Competence in Business Education

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A major impact of globalization has been the rapid growth in the mobility of people across borders and cultures. This is evident in the increasing number of employees seeking better prospects in internationally, people in search of improved lifestyles, and students in search of international education and training. The ensuing diversity in societies, workplaces and educational institutions has intensified the need for the development of intercultural competence. This trend is clearly evident in countries around the world, including Australia, as the diversity intensifies and business enterprises globalize. It has, therefore, become essential that Business graduates, as future employees, managers and leaders, acquire the cultural competence that enables the acquisition of appropriate skill-sets to conduct business across cultures, locally and globally.

This paper reports on a collaborative study conducted by four leading universities in Australia, including the University of New South Wales, University of Sydney, University of South Australia, and Queensland University of Technology. The study, funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (former Carrick Institute of Australia), sought to identify mechanisms for developing and embedding cultural in Business Education. More specifically, it explored definitions of the construct of culture; identified skills-sets or graduate attributes that target cultural competence as a capability required of all graduates during and on completion of their programs of study; investigated frameworks for embedding the attributes and contributes a new model; and collated exemplars and learning and teaching strategies (trialed and tested) for developing intercultural competence in the context of classroom and disciplinary learning in Business programs.


Keywords: Intercultural Competence, Diversity, Cultural Understanding, Embedding the Development of Cultural Competence, Graduate Attributes
Stream: Learning, Education, Training
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Assoc. Prof. Prem Ramburuth

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs & Education, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales
Sydney, NSW, Australia

Associate Professor Prem Ramburuth is currently Associate Dean Undergraduate Programs and Education in the Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales. She is also Associate Professor in International Business and has researched and taught extensively in the areas of Cross Cultural and Diversity Management in Business and Higher Education. She was Head of the School of Organisation and Management and foundation Director of the Education Development Unit in the Australian School of Business, a Unit she established to address the diversity of staff and student needs that emerged as a result of the internationalisation of Australian Higher Education. She is the recipient of three Teaching Awards for her innovations in teaching across cultures, including the UNSW Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (2002), the inaugural Pearson ANZAM Management Educator of the Year Award (2003), and National Finalist in the Australian Awards for Universities’ Teaching (2003).

Prof. Mark Freeman

Associate Dean Learning and Teaching, Faculty of Economics and Business, The University of Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Mark Freeman is Associate Professor and inaugural Director of the Office of Learning and Teaching in Economics and Business at the University of Sydney. Mark has received multiple awards for excellence in teaching including the inaugural Australian Award for University Teaching for Economics and Business Studies. He provides leadership in learning and teaching within the faculty as associate dean (learning and teaching) and beyond through his role as inaugural chair of the Australian Business Deans Council Teaching and Learning Network. Mark leads various teaching-related research and development projects including the Carrick-funded project scoping the challenges for business education.

Prof. Betty Leask

Dean Teaching and Learning, Division of Business, University of South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Associate Professor Betty Leask has extensive experience in the areas of teaching, curriculum development, professional development and student services in secondary and higher education. She is a researcher in thearea of internationalisation in higher education, including internationalisation of the curriculum and professional development for transnational teaching. As the Dean of Teaching and Learning (Business) at the University of South Australia, she is involved in developing and implementing policies and practices to improve teaching and learning outcomes for students across a broad range of programs. Details of her publications and further details of her research interests are available from her home page http://people.unisa.edu.au/betty.leask

Lyn Simpson

Associate Dean, Faculty of Business, Queensland University of Technology
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Associate Prof Lyn Simpson is Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Business at QUT. She is responsible for all teaching and learning and academic programs in the Faculty. She has led the Faculty’s successful bids for international accreditation from AACSB and EQUIS. Lyn is also an executive member of the Australian Business Deans’ Council Teaching and Learning Network. Lyn is currently working on two nationally funded Australian Learning and Teaching Council grants: Embedding development of intercultural competence and Facilitating staff and student engagement with graduate attribute development, assessment and standards in Business Faculties. Lyn is also co-lead (with Prof Sue Savage from Built Environment and Engineering) of QUT’s 3-year Large Teaching and Learning commissioned project on Real World Learning.

Dr. Chris Sykes

Research Project Coordinator, Office of Learning and Teaching in Economics and Business, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Dr Chris Sykes is the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Project Manager in the Faculty of Economics and Business, Office of Learning and Teaching at The University of Sydney. Chris' research interests are in the area of Organisational change, knowledge and discourse and the employment of action research in organisations. He is currently working as the Project Manager of the ALTC Embedding the Development of Intercultural Competence project. Chris is also working with the Australian Business Deans Council Learning and Teaching Network executive to develop and embed learning and teaching project outcomes in business faculties in Australia.

Dr. Lesley Treleaven

Senior Lecturer / Senior Academic Adviser, Office of Learning and Teaching in Economics and Business, Faculty of Economics and Business, The University of Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Dr Lesley Treleaven is Senior Academic Adviser, Learning and Teaching, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Sydney. She has extensive experience in business education and in work and organisational studies. She is a member of two nationally funded Australian Learning and Teaching Council Grant research teams. Her innovation with culturally diverse undergraduates employing collaborative online learning was recognised in a University Teaching Excellence Award. She is currently chief investigator on an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant exploring local knowledge in community organisations. Details of her publications and research interests are available from her home page http://www.econ.usyd.edu.au/15854.html

Ref: D08P0194