20 SES 08 A, Innovative Learning Environments for Future Citizens in a Multicultural Society
The economy is increasingly scarred by the dynamic impact of a global economy. Markets are becoming more transparent and consolidated, which makes it inevitable for companies to operate on a global basis. In order to be able to face these challenges, companies need innovative staff that has trained and developed cross-cultural competences and skills. Universities, and especially international study programs, are thus offering education modules trying to enhance these skills, attracting at the same time a rather diverse and international group of students.
In this paper, findings from a longitudinal study combined with a cross-program assessment of intercultural sensitivity of students from two different study programs (one with intercultural, one without intercultural education modules) of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria (UASUA) is presented. The intention of the study is to analyze and evaluate the development process of students’ intercultural sensitivity, which should lead to a continuous improvement of business students’ intercultural education on the long run, contributing to their world mindedness.
The data covers an extended period of time, in which one part of the students have not only participated in intercultural lectures but also spent a semester abroad. Hence, an approved test instrument and an additional survey developed by the researchers are used to measure time-based changes of intercultural sensitivity. T-tests are used to compare and contrast the differences in intercultural sensitivity between the two considered degree programs and the development of the previously collected findings.
RQ1: Are differences in intercultural sensitivity and competence identifiable, when comparing students having chosen different types of business studies in Austria in the long run?
RQ2: Are differences in intercultural sensitivity and competence identifiable, when comparing students having chosen different types of business and social management studies in Austria in the long run?
RQ3: Are differences in intercultural sensitivity and competence identifiable, when comparing students having chosen different types of business studies in Austrian and international business programmes in the long run?
RQ4: Are there additional factors influencing the development of the intercultural sensitivity and competence of students having chosen different types of business studies such as the socio-demographic background?
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