Business lessons without business: Can arts-based training enhance cultural competence?

A presentation from the TIS International Conference - Internationalisation of Pedagogy and Curriculum in Higher Education: Exploring New Frontiers, June 2011.

Although business schools around the world often put "educating global business leaders" in their mission statements, few of them actually take initiatives to embed intercultural training into their curriculum.

This paper presents a study of the use of arts-based methods to help students of a UK based, multicultural business school to improve their cultural competence. A mixed methods approach has been used to evaluate the training outcome. The  study used the four factor (metacognitive, cognitive, motivational and behavioural), 20 item Cultural Intelligence Scale (Earley & Ang, 2003) to measure students' changes in cultural competence before and after training.  The initial descriptive analysis shows there is an increase in almost all the items (19 out of 20) after the intervention, with cognitive, motivational and behavioural measures increasing most significantly. The training outcome is also more effective for students who are classified as home/EU students, have English as their first language, and speak only one language. The qualitative analysis of students' views and feedback on the training's format and effectiveness shows students welcome such types of teaching methods and call for such types of training to be delivered earlier, for longer and more frequently during their studies.

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