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IMQ Intercultural Management Quarterly

Integrating Culture and Management in Global Organizations

Spring 2014 Vol. XV, No. 2

A Negotiating Model for the Military Context by STEFAN EISEN JR. • New Vistas for Intercultural Research and Understanding by RAY LEKI • Zoom: A Simulation for Cross-cultural Training by ADRIANA MEDINA-LÓPEZ-PORTILLO • Short-Term StudyAbroad: Quality, Not Quantity by KYOUNG-AH NAM • Ambiguity in Product Promotion by BAGHER FARDANESH • Global Leadership Development: Becoming a Global Leader by JEREMY SOLOMONS • Beyond Minimization of Cultural Differences: Modifying the Golden Rule at School by LAUREN MOLONEY-EGNATIOS AND STEFAN AMRINE

Foreword Dear Readers, Welcome to the spring 2014 issue of the Intercultural Management Quarterly. We are very excited to release the conference edition of the IMQ. As always, IMQ awaits your contribution. Please continue to adhere to our guidelines for submissions. We are not an academic journal, so be sure that your submissions contribute to the study and practice of intercultural management. Many thanks, and feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions. Sabrina K. Garba Managing Editor, IMQ

Table of Contents Intercultural Management Quarterly Volume XV No. 2 \ Spring 2014 A Negotiating Model for the Military Context by Stefan Eisen Jr...........................................................3 New Vistas for Intercultural Research and Understanding by Ray Leki.....................................................................7 Zoom: A Simulation for Cross-cultural Training by Adriana Medina-López-Portillo...........................10 Short-Term Study-Abroad: Quality, Not Quantity by Kyoung-Ah Nam...........................................................14 Ambiguity in Product Promotion by Bagher Fardanesh...................................................18 Global Leadership Development: Becoming a Global Leader by Jeremy Solomons...........................................................23 Beyond Minimization of Cultural Differences: Modifying the Golden Rule at School by Lauren Moloney-Egnatios and Stefan Amrine.............................................................29

STAFF Publisher Gary R. Weaver Managing Editor Sabrina K. Garba Edition Editor Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath Editorial Review Board Ryan Dalton, Dan Deming, Adam Mendelson, and Gary R. Weaver IMI Director Amira Maaty


Intercultural Management Quarterly is published by the Intercultural Management Institute at American University. IMQ combines original research conducted in the field of intercultural management with the applied perspectives of industry experts, professors, and students.


Professionals, scholars, and students are invited to submit articles of 1,000–2,000 words on issues related to the study and practice of intercultural management. Articles must be innovative and contribute to knowledge in the field but should avoid overly academic jargon. Endnotes are discouraged except in the case of direct quotations or citations and they must follow Turabian citation style. Each submission is refereed by the members of the Editorial Review Board. Accepted pieces are subject to editing.


No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the express written permission of the publication manager. Please contact the managing editor for reprint availability.


Intercultural Management Quarterly Intercultural Management Institute 4400 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest Washington, District of Columbia 20016

© 2014 Intercultural Management Quarterly

A Negotiating Model for the Military Context by Stefan Eisen Jr., Col (ret) United States Air Force


military leader engaging in negotiations is not a new concept – effective leaders have used negotiations in both peace and war. Then why write on military negotiations? The answer lies in the changing nature of the military’s operating environment. First, as civilian organizations have flattened their structures, so has the military. Junior military members are responsible for missions previously conducted by more senior members.1 Second, the nature of their operations has also changed dramatically. To succeed, today’s military must productively engage with people from the joint services; local, state and federal agencies; coalition partners; host nation representatives; as well as non-governmental agencies. Working in this context, the span of the military leader’s responsibility has increased, but not their authority. Today, military leaders must engage with people they have no direct authority over. This environment calls for an adaptive negotiating skill set. This is a skill set that works in the military environment as more junior leaders assume greater responsibilities in these flattened organizations while they reach across to people and groups with differing world views. As straightforward as the need for this skill set may present itself, creating this skill set is more nuanced than applying market-based negotiating models. Market models are very useful starting points, but they do not sufficiently address some of the complexities present in today’s military context. This article outlines these differences and how an adaptive model may better accommodate those differences. The market model is a useful starting point for developing contrasts. The free marketplace is just that; free. Buyers and sellers move about, voluntarily engaging and disengaging in nego-

tiations for goods or services. There is a natural order here – buyers and sellers are voluntarily engaging. It is the exception that a seller must or is forced to engage with a specific buyer and come to an agreement. In contrast, the military is not a free marketplace. Leaders are assigned missions at specific locations with defined objectives while engaging with particular people or groups. To illustrate, leader A is given a training mission B to go to Base Y to gain support of leader Z. Leader A does not have the option to state: “I would rather move to Base M over there and engage leader P.” In military negotiations, mission orders create assigned or forced partnerships. And, at times within these situations, the negotiating “opposite” is either not interested in negotiating or is not aware of the need to negotiate with leader A. The above reveals a second point in this contrast between the market and military context. In the market, both parties are more naturally motivated to negotiate because sellers must sell to stay in business and buyers need to buy goods or services that they can’t efficiently provide themselves. As an example, the grocery business in an urban setting illustrates the mutual motivation to negotiate over the price of food. The grocer needs to sell food (at a profit) to remain in business and an urban buyer needs to buy food (at a reasonable cost) because they can’t supply it themselves. The negotiation is fundamentally over what the seller thinks is a fair profit and what the buyer considers a reasonable price. At some point they meet. If they don’t, the seller is out of business and the buyer goes hungry, neither are sustainable in a market economy. In contrast, in the military context, when leader A goes to Base Y to negotiate with leader Z, leader Z may have no motivation to negotiate. In

Dr. Stefan Eisen Jr. is the Director of the AF Negotiation Center of Excellence, Maxwell AFB, AL. He is the past Air War College Dean of Academics and retired as a Colonel from the Air Force in 2006. He earned a Bachelor of Science (Air Force Academy) , a Master of Science in Systems Management (St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX,) a Master of Arts in Strategic Security Studies (Naval War College), and a Doctorate in Public Administration (University of Alabama). 3

Intercultural Management Quarterly

fact, in their natural state, leader Z may not even know there was a need to negotiate; things were going along just fine before leader A arrived. This is in stark contrast to the motivation to negotiate that exists in most free markets. Thus, in the military context, leaders must be able to initiate and sustain a negotiation with an opposite that, at times, has no natural inclination to engage. Actively managing the relationship to help motivate the opposite becomes a key consideration in the military negotiator’s skill set. To add complexity, there is a third issue. Leader A, regardless of the mission, carries with him/her complications not found in the market – fundamentally the potential to use coercive and even destructive “power over,” a concept developed by Roy J. Lewicki. Although the military negotiator, as in leader A, may see themselves as just an individual, they are simultaneously, in the eyes of the “opposite”, the most powerful military the world has ever seen; with an unprecedented capability for unilateral action. Many market participants are powerful, but no market has the coercive potential that the military can strongly imply or actually use. This perception to use “power over” places the “opposite” (leader Z for example) at a psychological disadvantage. This exists even if leader A, as an individual, never intends to use that power. The Negotiating Preferences and Styles Chart (NPSC)2 is often used to depict this concept. Although initially developed for the military context, it also has potential to frame negotiations in other contexts. The scale on this model specifically addresses the military context in a novel manner; it includes the ability to assign negative values for both the task and people considerations. This provides the user with a tool to better understand the potential impact that these negative values present when selecting a negotiating strategy. Negotiators may never intend to pursue these negative values, but they must understand that these options exist for them and can be perceived in the minds of the opposite. 44

Within the military context, these negative

values represent the potential to use power “over”; to “hold at risk, deny or destroy” the opposite’s material (or task) objectives; as well as “hold at risk, deny or destroy” the relationship with the opposite.3 In the extreme, although the option of force is available, in reality it is a rarity in a negotiation outside of kinetic operations. However, the opposite’s perception of this potential for unilateral action requires the leader to take special steps to, again, actively manage the relationship and if the strategy calls for it, emphasize trust- and rapport-building actions. Beyond the conceptual factors, other issues occur when engaging in a negotiation. When determining the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) in a military context, special considerations are needed. Due to mission assignment, not only are partners assigned, but so are expectations. To borrow an iconic descriptor: “Failure is not an option.” Thus, a BATNA, or exercising an option not involving the opposite’s participation4, is often not viable in a military negotiations. In the free market, a buyer finding another seller, or choosing not to buy at all (assuming there are reasonable alternatives within the status quo) are viable BATNAs. For leader A to disengage from leader Z to either move to another location or pursue the status quo is unacceptable as a matter of course. Mission orders assign the location and furthermore, if the status quo was sufficient to begin with, leader A would have never been given the mission to engage leader Z. In this context, viable BATNAs are difficult to establish due to the nature of the mission directive. Of course, a possible military BATNA is the use of “power over” in the form of kinetic operations. However, often rules of engagement prohibit such action – rendering this potential BATNA as not viable. Additionally, the free market has and continues to create, many useful standards when determining “fair” outcomes. Market negotiators can use law, precedent, reports on commodities, goods and services, as well as specific documents on auto values (Kelley Blue Book (KBB), EdIntercultural Management Quarterly

values (Kelley Blue Book (KBB), Edmunds, or real estate ( These guides can be quite authoritative and helps bound the market. With mass information distribution, these guides are available to both parties, helping to even the playing field. In contrast, for the military leader, there is no “… KBB for military decisions.” To help guide the military negotiator, identifying and prioritizing interests of the parties becomes a paramount task. This prioritization helps military negotiators use an internal compass (the combined prioritized interests) to help guide the selection of a solution. This suggested technique compensates for the lack of external guidance that is more commonly available in the market. If “interest prioritization” is not a viable option for selecting a potential solution, then the military negotiator must make an assessment of the relative power balance and act accordingly. Market-based models can be, at times, useful for the military negotiator. But they present an assumption that is not easily translated into the military context – that the negotiators have similar worldviews and desires in negotiating approaches and outcomes. With similar world-views, many negotiating variables are better understood and have the potential for efficient win-win outcomes. For example, negotiators might display “rational” decision processes. It may also suggest similar views of fairness. Additionally, both negotiators might be task-oriented, perhaps not valuing relationship needs. In the market, relationship issues (or psychological interests) are usually second-in-importance to task issues (or substantive interests). Although the military is an equipment and technology dependent organization, it is fundamentally a “people-business” and its problems involve people issues as much as, or more, than substantive issues. As a senior leader offered during a roundtable (paraphrased):

Business means dollars, diplomacy means policy, but military negotiations are about people and most of the people don’t see the world the way I must. They can’t and 5

I can understand that. It doesn’t mean we can’t come to an agreement, it just means we have to work harder at it.5

Today’s military context is even more multi-dimensional than just a generation or two ago. In this context, encounters with opposites who hold significantly different world views are the norm. A leader also does not need to visit another country to see these differing world views. Diversity within a leader’s own unit is not only a conceptually desirable Department of Defense (DoD) personnel policy, but a demographically driven reality of today’s, and more so tomorrow’s, military force structure. From that, subsequently suggesting that different world views can lead to conflict that requires a variety of approaches is a reasonable conclusion. The NPSC, mentioned previously, presents five basic negotiating strategies to support two primary purposes. First, it gives the military negotiator the ability to better tailor a negotiation strategy to their particular situation. The ability to tailor negotiating strategies allows the military negotiator to place varying emphasis on the task and relationship to achieve one of five strategies: force their selected solution on the opposite; deny the opposite an opportunity to develop a solution; develop a compromise solution; allow the opposite to gain their objectives outright; or to potentially develop a better solution together than either party could do on their own. To illustrate the need for this flexibility in choosing an adaptive strategy, interest-based negotiations (IBN) would suggest a collaborative approach to every situation. However, in a bona-fide crisis, where lives are on the line, a collaborative approach, although potentially getting to a better solution, takes time – often there is no time in a crisis. A direct, task-oriented “Insist” approach may leave value on the table, but it can build a “good-enough” solution “just in time”. Second, and as important, negotiations is a two-way street. Not only should the leader know what strategies are available to them, but the NPSC allows the leader to also identify the strategy that is being Intercultural Management Quarterly

used by their opposite. This can prove valuable when countering the opposite’s strategy within a negotiation. For leaders to remain effective in this changing military context, both within a unit and across to other organizations, they must build an adaptive set of negotiating skills to meet these challenges. Using market-based models is a good start, but special considerations within the military suggest a more expansive perspective on what an effective negotiating strategy might look like. Disclaimer: “The views expressed in this academic research paper are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US government, the Department of Defense, or Air University.” _______________________________ The Strategic Corporal concept is attributed to Gen Charles Krulak when he was the Marine Corps Commandant. Marines Magazine, January 1999. Available at: url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=2&cad=r ja&ved=0CDAQFjAB& au%2Fawc%2Fawcgate%2Fusmc%2Fstrategic_corporal.htm&ei= gonpUtbUCJG1sAS57ICABg&usg=AFQjCNH7BoQjzdSAUae Rp-XiwN5wNdQdqw. Accessed 12 December 2013.


Eisen, Practical Guide to Negotiating in the Military(2nd edition), p. 14


From Army Field Manual FM 101-5-1 Operational Terms and Graphics. Available at: j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CD EQFjAC& uzJNuresATX7YGgDg&usg=AFQjCNFc0F5V0YAxrKk-sDKxwI iqcn64Zw. Accessed 29 January 2014.


Fischer, Roger and William Ury, Getting to Yes, p. 99.


Attributed to a senior DoD leader participating in a 2013 NCEsponsored negotiations seminar.



Intercultural Management Quarterly

New Vistas for Intercultural Research and Understanding by Ray S. Leki


e live in exciting times. Intercultural education, training, and research are on the cusp of leveraging great advantages from recent advances in neurophysiology and the powerful and sensitive new tools being used to examine the functioning of the brain. Where in the brain does culture reside? What are the connections between cognition, affect, environment and culture and how do they develop? What value can these new insights bring to those of us in the field? The advent of this new era provides an opportunity to look ahead and imagine the impact of new advances on our understanding of the interactions between our brains and our cultures.

Four areas of incredible innovation show exceptional promise for pushing the boundaries of intercultural understanding. Collectively, they represent fascinating new areas of exploration – new angles, new insights from other fields, new tools, and new energy. First, a new generation of psychologists are using animal models to study human culture. Second, a new field is emerging between the borders of neurology, psychology, sociology, intercultural communications, biology and environmental science. Cultural neuroscience is a hybrid field that is mining the techniques and wisdom across fields to unearth a more holistic understanding of human nature. Third, powerful new tools are opening the secrets of the brain, particularly functional magnetic resonance imaging. Finally, the evolution of informatics – the science of managing and harvesting huge amounts of information, is a unifying theme that runs through all these innovations and already has the power to completely change the way intercultural research is conducted. These four innovations are not the stuff of science fiction – they exist today.

Harnessing these tools and strategies to better understand culture is the work that lies before researchers and practitioners in this field. Before delving into the specifics, it may be helpful to have a quick look at how these innovations are interrelated. Anthropologist Paul Mason developed a simple model that helps illuminate the dynamic and ongoing tensions between brains, cultures, the environment, and the resultant “reality” that this interaction creates. Interculturists have long understood the dynamic exchange between environment and culture. This model brings in the brain as a way of demonstrating the greater interactivity that influences our reality. The brain both influences and is influenced by culture and the environment, just as the environment and culture interact with each other and so on to create reality. One avenue of scientific approach to learning about these interactions lies in the study of animal models – how the environment affects the individual, for example. But using such models to study culture has been limited by the assumption that only human beings are capable of creating and sustaining a culture, as it is understood. Interculturist and psychologist Nan Sussman, currently at the College of Staten Island, used a unique opportunity to test that assumption. Her experiments with a species of rats demonstrated that not only are rodents capable of culture, but that the stresses of cross-cultural transition and resultant changes in the neurobiological response are largely the same as occurs within human populations. In a series of elegant experiments, she measured cortisol levels of sojourner rats that were entering and living in cultures other than their own. Rats experience culture shock. While

Ray S. Leki is an adjunct professor of intercultural management, the author of Travel Wise: How to Be Safe, Savvy and Secure Abroad and the director of the U.S. Department of State’s Transition Center at the Foreign Service Institute. This paper is an abridged version of a keynote address given by Leki at the Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research Conference in 2013. 7

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that’s an interesting and somewhat amusing finding, the larger implication for the possibility to use animal models to examine various aspects of intercultural experience, cultural behavior, and the neurophysiological reality and behavior of individuals is extraordinary. Joan Chiao and her colleagues from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, published data in 2013 that began to define the emerging field in Cultural Neuroscience: Progress and Promise, in the Journal of Psychological Inquiry. The field uses a variety of animal models to explore the impact of the same neurotransmitters that run through human beings on animals. What does varying the serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and cortisol levels, for example, do to both individuals and the collective behavior of a population of animals? One particularly astonishing area of research includes examining the DNA of animals that have interacted with an environment for changes within their alleles – genetic switches that activate or deactivate genes to code for a particular response. For example, a gene that determines the rate of re-uptake of a neurotransmitter can have two variants – alleles – that either code proteins to enhance or diminish receptivity of the organism’s cell membranes to serotonin. That allele, if switched on, will drive the individual’s behavior, which if generated by an environmental pressure – hunger for example – that is operant on many individuals within a community, will also drive the collective behavior – the culture – of that population. Even more remarkably, those switched alleles can be transmitted to the next generation through procreation, thereby assuring the same bias towards response that drove the parent generation. These epigenetic responses have become available for study in humans thanks to the Human Genome Project and related research. These advances in genetics and molecular biology have spelled the death of the old nature versus nurture controversy. It turns out that it isn’t a question of nature or nurture – the environment 8

and the individual turn out to have always been highly interactive. Furthermore, the idea that an epigene – an allele can be switched on by the environment and persist for generations - provides an eerie parallel to definitions of culture as a set of learnings/values/biases/survival strategies actively taught by the preceding generation to its offspring. In parallel to the advent of the tools provided by the Human Genome Project, advances is neuroimaging have been dramatic. One of the main tools in neurology is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which provides non-invasive, high resolution mapping of the brain, and information on which specific parts of the brain are functionally activated in response to stimulus (fMRI). fMRI uses an extraordinarily powerful magnetic field to examine and document the relative flows of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood through brain tissues. Where in the brain does culture reside? MRI provides scientists with unprecedented access to answer that question. The International Cultural Neuroscience Consortium, funded in part by an NIH grant, is ultimately focused on using the tools of neuroscience to understand the workings and interactions of culture on the disease state – how do we use what we know about how cultures vary and are expressed genetically to cure Alzheimer’s, for example. fMRI provides a three dimensional view of the brain across time and information about which areas of the brain are activated given a specific stimulus. The medical applications are driving much of the research funding – how does the fMRI of a psychopath vary from a more normal person? What happens to the brain and the firing locations of a patient with Alzheimer’s or who has suffered a stroke? It is this tool that most elegantly demonstrated neuroplasticity – the reality that the brain can reshape and re-function itself in response to the environment, culture, trauma, or pathology. This is an incredible window into the darkest secrets of life. But even fMRI has its limitations – something as complex as culture evokes a wide array of stimulus responses that light up huge numbers of hot spots in the brain. How are they connected? How does the brain process the Intercultural Management Quarterly

flow of information coming in? The next step in the development of the tool involves the development of statistical models that can essentially follow brain blood flow over time and project what the probable information pathway – the neural circuits and networks -looks like. Finally, all of the advances and areas of promise in intercultural research that I have described are driven by information – massive amounts of information about cultures, characteristics, traits, individual variation, for an Earth population that will soon hit 10 billion – 10 gigs of people. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the revelations brought out by Ed Snowden’s release of classified information from the National Security Agency is not that a government is engaged in massive wiretapping operations, but the reality that it is possible to capture and process massive amounts of data in real time. Imagine a more innocent, consensual use of literally oceans of data. Who talks to whom? In which languages? Dialects? What do people in different cultures talk about? What do they fear? How quickly, and in which directions, are peoples’ cultural and personal values changing? There is no limit. The environment – the ability to manage and process information – will impact our brains and or cul-


ture to either elicit an allele response that makes us feel less threatened by the loss of privacy – or feel more indignant. That will prompt a cultural response that will impact the environment – either more controls or less on the management and privacy of data and the anonymity of the individual. We may be headed for an environment of Big Brother is watching us – or for an environment in which everyone has the ability to watch everyone so who cares? As this dance between our brains, our alleles, our cultures, and our environments plays out, we will also have the opportunity to use powerful new tools and to reach deeper levels of understanding of culture and the interactive role it plays in our lives and this planet.

Intercultural Management Quarterly

Zoom: A Simulation for Cross-cultural Training by Adriana Medina-López-Portillo


s a cross-cultural and personal leadership trainer, I’m always excited to find training activities that are conducive to powerful learning experiences while being malleable, easy to use and transport, and affordable. I found such an activity in Zoom, a problem-solving and communication exercise which consists of 30 sequential pictures that create a narrative. In this article, I introduce Zoom and suggest how it can be transformed into a powerful simulation for cross-cultural training programs with an original structure for debriefing. Before introducing Zoom, I want to make a distinction between an activity and a simulation. While the objective of both types of training exercises is to foster learning by having the participants perform a task and process their experience during the debriefing, a simulation does so in a way that replicates a specific context. That is, in a simulation, the participants assume specific roles and behaviors that are defined by the context they are trying to simulate. While Zoom can be used effectively as a training activity, my discussion focuses on its use as a simulation designed to replicate the challenges presented by behavioral and communication differences between cultures. Zoom The activity Zoom and its name are derived from the book by Hungarian-born illustrator Istvan Banyai. The book presents a sequence of unified drawings that gradually expand the viewer’s perspective, starting with close-up images of mundane objects, and gradually broadening the

perspective until it culminates in a tiny image of the earth set against a black cosmos. Like the book itself, the activity is designed to challenge perspectives. The activity is conducted by a facilitator, who gives one of Banyai’s images to each participant, and then directs everyone to organize the pictures in the correct sequence as a group. There are a total of 30 pictures, so the activity works best with a group of 20 to 30 participants. It takes approximately 35 minutes to complete, including the debriefing. As an activity, Zoom is relatively straightforward and simple. As a simulation, it becomes more complex, but it can provide facilitators with a powerful platform for eliciting differences in behavior, communication styles, and leadership styles. The idea is to simulate potential intercultural encounters—and then to help the participants examine their reactions to these differences. A successful Zoom simulation will bring transparency to the participants’ assumptions, expectations, group dynamics, and commitment—or lack thereof. It takes about an hour and a half to complete, including the debriefing. The overview of the simulation is as follows: The participants are divided into two groups, each of which is assigned specific behaviors (as with other simulations) by the facilitator. Both groups have to work together to organize the pictures in sequence. The twist is that individuals can only see their own picture, which they cannot show to anyone else, so the success of the task is dependent upon the participants’ communication and leadership skills, and their ability to negotiate

Adriana Medina-López-Portillo is Associate Professor of Intercultural Communication and Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She is a member of the Center for the Advancement of Intercultural Communication at UMBC, Associate Faculty at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication and the founder of the Baltimore chapter of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research (SIETAR). She is an accomplished intercultural trainer, having designed and led workshops for higher education, not-for-profit, governmental, and corporate clients in the United States and abroad. Her research focuses on study abroad, intercultural competence development, emotional intelligence and personal leadership. 10

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the behavioral differences. The following section describes in detail how to facilitate Zoom. Facilitating Zoom The simulation has three distinct parts: (1) setting the stage, (2) performing the simulation (which I also refer to as the task), and (3) debriefing. (1) Setting the stage: The simulation begins with the facilitator establishing the context, explaining that the group is an intercultural team that has been given an important task, and that there are two culturally diverse groups, each with a defined set of behaviors and communication styles pertaining to a specific culture. After dividing the participants in two groups, the facilitator distributes the behavioral instructions and indicates that each group must abide from now on to its assigned cultural behaviors and communication styles. Next, he/she instructs each group to take a few minutes to choose a name for its culture, giving everyone an opportunity to practice their new behaviors. All of the behaviors are part of a behavior pair. Each pair is comprised of two seemingly opposite behaviors, one of which is assigned to one group, and the other of which is assigned to the other group. For example, Group A may be told, “You speak to others when they are only two feet away from you,” while Group B is told, “You speak to others only when they are at an arms’ length from you.” The following is a list of ideas for behavior pairs. They can be used as they appear here, or as a springboard for the facilitator to customize as he/she sees fit. I recommend that the facilitator use only two pairs of behavior, to keep the simulation manageable for the participants. Organizing the pictures can be challenging enough, without the assigned behaviors. • “You speak to others when they are only two feet away from you.”/ “You speak to others only when they are at an arms’ length from you.” 11

• “When being spoken to, you look at the person’s shoe.”/ “When being spoken to, you look at the person straight in the eye without blinking.” • “When asked a question, you give full answers to women, and yes/no answers to men.”/ “When asked a question, you give full answers to men, and yes/no answers to women.” • “When people approach you, you smile broadly to develop trust as a sign of good will.”/ “When people approach you, your face becomes emotionless to show respect for the other as a sign of good will.” (2) Performing the Simulation: Once each group has a name, the participants are given a picture, which they cannot show to anyone else. Everyone is told that the groups have to work together to figure out the narrative sequence. They are encouraged to look at their picture closely so they can describe it to the others. The participants are then given time to put the narrative together. Once they are finished or out of time, everyone turns his or her picture around, and the facilitator verifies the order and corrects the sequence if necessary. The debriefing follows. Most likely, it will take some time for each group to get used to the different behaviors and communication styles of the other group. Some individuals will adapt faster, usually those who have intercultural competence skills. Leadership efforts will emerge at different points of the simulation. Depending on the makeup of the group in a given cross-cultural training session, different dynamics will develop at different times: in some sessions, certain individuals may try to organize a whole group effort from the start, attempting to facilitate a collective strategy; in other session, individuals may start by talking to other participants one-on-one until they find others who have pictures with some of the same elements they have in their own pictures. When Zoom is used as an activity as opposed to a simulation (i.e., without the ascribed behaviors), groups tend to organize the narrative in its entirety. When used as a simuIntercultural Management Quarterly

lation, there is a greater chance for the narrative to not be completed, in which case the facilitator must remind the participants that the objective is not to complete the story, but to learn from the process. (3) Debriefing: The debriefing is where the lessons on working across cultures emerge, through help from the facilitator. The lessons stem from the participants’ reactions to differences in behavior, communication styles and leadership styles. The participants reflect on what they just experienced and share what they learned during the activity. As they enter the dialogue, they are exposed to different points of view, are likely to challenge—or at least stretch—each other’s perspectives, and have an entry point to the other participants’ assumptions and expectations. Equally important, the participants are invited to look within and learn about themselves. Forty-five minutes should be allotted for the debriefing. The first step is for the facilitator to ask one group what they thought about the other group. He/she should ask for adjectives that describe the members of the other group. This is a way to elicit judgments. He/she jots down everything that is said and encourages the respondents to not filter the information. When the topic is exhausted, he/she asks for the emotions that came up as participants were trying to accomplish the task. He/she jots down a second list. Meanwhile, the second group is only listening. The second step is for the facilitator to repeat the question-and-answer process with the second group, while the first group just listens. Once the information is collected from both sides, the facilitator asks everyone to step out of their roll. The third step is to open the floor to a guided conversation. The facilitator chooses the most relevant questions depending on (a) what transpired during the activity, (b) whether the group as a whole was able to complete the task or not, and (c) how accurately was the task 12

accomplished. Here are some of the questions the facilitator may ask: • What happened? What were you asked to do, under what circumstances? • How did you feel/think when you were given the instructions to put the story together? • Was it hard/easy to put the story together? What made it hard? What made it easy? (Here, the idea is to elicit that the differences in behavior made the task harder, if that was the case.) • Did you do anything to bridge the communication gap (provided that there was one)? What and how did it work? • Look at the lists of judgments and emotions. How did the judgments and emotions emerge? Are they positive, negative or both? • How do individuals’ judgments and emotions affect teamwork? How efficient and effective is the task likely to be if there are negative judgments and emotions of each other? Has this happened to you in real life? • Is there anything you could have done to communicate and lead more efficiently? What prevented you from using such strategies? (Pay attention here if they start saying what the others could have done, this is a great learning moment.) • What did you learn about communication? • What kind of leadership was used to tackle the problem? • Who were the leaders and at what points? Did you assume a leadership role? Why or why not? • How and when do you decide to be a leader? What makes the difference? • What did you learn about leadership? • What variables affected the way you behaved? What were you telling yourself as to why you did or did not do what was needed to complete the task? • What did you learn about yourself? Intercultural Management Quarterly

• How would the activity have been different if you could have all shown each other your pictures? What if you were given the time you needed to complete the task? • How does this process resemble intercultural teamwork in the workplace? • If you were to tackle a similar activity again, what do you think you all could do differently? • What can you do to address cultural differences in your workplace? When used effectively as a simulation, Zoom can help individuals become aware or be reminded of their struggles when they encounter behaviors that challenge them. Furthermore, it can powerfully illustrate the difficulty—if not impossibility—of accomplishing a task effectively and efficiently when most (or all, or even a few) members of a group remain fixed in their own communication styles and behaviors, without regard to cultural differences. Intercultural competence development is essential for the healthy functioning of multicultural groups. In particular, it is a reminder for managers that culture is a factor that needs to be accounted for in the workplace. When this simulation is embedded in a cross-cultural training program, a productive conversation on attitudes, skills and intercultural competence is far more likely to emerge. Conclusion The material used in a simulation is always a means to an end. Whether a trainer uses Zoom or any other activity is not as important as the questions asked and the lessons that emerge during the debriefing. Having said that, using Zoom as a simulation gives the cross-cultural trainer a reliable path to enter the world of cross-cultural interactions.


Intercultural Management Quarterly

Short-Term Study-Abroad: Quality, Not Quantity by Kyoung-Ah Nam


s international education and enhancing intercultural competence are increasingly becoming a core mission in many educational institutions in the U.S. and worldwide, study abroad is viewed as a major way to accomplish it. While most study abroad research has focused on long-term programs, national study abroad enrollment trends over the last 20 years reflect a significant increase in shorter-term study. Currently more than half (59%) of U.S. students select short-term programs (including summer, January, or less than eight weeks during the academic year), while 35% choose semester study abroad, and only 3% spend a full academic or calendar year.1 Although the overall number of students studying abroad increased almost fourfold between 1993 and 2012, the number studying abroad for a full academic year steadily declined. Short-term programs are becoming more popular partly because they provide international study opportunities to students unable to participate in more traditional programs because of financial or time constraints. This often encourages more underrepresented students to consider study abroad. In addition, short-term programs also relieve the concerns of first-time travelers and their families. Although a few-week short-term experience may not significantly enhance participants’ intercultural development, it could have larger significance as a “foot in the door”. Despite the rapid rise in short-term study abroad programs, their impact remains unexplored. While some are skeptical about their significance, it is important to acknowledge the

current national trend and to examine ways to make these programs more effective. Recent literature is beginning to address ways to maximize the benefits of the short-term study abroad experience. However, little attention has been given to participants’ perceptions of what was most valuable and influential. This article examines the effectiveness and impact of two three-week short-term study abroad programs for U.S. students in two different locations, Europe and Southeast Asia. The aim is to examine how to make short-term study abroad as meaningful as possible. Mixed-methods research design was used: quantitative measures from pre- and post-survey questionnaires; pre- and post-sojourn assessments using the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)2; and qualitative data obtained from in-depth interviews. Partial findings from the survey and interview data are presented here. Identifying specific characteristics of study abroad programs that students find valuable will help inform policy and practice to improve short-term programs. Based on the participants’ interviews and surveys, the following were key features of their study abroad experiences. The opportunity to enhance intercultural competence This was one of the major features that participants described as most valuable. Some participants were surprised that understanding of the host culture was more important than knowl-

Dr. Kyoung-Ah Nam’s research and teaching interests include intercultural communication, maximizing study/work abroad, interaction between international faculty and U.S. students, expatriate intercultural training, and global leadership development. Dr. Nam has extensive experience in intercultural training, consulting, and public relations in North America and in Asia working with international organizations and key transnational companies including the United Nations (New York) and UNESCO (Bangkok). Prior to joining AU, Dr. Nam taught courses such as Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Leadership, Intercultural Communication, Critical Issues in International Educational Exchange, Maximizing Study Abroad, and Korean Language and Culture at the University of Minnesota. 14

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edge of the host language. “I think the most important thing that I have learned was the ability to interact with people there… intercultural communication… it’s more than the language…I felt it had more to do with me dealing with the culture itself.” Variety and depth of the curriculum With regard to specific program characteristics, respondents indicated the importance of having a curriculum with variety and depth. This included learning opportunities provided through field trips, guest speakers from the host country, a variety of accommodation options during the program, and opportunities to interact with locals in different contexts. Critical role of program instructors and on-site mentors A majority of participants emphasized the important role of instructors and on-site mentoring. Having a mentor who could help students reflect on similarities and dissimilarities between their host and home cultures, and who could both support and challenge the students played a critical role in maximizing students’ intercultural learning. The opportunity to interact with locals Another key factor was the opportunity to interact with locals, whether through the program curriculum or via personal efforts. However, the experience varied depending on students’ individual circumstances, living situation, and personality. The opportunity to stay with local roommates appeared to bring a positive influence and led to further opportunities to interact more with locals for many students. The majority of interviewees mentioned that, if they were to study abroad again, they would interact more with locals: “What I regret is more on a personal level, because there are just some aspects of my per15

sonality I couldn’t get over in three weeks, to be comfortable enough to do that… I didn’t meet new people. (If anyone is going abroad, I would strongly suggest) to just get out there and meet people.” The students’ own readiness and open attitude In addition, participants’ readiness and the attitudes they brought to the program also played a key role. For example, individual participants spent their free time differently within the same programs. One student whose intercultural sensitivity rose significantly emphasized the importance of openness and a positive attitude during the study abroad: “It was the best experience of my life because, first of all, I’ve never traveled outside of the country, and not only that, I was able and willing to try anything there: food, the activities… you really have to make the best of what you have when it’s on your plate. And I honestly felt that I did everything that I could to make it enjoyable for myself and for them, the Thai community... and to integrate within it, it’s going to make you a better person, no matter what, if you make it a good situation.” In contrast, one student whose IDI score change was not as significant had spent most of her free time alone in her room watching American TV networks or reading an American novel written in English: Having an enjoyable, stimulating, and impactful study abroad experience does not necessarily mean that a participant’s intercultural sensitivity level is increased. It is important to note that study abroad participants could have a monocultural rather than an intercultural experience abroad, i.e., a ‘U.S.-American’ experience in the host country, but not the experience of a host culture person. Students can be knowledgeable about the host country and enjoy the study abroad experience, but still be unsuccessful in developing their intercultural competence. When students are Intercultural Management Quarterly

not yet ready to be exposed to an unfamiliar and/ or challenging cultural environment, their intercultural sensitivity level measured by IDI tends to regress. Impact on participants’ professional and personal development The three-week short-term study abroad programs also had a positive impact on participants’ professional and personal development, including career goals, educational aspirations, self-awareness, worldview, global engagement, and motivation related to international affairs. Study abroad returnees emphasized the significant value of international experience, and sought further study abroad opportunities and/ or international career development. Many participants also mentioned their increased interest in developing language skills becoming global citizens: “It may be too early to tell, but after going to Thailand, I do want to go back. I’m sure later on in my career, I’ll try to have a job that is more international. I’d say that because of the study abroad experience, I would keep continuing to travel in the future.”

major related to international affairs; 4) pursue a career in the international field; 5) pursue graduate study in the U.S.; 6) pursue graduate study abroad; 7) work abroad in the future; 8) travel abroad; 9) study abroad; 10) make international friends; 11) date someone from a different culture; 12) marry someone from a different culture; 13) live in another country; 14) try international food; and 15) work with international colleagues. Overall, the participants’ responses to the posttest showed that the experience had significantly influenced their perspectives. For example, 40% of particpants answered that they would like to take more courses related to international affairs after completing a three-week study abroad program. Over a third said they would be more likely to pursue a career in the international field, date someone from a different culture, live in another country, work with international colleagues, and work abroad in the future. The significance of short-term study abroad While most of the existing literature cites the merits of long-term programs, interview data from this study clearly reveals why and how shortterm study abroad can also benefit participants.

Changes between Pre- and Post-Test

Many participants chose short-term programs because they would otherwise have been unable to study abroad due to time and/or financial constraints. Others favored the short-term option because it allowed them to graduate on time. A recent study found that students who studied abroad in short-term programs of eight weeks or less had higher four-year graduation rates, regardless of their SAT scores, than students who studied abroad for longer periods of time.3

The impact of the short-term study abroad experience was also observed by asking before and afterwards whether participants would like to 1) take (more) courses related to international affairs; 2) learn another language(s); 3) pursue a

The short-term duration was especially favored by first-timers. It relieved the concerns of students (and their families) who had never traveled abroad before, yet still provided an international experience. Participants especially empha-

A majority of participants mentioned that their study abroad experience stimulated personality changes, especially the development of confidence and independence. Participants also noted how much their perspectives and worldview changed after returning from the study abroad, including their self-awareness.


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tional experience. Participants especially emphasized that the structure and depth of the program was more important than duration. Many participants also mentioned that it was the best experience they had ever had, and wished that everybody could have a study abroad experience. Conclusion Critics have expressed concern about the minimal impact of short-term programs on students’ development of intercultural competencies. Short-term programs may even be viewed as a kind of glorified cultural tourism. The findings of this study, however, suggest that a three-week short-term study abroad program can have a positive impact on participants’ intercultural sensitivity as well as professional and personal development. The current national study abroad enrollment trends reflect the importance of short-term study abroad programs, with rapidly increasing numbers of participants and programs, along with major federal funding. Short-term programs are offered as legitimate educational experiences for students who are unable or unlikely to participate in semester or academic-year programs abroad. As the quantity of the programs increases, however, there appears to be less focus on quality. The success of study abroad should not be measured solely by the number of students sent abroad. Participating in study abroad is not a quick route to gaining intercultural competence. Despite increasing numbers of study abroad programs, increasing numbers of study abroad participants are left to learn on their own without adequate guidance.

and stereotyping. Students learn effectively and gain intercultural skills only if the program is structured properly before, during, and after their experiences abroad. With the dramatic increase in short-term study abroad, it is imperative to enhance program quality through careful and systematic curriculum designs that foster transformative cultural learning. _______________________________________

IIE (2013). Open Doors, cations/Open-Doors/Data/US-Study-Abroad/Duration-of-StudyAbroad/2001-12


Participants’ intercultural sensitivity was measured by Intercul tural Development Inventory (IDI) in this study. IDI is a 50-item theory-based instrument that measures intercultural sensitivity as conceptualized in Bennett’s (1993) Developmental Model of Intercultural sensitivity (DMIS). The IDI is often used to mea sure a sojourn’s intercultural sensitivity in the study abroad field because it has a strong theoretical foundation, and proven validity and reliability.


Redden, E. (2007). So what did you learn in London?. insidehigh Retrieved February 24, 2014 from http://insidehighered. com/news/2007/06/01/research


When appropriately designed, effectively implemented, and responsibly assessed, study abroad programs can contribute to this higher education mission. The opportunity to interact and learn from different people, cultures, and communication styles can only be provided by well-designed quality programs with constructive intergroup contacts through reduced prejudice 17

Intercultural Management Quarterly

Ambiguity in Product Promotion Excerpt from Chapter 5, “Marketing Ambiguity” in Cross-Cultural Communication with Success

by Bagher Fardanesh


he field of marketing is not immune to the intentional and well-planned formation of ambiguity. In this article I will discuss a range of examples of promotional strategies and other marketing activities will be given, particularly from international perspectives. There are four types of ambiguity in advertisements, which include: •Verbal and Intentional •Verbal and Unintentional •Nonverbal and Unintentional •Nonverbal and Intentional More than expected, there is a wide range of unintentional misunderstanding in promotional efforts, notably in advertising. For instance, we often come across an advertisement that pictures a living room in which family and friends are gathered. It becomes difficult to understand the purpose of such an advertisement. Would it be the carpeting, the living room furniture, or the designer outfits that the picture is trying to promote? The advertisement fails to emphasize the intended product clearly. Some promotional experts, however, believe that these kinds of advertisements are well-thought-out, well- planned, and intentionally used in order to entice the viewers’ curiosity.

The probability of creating a less effective or even counter-effective advertisement is considerably higher in international settings. The underlining reason for this is that promotional planners overlook cultural variations from one market to

another. As stated in Marketing Week, “It is quite an art to tweak the content and presentation of advertising in different countries to produce a universally acceptable message.”1 Kitcatt Nohr, as an example, advertised in the United Kingdom, showing pet owners hugging their pets. This advertisement lost its effectiveness in Italy because it is not common there to hug pets.Therefore, assuming cultural uniformity across nations creates misunderstandings that diminish promotional effectiveness. Timotei Shampoo started selling their products in Taiwan, showing advertisements with a picture of a blonde woman. The Taiwanese women did not feel comfortable using the brand because they mainly have black hair. Later, the brand made the appropriate change to fit the market perception.2 It is also essential to be mindful of the differing meanings of words, brand names, and slogans across cultures. For example, Chevrolet, a division of General Motors, expanded the sales of its Nova to some of the Spanish-speaking countries, including Mexico. In their initial market entry, they noticed people’s reluctance to buy the Nova, which probably occurred because in Spanish, “No-” means “no” and “-va” means “go.” If an advertising campaign is successful in one market, it does not guarantee its success in another market, despite considerable cultural similarities and shared language. Electrolux launched

Bagher Fardanesh earned his PhD in Higher Education with a concentration in Marketing, M.A. in Public Administration, and B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Having a multidisciplinary academic background, he has been teaching a broad range of graduate and undergraduate courses, including international business, international management, and strategic management. He is currently teaching international marketing courses at the University of Maryland, R. H. Smith School of Business. He is the founder of Farco International, a management consulting firm in Boulder, Colorado. Recently, he was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley as Commissioner for the Governor’s Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs. 18

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a successful advertising campaign in England with the slogan, “Nothing Sucks Like an Elecrolux.” However, in the United States, the message was interpreted based on its colloquial meaning.3

Century 2003. He was expressing pride in driving an American automobile. At that time, I noticed a label at the driver’s door stating that the car was imported from Ontario, Canada.

Some years ago, I consulted for an American shoe manufacturer who wanted to explore the Western European markets for exports. The company specialized in men’s shoes with thick soles. The initial plan was to disseminate catalogs and samples of its shoes to prospective intermediaries and major department stores. Although the company was successful in the American market, I advised them to conduct further research before implementing their plan. The reason being, that a major portion of the American market prefers men’s shoes with relatively thick soles that signify quality. However, Western European men favor thin soles on their shoes. Therefore, the manufacturer was looking into the possibility of adapting to that market by making shoes with thin soles or exploring other markets.

The reality is that more than ever before corporations manufacture their products across national borders, and the change in corporate ownership is occurring more frequently. As a result, it is difficult to keep track of what product is made in what country and which corporation belongs to which country. To this end, let us take a few moments to answer the following multiple choice questions:

As noted, all ambiguous advertisements are not unintentional. There are many advertisements that are well planned and executed to be misleading and ambiguous. A billboard shows a young woman with full and shiny hair. Next to the woman is a bottle of shampoo. The objective is to develop an association between such attractive hair and this brand of shampoo, while the woman had beautiful hair to begin with.

2. Giant Foods’ ultimate parent company is in a. The United States b. The Netherlands c. Canada d. The United Kingdom

Many advertisements claim that their product is the best. It is not clear that “being the best” signifies which characteristic of the product is best. Would it be its performance, durability, warranty, size or style? Moreover, is it the best in comparison with other similar products in the market? The objective is to relate the term “the best” with their product. Product Manufacturing and Corporate Ownership Not too long ago, I was talking with a gentleman who was standing next to his Buick 19

1. Godiva used to be owned by a(n)_______ company and now, it is owned by a(n) ________ company. a. American, Belgian b. Belgian, Saudi-Arabian c. American, Turkish d. Swiss, Belgian

3. Greyhound Bus line’s ultimate parent company is in a. The United Kingdom b. Japan c. The United States d. Luxembourg 4. Holiday Inn Express’s ultimate parent company is located in a. The United Kingdom b. Japan c. Canada d. The United States 5. Ben & Jerry is owned by which of the following companies a. Unilever Intercultural Management Quarterly

b. General Mills c. Kraft Food d. Nestlé 6. The first Subway restaurant opened overseas was in a. Cairo b. Buenos Aires c. Vienna d. Bahrain 7. Gerber baby food was acquired by a company in a. Germany b. Austria c. Australia d. Switzerland 8. 7-Eleven store’s ultimate parent company is in a. Norway b. Japan c. The United States d. Sweden 9. Anhenser-Bush is a(n) ___________ company a. German b. Belgian c. American d. Japanese The answer to the above nine questions are: 1.c., 2.b., 3.a., 4.a., 5.a., 6.d., 7.d., 8.b., and 9.b. Commercials Effective commercial campaigns are critically important; otherwise, ineffective promotions will lead to failures and disappointments. This section will discuss major components of successful commercials, mainly related to global settings. Taking into Account Norms and Expectations of Viewers. Marketing messages must be in harmony with the norms and expectations of the target market. For example, in general, Japanese, compared with Europeans and North 20

Americans, prefer to see a commercial that mostly generates feelings rather than facts.4 So in Japan, advertisements about the performance and price of a product, particularly those that concern comparison with the competition, are not a common practice. Therefore, if a commercial is successful in the United States, that does not secure the same results in Japan. What makes the matter more complex is that music in an advertisement may evoke different feelings and sentiments from one cultural setting to another. A soft drink company advertised its product with hip-hop and rap music in a few industrialized countries. The campaign resulted in great success. The soft drink company decided to continue with the same approach in one of the emerging markets. Soon it realized that the customers preferred native traditional music in the advertisements. Regard for Legal Aspects of Commercials. Launching a commercial campaign in a new market necessitates careful inquiry into legal constraints. As an illustration, in 1973, the Federal Trade Commission clarified that comparative advertisement is not an unfair practice.5 However, in many countries, including some in Western Europe, comparing one brand with another is prohibited. Which products can or cannot be advertised is also an important consideration. J. Thomas Russell and W. Ronald Lane pointed out that “For example, fresh eggs may not be advertised in France, and cruise advertising is not allowed in Italy.” Marketers should also be cognizant of nudity or messages with sexual connotations in their advertisements. The extent to which these approaches can be practiced varies significantly across countries.

Intercultural Management Quarterly

Decision-Making Process. In almost any book on management or organizational behavior, a section is devoted to centralized and decentralized decision making. From an organizational perspective, centralized decision making refers to the authority to make decisions by one or a few individuals. Contrary to this is decentralized decision making, in which delegation of authority takes place. This is when decision makers pass on power to others at a lower echelon in the organization. Centralized decision making has its own advantages. It delivers more uniformity of delivered goods and services. It also provides a better way to monitor pertinent performances and take corrective actions as needed. Moreover, it is a device to minimize duplication of the work process. On the other hand, decentralized decision making delivers its own advantages. Decentralized decision making involves entrusting those who are involved in the work process with the authority to make decisions. That could help boost employee morale and motivation. Also, as a rule of thumb, decisions made by several individuals instead of one or a few individuals deliver better results. In the case of promotional strategies in international landscapes, decentralized decision making has an underlying advantage. It is advisable to delegate the authority to make decisions to the local subsidiaries rather than decisions emanating from the headquarters. By using this process decisions can be made and implemented more efficiently by those who are more familiar with the local market. It is a particularly invaluable approach when a quick response to the competition, such as in pricing, is needed. Appropriate Translation. More and more, international corporations are relying on well thought-out translations of a slogan or a message in order to prevent distorted meanings. There is also a growing expansion of organizations that specialize in translation. Through both secondary and then primary research, they 21

concern themselves with the meanings of a given message among various cultures. Per Capita Income and Level of Literacy. There are a host of considerations in advertisement campaigns. The credibility of a given channel of advertisement is one thing that should be taken into account. For example, sending coupons or notices of sales to individuals is known as direct marketing by the marketers, whereas it is mostly known by the receivers as junk mail and is placed in the trash can. At this point, we refer to two important matters related to the effectiveness of advertisements, per capita income and consumer literacy rate. Per Capita Income. There have been frequent situations in which marketing decisions have failed to take into account the purchasing power of their target market and have subsequently realized unfavorable outcomes in their commercial campaign. In many countries, the average yearly income per individual is less than $2,000.00. In such markets, advertisements for large packages of specific products or advertisements for expensive items may lose effectiveness. With respect to per capita income, it is important to note that, for example, country A might have a higher per capita income than country B. But country B could be a more suitable market because of its higher purchasing ability. Why? It is because of the favorable monetary exchange rates and the pricing structures of that market. Therefore, it is important to look into both per capita income and the purchasing power of that given market. Literacy Rate. Another important element to consider is the literacy level of the target market. Advertising with written descriptions might only be suitable in markets with a high literacy rate. In environments in which there is a low rate of literacy, written advertisements lose their effectiveness and, hence, should be in visual forms, such as billboards or similar channels of advertisements.

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Concluding Points Often, a major portion of marketing investment is allocated to promotional activities. Yet, it has always been a thorny task to measure and conclude the specific level of effectiveness of such activities. One thing is clear: promotional efforts are complicated, particularly with respect to international marketing. Considering a new market without ample knowledge of its socio-cultural and other environmental conditions is like walking in the dark in an unknown area. Therefore, a promotional campaign for a new market should be crafted with care to minimize the risk of unwanted consequences.


___________________________________________________ 1 “Overseas Media: Becoming worldly-wise,” Marketing Week, June 17, 2004, p. 43. David Kilburn, “Crossing Border. (Advertising Foreign Brand Products in Asia),” Adweek, April 14, 1997, p. 22, 24.


Michael R. Czinkota, and Ilkka A. Ronkainen, International Mar keting, 6th ed. (Fort Worth: Harcourt, 2001), p. 65.


4 Kate Gillespie, Jean-Pierre Jeannet, and H. David Hennessy, Global Marketing: An Interactive Approach (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004), p. 418.

J. Thomas Russell and W. Ronald Lane, Kleppner’s Advertising Pro cedure, 12th ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993), p. 474


Intercultural Management Quarterly

Global Leadership Development: Becoming a Global Leader by Jeremy Solomons Can effective leaders in one region/country duplicate their success on a worldwide level?


s business becomes more and more global, many organizations are asking themselves if an effective leader in one country or region can duplicate her or his success on a worldwide level? For example, Lucia Mannone may have a proven track record in the southern European region, but is she still able to develop new client relationships, manage projects, and run teams in the very different markets of Latin America and East Asia? And if she can’t, what is the best way to prepare her and other budding global leaders like her to be fully productive and effective in the future? This article will explore and explode some common myths around global leadership development and then come up with some alternative approaches that coaches can use to help all leaders be successful across international boundaries. In order to do this, let’s go back to Lucia. She is a 38-year-old Italian senior marketing officer for a German medical instrument company. The company headquarters are in Stuttgart and she is based in Milan. She has worked on Italian national accounts and then the southern European region for the last 12 years and her performance and that of her teams have been consistently high.

As her company is expanding in the key markets of Argentina, Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea, she is now being asked to take on a more global role. Her technical knowledge is beyond compare and her ability to motivate her colleagues has been demonstrated again and again, even during economic downturns and company restructurings. But she has not traveled much beyond the Mediterranean, except for a professional conference in Baltimore and family holidays in Phuket and Cancun. For someone like Lucia, the first step is usually to help her become more “culturally competent,” but this can be interpreted and realized in many different ways. Myth 1: The Behavioral Approach1 A typical way to launch “cultural competence” coaching might be for Lucia to read one or two of the many books or websites that outline all the things to do—and more importantly, not to do—in a particular country. If Lucia is like most businesspeople and she does not want to give offense or look stupid, it might be very helpful for her to learn how to give someone a business card in Osaka or what not to discuss at an initial business lunch in Monterrey. All of these hints and tips can certainly help with those important first impressions, but what happens after you kiss, bow, or shake hands?

Jeremy Solomons is the UK-born founder and president of Jeremy Solomons & Associates, which helps current and future leaders to connect and communicate effectively across all cultures – geographical, organizational, professional and individual. From his base in Austin, Texas, he coaches, consults, designs curriculum, facilitates and trains in the areas of: Career/Life Planning; Creative Problem Solving; Cultural Competence; Leading Intact and Virtual Teams; Post-Merger Integration and Synergy; Strategic Planning; Well-Dressed Presenting and Naked Facilitating; and Whole-Brain Thinking. Currently, he currently serves on the advisory boards of both the African Leadership Bridge and Multicultural Refugee Coalition (MRC), having been the MRC’s executive board president in 2011. He is also on the program team for the 2013 Austin Middle School Diversity Leadership Conference. 23

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Lucia might have done her homework and diligently learned the top 50 or 100 or even 500 etiquette tips for working and communicating with Brazilians or Koreans, but what would she do in situation 501? Unfortunately, she would have no idea what to do or say, because the behavioral approach on its own only gives the “whats” and the “hows” but not the “whys.” There is no context for the content. No framework for the structure. Myth 2: The National Values Approach In order to get at the “whys,” Lucia might then be directed to some well-grounded research on the differences between national values. The innovative works of Geert Hofstede2 and Fons Trompenaars3 are frequently studied during this stage of global leadership development. Through her reading, Lucia will probably be delighted to discover that the traditional importance that Italians place on such values as family, relationships, creativity, aesthetics, love, passion, and even calcio (football/soccer) are also shared by Brazilians. She might be surprised to find out that the Chinese value “face”—social harmony and personal honor-just as the Italians do. In China, it is called mianzi and in Italy, bella figura. And she might appreciate the warning that “respect” does not mean the same thing in Mexico as it does in Italy or that the Japanese are much more concerned with centralized authority than the autonomy-loving Italians. Similarly, explanations of the different concepts of “quality” and “seriousness” in Germany and Italy might shed light on some long-running tensions with certain people in the Stuttgart headquarters. But this approach can only help so far, because it is based on a rather dangerous assumption: that everyone—or even most people—within a national culture will conform to the norms of that culture. This is a particularly dubious claim in the vibrant cultures of international business and among young people, where change is a constant 24

and deviation from the norm is much more prevalent. On an individual level, Engineer Lee may not be very Korean in his value system, because he studied for his undergraduate degree at Delft University in the Netherlands and his master’s degree at MIT in Boston. And Señor Trujillo may not be very Mexican as he grew up in seven different countries on three continents, as his mother was a diplomat. And what about Lucia herself? At first glance, it would seem that she is typically Italian, having lived and worked there her whole life apart from her frequent business trips around Europe and a few work and pleasure jaunts beyond the continent. But what if you knew that she was an orphan from North Africa, who was brought up by her nonna (adoptive grandmother) in a clean, safe, but very modest home in a small town outside Naples. As a math genius and natural athlete, she excelled in school and was the youngest MBA ever to graduate from the prestigious Bocconi University in Milan. She is now married to a struggling artist and has three young children, one of whom has cerebral palsy. How might these unique environmental and genetic factors affect her personal value system and how she behaves and communicates with other people? So we can see that both of these more traditional approaches are limited in how far they can help because they only embrace some of the factors that affect human behavior and can easily lead to misleading stereotypes, such as “Mexicans are more interested in family, relationships and security than getting quality work done on time and moving up the career ladder” or “the Chinese are always avoiding conflict and will never directly own up to a mistake”.

Intercultural Management Quarterly

So what are the other factors that may be influencing individual or group behavior? Additional Factor 1 This writer revisited the first stereotype – about Mexicans being family- and relationshiporiented, etc. –while doing some recent values work for two teams at the Central Mexican subsidiary of a large German company. Although most of the members of each team were Mexican nationals who had never lived outside Mexico, there was a clear preference for such values as personal achievement, getting the job done, risk-taking, individualism and egalitarianism, which would not be considered as typically “Mexican”, according to the research of Geerd Hofstede and others. Nor would these values be considered typically German either. What was really going on here? Beyond national culture, it seems that organizational culture was at play. These Mexican employees had deliberately chosen to work for an innovative, hi-tech global communications company that happened to be headquartered in Germany and have a subsidiary in their hometown. As this company expands across the world, it is developing its own unique value system and way of doing things, which may have little in common with the traditional culture and values of Germany or any other single country or region. So, for example, if Lucia Mannone is now trying to develop a new strategic partnership with a large Korean chaebol, she should probably spend a lot more time learning about that company’s values, history, traditions and culture than that of Korea as a whole.


Additional Factor 2 Let’s go back to the oft-quoted lament that “the Chinese are always avoiding conflict and will never directly own up to a mistake”. While this may be true in some cases, it is certainly not true in all of them and even if it does appear to be true in a particular case, it may be masking a much larger issue. For example, a US-based hi-tech company was noticing that many of its software engineers, including all of the East Asian ones, were grossly under-reporting errors in responding to monthly questionnaires. It would have been easy to zero in on the East Asian engineers and try to deal with issues of national “face”, honor and pride. But then managers noticed that they were getting similar omissions in other parts of Asia, Europe, Latin America and even North America. Maybe the corporate culture was becoming too “success oriented” and employees were reluctant to report mistakes for fear of letting down their colleagues and harming their future career prospects? But that was not the case at this organization, which did not have a hyper-aggressive, punitive culture. It was well understood that occasional errors were part of the learning process. What else was really going on? From careful analysis and many interviews, it seemed that the under-reporting was more to do with the “professional” culture of the software engineers, for whom an “error” is like an admission of incompetence and failure. So the managers decided to eliminate all mention of “errors” from the monthly questionnaires and instead they asked the software engineers for their lessons learned, best practices and Intercultural Management Quarterly

suggestions for improvement. Suddenly, the managers started getting a flurry of invaluable insights and ideas from the previously reticent engineers and, not coincidentally, errors were drastically reduced. By recognizing the value and power of “professional culture”, global leaders can actually help their colleagues find a new way of connecting across the world. For example, this may be a good way for Lucia to build trust and rapport with her marketing counterparts in Tokyo or Buenos Aires as they may well have studied exactly the same textbooks as she did in university but they were just in Japanese or Spanish. Unfortunately, “professional culture” can sometimes work the other way if two “experts” butt heads over who knows best about some arcane technical issue. But it is certainly something to bear in mind when trying to develop relationships and build business around the world. Additional Factor 3 As any budding global leader can now see, it is a lot more than national customs and values that explain why someone behaves the way they do half way around the world. Like a “Cultural Detective”, a competent leader will try to work out what behaviors are influenced by geographical culture or organizational culture or professional culture, or a mixture of all three. And even then they may not have the whole answer because they also need to understand the “individual” culture of who each counterpart is: her background, family, race, ethnicity, education, sexual orientation, thinking style, character, personality, etc. 26

Just as Lucia Mannone may not be typical of her country, her company or her profession, anyone she meets with around the world may well be similarly unique. Given this complexity and uncertainty, how can a global leader possibly be effective with counterparts he or she may have never met or may never meet? So far, we identified different ways she could become “globally competent”: 1. By understanding and comparing the different countries’ values and behaviors; 2. By taking into account the organizational culture of her own company – in both its headquarters and its offices around the world – and that of its key clients; 3. By drawing the best from each person’s professional culture, whether they are marketers, doctors, or operations people. But there is still one “culture” that stands out above all others if Lucia or anyone else wants to be successful globally. And that is “individual” culture. Even though anthropologists maintain that culture is a group phenomenon, we all carry around our own individual culture with us, molded by both Nature and Nurture. On the Nature side, our “culture” is formed by such things as our genes, our personality, and our character. On the Nurture side, we are shaped by our family or origin, the community around us, our education, and our opportunities for different kinds of life-altering experiences, such as spending six months between high school and college on a kibbutz in Israel (as this columnist did). Together, they help build our understanding of who we really are and why we behave the Intercultural Management Quarterly

way we do. Across borders, this means that before even attempting to interact with someone from Korea or Mexico, budding global leaders really need to ask themselves some very searching questions about their own “individual” culture. These questions might include: • What does it mean, in a general sense, to be a truly global leader? • What does it mean to me personally to be a truly global leader? • What do I hope to achieve? • How will it enhance my career, my work, and my personal life? • In what ways might it actually impinge on my career, my work, and my personal life? • What natural strengths, learned talents, overarching passions, and core values do I already possess to be a global leader? • What gaps do I have and what hot buttons and blind spots do I need to be aware of? • How can I best overcome my shortcomings through meditation, stretch assignments, travel, studying, coaching, etc.? • What else do I need to be successful on a global level? Once these questions have been addressed and future global leaders are much clearer about the who’s, what’s and why’s of branching out across the world, then they can start to learn more about the individual cultures of the key counterparts with whom they will be interacting. This is obviously easier if colleagues or counterparts have the chance to spend time together both in formal meetings and informal activities over a period of time. The CEO of a successful US consumer goods company would spend one week a month visiting different corporate offices around the 27

world to hold town hall meetings and get to know the people he was leading. Another global energy company has a standard practice of launching any new virtual project by bringing all the new team members together in one place for two weeks. It has continued this practice even after 9/11 and during the recession, believing it important for team members to get to know each other before they start working together across distance. And it has paid off again and again. When colleagues and counterparts don’t have the chance to spend significant face time together, it can be much harder to get to know each other’s individual culture. But it is not impossible. They just have to make a more concerted, conscious effort. Technology and advances in social media networking can really help nowadays. For example, a newly forming global team can easily set up an internal website – Facebook-style – with team member profiles, strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, photos, videos, etc. Each team can then co-create a communication charter, accommodating individual preferences for face-to-face, phone, email, text and/or IM interchanges. Just because an East Asian colleague is always available at 11:00 p.m. for a multipoint conference call, don’t assume that this is what he really wants. He may actually prefer to speak in the early morning, which would mean his colleagues in the Americas will have to stay up late once in a while so that call times are rotated in order to “share the pain.” These are just a few of the many specific ways that global leaders can understand who they are working with and how to get the best out of them without being neglectful or manipulative. Intercultural Management Quarterly

Traditionally, the best piece of advice about how to be successful globally relates to the Golden Rule that is common to many different religions and cultures: treat others as you want to be treated. It seems very logical and fair, but across cultures, there is a fundamental flaw. You are assuming that others are like you and, as such, want to be treated like you. As we have seen in the last three columns, there is a whole host of cultural factors – geographical, organizational, professional, and individual – that can make a seemingly familiar person be very different from you. So this writer would strongly urge you to practice the Platinum Rule instead: treat others as they want to be treated.

spending time with them and asking appropriate questions, you can actually find that he or she is not that far away from you and that you do have a lot in common. By acknowledging the differences and seeking the commonalities, any leader can reach out and not just survive in a global context, but thrive and leave the world a slightly better place. Enjoy the journey! ______________________________________

1 Adler, N (2007). International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior. Florence, KY; Cengage Learning.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations across Nations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. 2

3Hampden-Turner, C. and F. Trompenaars. Riding The Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. Hofstede, G. (2005). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (Revised and expanded 2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. 4

This way, you are acknowledging the potential differences between you and then gradually, as you get to know the other person by


Intercultural Management Quarterly

Beyond Minimization of Cultural Differences: Modifying the Golden Rule at School by Lauren Moloney-Egnatios and Stefan Amrine


ow many of us were taught to follow the golden rule? “Treat others as you would like to be treated,” is a notion ingrained by educators into every elementary school student’s consciousness. But what if the golden rule is a faulty indoctrination? What if this notion of the golden rule is spreading cultural blindness and intolerance in the classroom? Our Changing Student Population: There are fourteen million diverse children in poverty in the United States. According to an essay by Martin Haberman in 2003, they represent a large percentage of the country’s mis-educated.1 The number of Hispanic, African-American, and other non-European students attending public schools in the U.S. has increased dramatically in the last decade. Unfortunately, many of these children are struggling because they are not being treated differently. Their cultural differences and needs are not seen or recognized by their school. This article explores how developing the intercultural competence of teachers is necessary to meet the needs of our growing diverse student population. The historical and cultural norm of most schools in the United States is that students work independently on assignments, tasks, and tests to demonstrate knowledge and skill mastery. Furthermore, competition is encouraged by grading scales, standardized tests, and debate-discussion formats. This teaching practice works for many students. However, let us stop and think about the

student for whom this treatment might not be so golden. High context, collectivist cultures such as African-American, Hispanic, Native American - even some children of low-income communities - often learn through socialization with and cooperation between extended family and community members. These cultures value stylistic expressions that encourage creativity, storytelling, and kinesthetic expression of language. They are skills that often go unrecognized by a curriculum designed for individual accomplishment and written results. Consequently, the community-oriented values of these children reinforced at home may directly clash with the individualistic values that dominate our schools. What about the students who are told to sit quietly in their desk, listen to the teacher, and wait patiently to be called upon if they want to contribute to learning? Again, this classroom management technique works for some students. However, one must consider the African-American student who comes from a culture that values participatory interaction and experiential learning. Anyone who has visited an African-American community’s Baptist Church and experienced the dynamic between the pastor and congregation can attest to the fluid component of intergroup dynamics. The Baptist service feeds off of the active participation of its congregation. The Pastor cannot fully carry out his religious role without the input and interactions of those in his audience. This interactional approach to learning, through

Lauren Moloney-Egnatios is graduating from the School of International Service in May 2014 with a Master’s degree in International Communications. She specializes academically and professionally in International Education Exchange, Intercultural Training, and Career Services for international and domestic students. Lauren offers intercultural training sessions on various topics pertaining communication, conflict management, team-building, and diversity and inclusion. Her background is in language instruction, cross-cultural teaching and training, and international exchange program management. If you have any questions or want to connect, feel free to contact her via email at or on LinkedIn: 29

Intercultural Management Quarterly

engagement with authority, directly speaks to how African-American students may prefer to learn in the classroom. The need for teachers who could be effective with a diverse student population was not fully considered in the development of America’s teaching corps. Teacher training in America was developed for the children of Protestant Europeans. Lessons on Christian piety and morality were greatly incorporated into the teacher training lessons. All of these cultural dynamics influenced and molded classroom instruction, management, and schools into their present form. For many minority students, the cultural values that are predominantly taught in the classroom may be in direct conflict with that of their own culture. However, this cultural dichotomy does present opportunity. If students learn a second set of values, beliefs and behaviors at school, the system could prepare these students to become bicultural in our highly multicultural domestic landscape. The danger is when educators fail to strike a balance between reinforcing individualist and collectivist values and are culturally blind. They could, consciously or subconsciously, perceive non-European students as culturally deficient. Cultural Competence in the Classroom Culture defines the standards for normal behavior, thinking patterns, attitudes, and beliefs. In today’s multicultural and diverse classroom, teachers need to be trained to identify the effects of culture on student behavior and thought. If an Arab sixth grader ascribes human qualities to inanimate objects, is that behavior considered unsophisticated or complexive and creative? If an

African-American fourth grade student prefers to get out of his seat and stand using emphatic gesture to express an idea, is that behavior disobedient and lacking self-control? Or, is it a passionate and sincere demonstration of his unique style? If a Hispanic high school student does not look at an authority figure directly in the eye, is she being disrespectful? All of the answers are dependent on the cultural lens of the questioner. Though our teacher population is increasingly diverse, teachers’ intercultural development training still reflects the tradition of the early teacher education institutions. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that much of the teaching corps has an ethnocentric perspective. This has been proven on a number of occasions with Milton Bennett’s intercultural developmental continuum, which extends from the least culturally sensitive, the ethnocentric stages (denial, defense and then minimization of cultural difference) on one side to the most culturally sensitive or ethnorelative (acceptance, adaption and then integration) stages on the other.2 This continuum has been used to assess both students and teachers. a study by Pederson in1997 employed a modified version of Bennett’s Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) to evaluate students and found that approximately 35% of surveyed seventh graders were in the acceptance stage (ethnorelative perspective).3 Another 35% were in high minimization. This aligns with Kenneth Cushner’s article in 2011 in which he states, research suggests that the teachers are often far more ethnocentric than the children they are tasked with educating.4 For example, in a 2009 study Peggy Bayles found over 90% of 233 elementary teachers

Stefan Amrine is a Doctoral student at George Mason University studying Educational Policy. His research interests include secondary to post-secondary transition for both domestic and international students. He is the Graduate Professional Assistant for the Journal of Mason Graduate Research and an instructor at Mason’s Center for International Student Access. Stefan spent six years as a middle school educator, earning a Masters of Education from the University of Michigan in the process. He also pursues freelance writing and editing opportunities. Stefan may be reached at or 30

Intercultural Management Quarterly

surveyed in a Texas district to be at minimization or below on the ethnocentric side of the spectrum. Similarly, in 2009 Jennifer Mahon came to similar conclusions in a different region of the country. Of 88 teachers surveyed in the western United States, 84% were at minimization stage or below. Findings consistently suggest that approximately 90% of teachers – both in the United States and abroad – are on the ethnocentric side of the intercultural spectrum.5

Implications The inability of educators to be sensitive to cultural difference has profound implications for our schools. Cultural indifference has a number of academic, social and professional consequences. These include but are not limited to the following: cultural misunderstandings that create classroom management challenges; instructional activities that do not foster learning and isolate those who learn in different ways; feelings of alienation from the school system, and frustration on the part of teachers, students and administrators.

Recommendations It is assumed that most schools do not have the funding to invest in IDI assessments or have a staff member trained as a Qualified Administrator of the IDI. When the school does have the means, it is highly recommended that administrators and teachers voluntarily take the IDI assessment tools and use the results as a heuristic device to enhance teaching and self-learning. However, for schools that do not have the financial means, here are recommendations that require minimal investment and yield a high impact in the classroom: • Train teachers to recognize their own intercultural development stage. Building self-awareness around one’s strengths and weaknesses is an imperative step in every educator’s personal and professional life. Once biases and worldviews are brought to 31

conscious awareness, teachers will be better equipped to filter their messaging (both verbal and nonverbal) and understand the values, perceptions, and beliefs that drive their behavior (and pedagogy). Train teachers to recognize the basic intercultural development stage of their students. Using Bennett and Bennett’s guide for, “Developing Intercultural Competence: A Reader”, teachers can learn to identify the intercultural stage of their students based on comments and questions learners at each particular stage tend to say and ask. For example, those in the denial of difference stage are unable to construe difference and therefore, tend to say things such as, “as long as we all speak the same language, there is no problem.” For students in the defense stage, characterized by recognition of cultural difference coupled with negative evaluation of very different cultures, it is common to hear statements such as “I wish they would just talk/do things like we do”. As a means of building trust and promoting acquisition of student-specific cultural knowledge, encourage teachers to set up parent meetings at the home of the student. The more natural the cultural environment, the more insight the teacher will gain about norms, values, beliefs and attitudes shaping the student’s behavior at home. Strike a balance between cooperative learning and competitive learning. Most classrooms reinforce individualistic accomplishment; however, teachers can aim to design learning activities that instill inter-group values such as trust, communication, consideration for others, and cooperation. Establish or identify an existing employee with an ethnorelative disposition to serve as a trained, cross cultural liaison and support resource for school staff. Prior to the school year, provide an intercultural training workshop as a professional development activity. It should give teachers the opportunity to acquire general interculIntercultural Management Quarterly

tural skills such as the following: tolerance towards difference and ambiguity; the ability to check assumptions; the maintenance of a nonjudgmental interaction posture; avoidance of the misattribution error (attributing one’s values to others’ behaviors); and knowing how and when to ask clarifying questions of the “other”. • Recruit, select and prepare interculturally competent teaching staff. Conclusion While hardly a panacea for the challenges of our schools, intercultural training can have a positive impact. With an increasingly


diverse student population, a culturally sensitive teaching corps is necessary. Culturally relevant pedagogy and practice can help foster academic achievement, student engagement, stronger social bonds and a socially just system of education that respects the backgrounds and needs of all our students. _____________________________________

Haberman, Martin. “Who Benefits from Failing Urban School Districts? An Essay on Equity and Justice for Diverse Children in Urban Poverty. ” (2003). Accessed December 2, 2013, http://www. 2 Bennett, Milton. “A developmental approach to training for intercultural sensitivity.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 10, no. 2 (1986): p. 179-196. 3 Pederson, P.V. “Intercultural Sensitivity and the Early Adolescent.” Paper presented at the 77th meeting of the National Council for 1

Intercultural Management Quarterly

Spring 2014 Intercultural Management Quarterly  

Intercultural Management Institute

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