Profile: jahietbrink

PhD: Assessing Intercultural Competence for International Business


Institution: Campus Fryslan, University of Groningen


Supervisors: Prof. dr. W.H.A. Hofman, Prof. dr. S. Otten, Dr. R.J. Coelen


0% Completed

PhD Description

Although experts agree that Intercultural Competence (IC) is ideally assessed using various methods and perspectives, the most widely used assessment tools are based on self-ratings of attitudes and/or competencies. To assess competence, I am convinced that the assessment should include a behavioural component. Competence depends on professional context; therefore, a description of interculturally competent behaviour in a certain professional context is necessary for a behavioural assessment of IC for that context. The objective of this PhD project is to propose a method to assess specific intercultural competencies, based on actual behaviour, possibly in combination with other (indirect) measures or perspectives. This will be applied to the field of International Business. The general research question is: how to properly assess the behavioural component of Intercultural Competence in the field of International Business?\nThe project will be carried out in four phases leading to four articles for publication. Qualitative and quantitative measures will be combined in a mixed methods approach to fit the purpose of each phase of the research. Phase one, exploring the concepts and constructs of Intercultural Competence, in situ competences and competence assessment, will be qualitative. Phase two will combine qualitative and quantitative methods. First, to find out what outcomes of Intercultural Competence in International Business are according to practitioners, semi-structured interviews will be held in focus groups consisting of (human resource) managers, employees and other stakeholders from ten multinational companies. Afterwards, the outcomes of the focus groups will be presented to a broader group of employees of one of the participating companies by means of a survey. Phase three will be the development of a tool and will use quantitative measures to test and validate it. In phase four, the tool’s applicability will be tested on International Business students and students from comparable but less international programmes from two or three different European universities of applied sciences. Phases three and four will have a quasi-experimental cross-sectional design.\nThe scientific novelty of the project is that it will define in-situ IC competences in the field of International Business based on employers’ needs. These will be used to develop a tool to assess IC for IB based on a performance measure; the tool will be tested and validated by qualitative and quantitative research. The societal benefit of this project is twofold: IB graduates can use the tool to show that they have the necessary IC to work as  beginning professionals; conversely, employers can use it to test candidates’ IC.

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