Managing Diversity and Global Communication Skills
Full course description
After an introduction to the topic you will begin with taking stock of your existing skills. In the following meetings we look at how communication styles, values and cultural identities have an impact on intercultural encounters, with special attention to intercultural team work. We will use experiential exercises, in-class discussions, and reflection on your own experiences; all in relation to an attractive textbook. Notwithstanding the use of a textbook, focus remains on skills development. Towards the end of the skills training your learning will be integrated by looking at effective intercultural conflict management.
This is a so-called floating skills, spread out over period 4. It can be taken parallel to two regular courses and gives the opportunity to apply skills in parallel courses.
- Required time involvement is on average ca. 6-7 hours per week, including contact hours, self-study and reflection papers. The actual time involvement might vary somewhat per week.
- ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENT (including lectures): max. one absence over the entire course; Two absences only in case o emergencies such as illness (with additional writing assignment); three absences cannot be compensated.
- There will be 2 lectures and 6 group meetings.
- Lectures might be scheduled in the evenings, also for students who blocked evening education. ATTENDANCE AT EVENING LECTURES is part of the attendance requirement. If evening lectures are scheduled, these will be from 18.30-20.30, but NOT on Fridays.
- Tutorials will be scheduled in day time, and can be any day in the week.
- Given the time involvement, the floating skills can well be combined with 2 regular courses. Clearly, it does involve extra work next to two other courses: it is a serious skills training.
- It is not allowed to take the floating skills next to 3 courses. If you register for the floating skills and ask for permission for taking three other courses in period 4 this will be refused. You do not need special permission to take the floating skills next to two regular courses.
- The big advantage for students for taking the floating skills is that you don’t have to be in Maastricht for period 6, implying a (much) longer free period in summer, e.g. for internships.
Information on registration:
- For the academic year 2017-2018 the number of participants is maximized to 112 (72 regular students and 40 exchange students). Registration is on a first-come-first-serve basis.
- For practical reasons, registration for exchange students for the floating skills will happen outside the regular registration system. Exchange students will be informed about the procedure in the course of October 2017.
GOALS OF THE SKILLS TRAINING
Both in your career and in your studies (e.g. during an exchange period), you will have to be able to work with people from very diverse backgrounds. During your studies diversity manifests mainly in team work and in tutorial groups. During you career you will have to manage diverse groups and organizations. Managing diversity requires effective communication skills and awareness of cultural differences, as communication styles and values vary a lot across the globe.
Intercultural skills in teamwork are used as a frame of reference in the skills training. This approach allows us to deal with virtually all relevant intercultural skills. We use teamwork in SBE as a starting point and gradually work towards translating this to the career perspective of participants. There is also scope for looking at intercultural issues in individual life experiences of participants.
You will discover how intercultural encounters are always a mixture of individual and cultural elements, how to reflect effectively on this, how to communicate about tensions you experience (and how not…), and how to talk about cultural differences in a way that is productive for everybody involved. Together, these form the building blocks of managing diversity in teams.
The training aims at participants of all levels of intercultural experience: from very limited to very extensive. You can take it before, or after your study abroad, and as an exchange student during your stay at UM. Bicultural students and students with extensive intercultural life experience enjoy the training a lot. The skills training will turn your intercultural life experiences into a valuable asset.
Stella Ting-Toomey, Communicating Across Cultures. New York: The Guilford Press, 1999