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4C - Rethinking Intercultural Mobility
Transcript of 4C - Rethinking Intercultural Mobility
Stages of Cross-Cultural
Mobility: Before, During
Three Types of
The Mobility Process
Room for Intervention
4C- IT Supported Training and Coaching
for Cross-Cultural Competences
Adapting to a new culture can be a rewarding learning experience.
But it is not without
In Phase 1 of our project, we were specifically concerned with three different situations of intercultural mobility:
a. Long term adaptation to a country where one settles
b. Short term adaptation to a new country during international mobility experiences
c. Adaptation to new cultural environments / norms / attitudes during social mobility
We consider these three types of mobility together for two reasons.
1. They often involve similar populations
short-term contract workers
2nd generation immigrants
2. Even when geographic and social mobility involve different groups, they can involve similar concerns.
“Some people told me that I was impolite and I did not understand why asking too many questions was impolite according to them. I did not know how to speak with the French without
-Immigrant in France
“There’s a lot to be made up for…Back home we learned no etiquette, nothing like a man letting a woman go first. And it’s hard to learn this. Or when going to a restaurant, you get three kinds of spoons. What on earth should I do with three spoons?”
-First generation university student in Hungary
Ultimately, all 3 mobility experiences involve a process of change.
1. Overview of Mobility Literature
2. Predicators of Successful Mobility
3. Model of Intercultral Mobility
(cc) image by jantik on Flickr
Oberg proposes the concept of "culture shock."
Efforts to identify predicators for successful cross-cultural adaption
Lysegard’s U curve, then the W curve are conceptualized.
Focus on cross-cultural training and using “cultural assimilators” to prepare travelers for cultural clashes or misunderstandings.
Theories with practical applicability
to assessment and training such
as anxiety and uncertainty management, intercultural development inventory, and identity management theory develop.
The distinction of psychological adjustment and sociocultural adaptation becomes widely accepted
Pitirim Sorokin lays the groundwork for a structural approach to social mobility with his book, Social and Cultural Mobility.
Large-scale mobility studies that began to appear after World War II continue this society level focus and mostly rely on the use of surveys and mathematical models.
The development of Blau and Duncan’s mobility model shifts focus from description to explanation of social mobility.
Achievement motivation theory, particularly the work of psychologists John W. Atkinson and David McClelland gives insight into how individual motivations affect social mobility.
"New Structuralism,” which is marked by an emphasis on the structural causes of social inequality such as labor markets, economic sectors, and segmented occupations, takes root.
If cross-cultural mobility is replete with challenges, the main concern of trainers, counselors, and coaches is whether this process can be helped, how and in what stages of the experience. Our findings shed light on such room for intervention in each stage of the mobility experience.
Before the Mobility Experience:
Experiencing difficulties related to identity tend to trigger negative evaluations of the mobility experience. Spending time on these difficulties gives a chance to avoid these negative evaluations by working through difficulties together.
Connecting to new people and being able to engage in meaningful interactions with them is a key element of intercultural adaptation according to several models of intercultural competences. The development of such relational/networking skills may be a key to a successful mobility and is worth exploring.
Dominant strategies can be explored and new strategies can be learned, developed to better answer the challenges of mobility.
During the Mobility Experience
After the Mobility Experience
The accompaniment of mobility can continue even after short-term mobility projects have ended. Indeed, gaining awareness of potential learning outcomes and making efforts to integrate them into one’s professional and personal life can contribute to giving sense to the mobility experience.
Pre-departure work on motivations, such as trying to find pull factors beyond the standard push factors, may facilitate the success of the transition.
4C is a 3-year international project that started in December 2010. Its main aim is to help people cope with difficulties inherent to mobility.
Our project deals with both geographically and socially mobile populations, both of which have grown significantly in today's increasingly mobile world.
For example, ignorance of the cultural norms of a new environment can affect both the socially and geographically mobile.
Some facts about mobility...
There are roughly 214 million international migrants worldwide.
If migrants were a nation, they would be the 5th most populous country on Earth.
2.7 million students are currently studying abroad.
According to UNESCO, the number of tertiary students has multiplied by six since 1970, going from 32 million to 159 million university students worldwide.
This greater access to tertiary education is facilitating social mobility for first generation university students, allowing previously disenfranchised groups to have access to a variety of career fields.
A Model of Intercultural Mobility
Direct effects of diversity
Differences in practices, values etc.
Indirect effects of visible diversity
Differences in self-categorisation, categorisation of the others
Cultural identity position
Effects on identity
Difficulties more perceived:
Difficulties more perceived:
Identity negotiation / change
Reflection on stronger learning outcomes
Lack of change
Reflection on fewer learning outcomes
of the experience
of the experience
Our respondents showed a tendancy to evaluate their mobility experience as positive or negative based on a variety of factors.
Intercultural mobility research has considered the importance of different factors in predicting successful mobility.
Geographic and social mobility have historically been treated as different processes in the research literature.
Interculturally mobile actors do not have to face the challenges of mobility alone.
The Experience of
(cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr
Sojourner in Jujuy, Argentina
"Today, I feel I am more
Argentinean from Jujuy
than French. "
"I am very satisfied with myself
regarding this great experience. I
don't regret my choice to leave my
comfortable life in France
and to go to Jujuy."
Striver in Budapest, Hungary
Migrant in Paris, France
In four different countries, partners conducted 18 semi-structured interviews with 6 respondents representing each identified target group. In their own words, our respondents created a picture of the three mobility processes.
By coding their responses, we were also able to quantitatively analyze the interviews and generate the first version of the questionnaire for the quantitative phase of the research.
An Overview of Our Results...
While mobility experiences are motivated by a variety of different factors, it seems that people who tend to evaluate their experience positively had more pull motivations (factors that draw them to a new culture) and fewer push motivations (factors that drive them away from their home culture).
Economic motivations are also much higher among those respondents with the most negative retrospective evaluations of their experience.
We have found that negative preconceptions do not necessarily create self-fulfilling prophecies. To the contrary: those who evaluated their experience positively had more negative preconceptions than those who gave the worst evaluations of their experiences.
Critical difficulty areas are: identity, job and the “physical basics” such as climate, food, and physical appearance. While those who are the most satisfied with their overall mobility experience list difficulties related to isolation, the least satisfied cite identity difficulties as the most common.
Three strategies seem to be linked to the success of the mobility experience: relational and control/ planning strategies positively, while avoidant strategies link negatively to positive evaluations.
Personal and relational resources are the two most commonly used categories by our respondents.
Identity change is a key process in the mobility experience. Being too linked to one’s culture can make the identity change process more difficult. The respondents who have had the most negative experience use cultural terms to identify themselves four times more often than other respondents.
After having experienced cross-cultural mobility, the majority of our respondents have found it hard to re-integrate into their former communities.
Most display an orientation towards their new culture, or a mixed orientation in which they feel at home in both their native and new cultures.
Respondents report having learned practical skills (language or professional task) and increased ease in communicating with others.
"The first days were very strange:
I discovered real Parisian life.
The streets are direty, the city is
not so romantic. It is very noisy,
the old buildings are dark
because of the pollution.
It was a real disenchantment.
"I am happy with my life in
France and in Paris. I think I
managed to integrate and
adapt to this new
"My parents have
been working over
the past twenty years
to enroll us in university
and they promoted it
all the time...
"I will begin a
in the fall."
Before the Mobility Experience:
During the Mobility Experience:
After the Mobility Experience:
IT Supported Training and Coaching for Cross-Cultural Competences
4C project has been funded
with support from the European Commission.
Prepared by Stefanie Talley and Vera Varhegyi on behalf of Élan Interculturel