Cultural intelligence in the transnational education classroom: the case of Australian accounting academics

Tharapos, M 2015, Cultural intelligence in the transnational education classroom: the case of Australian accounting academics, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Accounting, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Cultural intelligence in the transnational education classroom: the case of Australian accounting academics
Author(s) Tharapos, M
Year 2015
Abstract The convergence of cultures in transnational education (TNE) classrooms intensifies the need to possess cross-cultural competencies. Despite several calls for studies into the potential link between cross-cultural competency and effective TNE teaching, there has been no research conducted to date. Drawing on the theoretical framework of cultural intelligence (CQ), comprising metacognitive, cognitive, motivational and behavioural components, the overall aim of this study was to assess the extent of CQ and to develop insight into the ways CQ is exhibited by Australian accounting academics in their TNE teaching. This study was conducted in two stages using a mixed methods design.

In stage one, a survey of accounting academics in Australia was undertaken, using the cultural intelligence survey (CQS) to identify their level of CQ. The findings indicate they have lower average CQ than other professional groups, which was surprising given the extensive overseas experience and work-related travel many of the respondents reported. Both overseas residency and TNE teaching in Southeast Asia are significantly and positively associated with the CQ levels of Australian accounting academics.

In stage two, the researcher used ethnographic methods to study eight participants drawn from two Australian universities, each with a long-term involvement in TNE. Interviews with these academics, observations of their teaching both transnationally and locally, and focus groups with their students identified critical factors in the process of TNE teaching. Regarding the translation of work-related international experience into motivational CQ, this study identified intrinsic motivation, the desire to travel internationally, remaining open to new experiences and self-efficacy to be critically important. Regarding the accumulation of cognitive CQ, this study found active participation in the host environment and participation in communities of practice while in situ to be vital. Regarding the development of metacognitive CQ, this study identified the key factors as strategies designed in a purposive, motive-orientated, and strategic manner for use in a TNE environment, coupled with the practice of reflection and reflexivity. Regarding the translation of work-related international experience into increased behavioural CQ, this study identified appropriate attire, personal introductions, and the ability to appropriately adjust both verbal and non-verbal behaviour as crucial elements.

This research makes several contributions to both theory and practice. First, this research was methodologically innovative in supplementing quantitative analysis of CQ with qualitative methods. Second, it drew on communities of practice literature to examine the processes whereby visiting academics acquire cultural knowledge while teaching transnationally. Third, this research extends knowledge of CQ to teaching academics; CQ research in the education domain has hitherto involved only quantitative studies of students. Fourth, this research extends scholarship employing the theoretical framework of CQ to the discipline of accounting, thereby providing new insights on cross-cultural capabilities to a discipline where it is of particular importance given its global operation. Fifth, this research adds to TNE scholarship through an in-depth examination of academics teaching transnationally, and the incorporation of the preferences and views of TNE students. This research has the practical outcome of providing suggestions for improvement in the quality of TNE program
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Accounting
Keyword(s) cultural intelligence
transnational education
cross-cultural capabilities
accounting education
professional development
communities of practice
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Created: Fri, 06 Nov 2015, 08:22:33 EST by Denise Paciocco
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