This mixed-methods study explored the intercultural competence of international school administrators employed in member schools of the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS). The purpose of this study was to assess international school administrators’ intercultural competence and determine if differences exist due to specific demographic and background factors. An explanatory sequential mixed methods model of research was undertaken. Quantitative data was derived from the Intercultural Developmental Inventory (IDI; Hammer, 2011), while qualitative data was derived from semi-structured interviews with selected individuals who took the IDI. A total of 260 international school administrators were administered the IDI to determine their intercultural competence and potential factors influencing their development. The IDI, version 3, is a psychometrically valid instrument constructed to measure orientations toward cultural differences, adapted from the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS). Following the administration of the IDI, 15 international school administrators whose IDI profile reflected an intercultural mindset were interviewed to obtain additional life factors potentially influencing development across the intercultural continuum. Results from the IDI indicated international school administrators mean developmental orientation score was 102.49, placing them in the minimization stage of the continuum. At this stage, individuals are familiar with dissimilar cultures and aware of differences in cultural patterns, yet focus primarily on unifying frameworks. International school administrators also had high perceptions of their intercultural competence, with the mean perceived score significantly above their actual score. The number of years living outside of passport country showed a significant relationship with developmental orientation of intercultural competence. Those administrators who had spent 10 or more years outside of their passport country had significantly higher levels of intercultural competence. Results from international school administrators who were operating at the highest levels along the continuum were also analyzed. These administrators took wide-ranging paths to develop intercultural competence, suggesting there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Significant themes generated throughout the interviews included gaining more experience in diverse settings, increasing both cultural specific and cultural general knowledge, and modifying ones’ thought process to be more open, curious and self-reflective regarding cultural experiences. Implications for practice and recommendations for future research are discussed.
University of Minnesota D.Ed. dissertation. May 2016. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Michael Goh. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 239 pages.
Factors Contributing to the Intercultural Competence of International School Administrators: A Mixed Methods Study.
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