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When in Britain, do as the British do: if anyone knows what that means: Multiculturalism in a “British” university business school

Jonathan A.J. Wilson (Marketing Events and Tourism, Maritime Campus Old Royal Naval College, University of Greenwich, London, UK)

Multicultural Education & Technology Journal

ISSN: 1750-497X

Article publication date: 16 November 2010

Abstract

Purpose

Multiculturalism and diversity are both evident and encouraged in the UK. However, this paper highlights evidence pointing towards the passive and sporadic transmission of unifying values – especially prevalent when interacting with individuals across cultures, or in culturally diverse settings. The aim is to stimulate debate surrounding day‐to‐day practices and accountability, at an operational level.

Design/methodology/approach

Reflective practitioner‐based commentary, using inductive reasoning as a basis for critical discourse analysis. Evidence gathered from literature reviews – supported by anecdotal evidence, personal observations and experiences.

Findings

The position held is that critical to the future long‐term successes of business education, students and lecturers should adopt a two‐way bottom‐up approach which prioritises the implementation of the following: an appreciation and participative study of culture, followed by active encouragement towards embracing further multiculturalism, and finally the preservation and transmission of tacit knowledge within a cultural paradigm – between host and surrogate cultures. Without this, business schools and the study of business are hampered. Using the analogy of an orchestra conductor, the suggestion is that lecturers as facilitator conductors should increase their efforts towards championing culture, embedding them within the formative aspects of their duties. To this end, they should be nurtured and supported as such.

Practical implications

Furthermore, lecturers require resources and recognition from institutions, beyond mere compliance with human resource legislation and the pursuit of institutional commercial gains.

Originality/value

The paper presents a proposed innovative approach – centred on cultural diffusion innovation, convergence continuum and hybridisation.

Keywords

Citation

Wilson, J.A.J. (2010), "When in Britain, do as the British do: if anyone knows what that means: Multiculturalism in a “British” university business school", Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 220-233. https://doi.org/10.1108/17504971011087522

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited