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Between stereotype and authenticity: Using action research in a cross‐cultural management course

David Starr‐Glass (Empire State College, State University of New York, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA)

Journal of International Education in Business

ISSN: 2046-469X

Article publication date: 4 November 2011




The purpose of this paper is to provide international business students with a deeper appreciation of cross‐culture issues that might impact their future management practice. Specifically, it considers the use of action research as a driver of the learning dynamics of a course in cross‐cultural management.


The course was designed around core readings and assignments that suggested action research as a way of coming to a more authentic appreciation of cross‐cultural management scenarios. Action research was not, however, formally discussed or introduced. In this initial study, participant reflections were collected and analyzed from a phenomenological perspective.


Results suggest that students, when forced into situations that required them to explore a new cultural dimension, were able to implicitly use action research models. This led participants to a deeper appreciation of their own national culture (predominantly Russian) and a more nuanced approach to considering novel cross‐cultural contexts.

Research limitations/implications

Lack of experimental controls, pre‐ and post‐testing, and limited sample size all tend to limit the generalizability of the findings. Initial findings, however, do suggest that deeper explorations of national culture might reduce stereotyping.

Practical implications

Limited engagement and stereotyping are often associated with teaching cross‐cultural management. Action research, as a course drive, potentially increases engagement, forces deeper consideration, and allows participants to reflect on their own cross‐cultural experiences. The use of action research may be useful in college‐level programs, study abroad situations, and vocational or institutional cross‐cultural training.


This study argues for more dynamic ways of teaching cross‐cultural competencies. It seeks to move students beyond stereotyping to a more authentic consideration of dealing across national culture boundaries.



Starr‐Glass, D. (2011), "Between stereotype and authenticity: Using action research in a cross‐cultural management course", Journal of International Education in Business, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 112-124.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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