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Preparing future business professionals for a globalized workplace through intercultural virtual collaboration

Luana Ferreira-Lopes (International Projects Office/ Deusto Business School, University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain)
Ingrid Van Rompay-Bartels (Arnhem Business School, HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 10 February 2020

Issue publication date: 15 April 2020




Universities have increasingly been adopting intercultural virtual collaboration (IVC) to connect and develop the intercultural competence of students from different locations. However, the design and implementation of IVC have proved to be challenging, and thus there is a need for sharing positive experiences. This paper explores students’ overall impressions toward their participation in an IVC project involving a Spanish and Dutch university and discusses the on-going improvement process inherent to such practice.


This article presents (a) the results obtained from a content analysis of students’ feedback collected through a satisfaction survey, and (b) the observations of participating teachers on the challenges encountered during the implementation of the intercultural virtual collaborative project.


The analysis shows the potential of IVC to develop different aspects of students’ intercultural competence, especially intercultural teamwork, awareness and skills. Students appreciated the experience of working in intercultural teams, “the real-life application” of the project and the opportunity to gain cultural knowledge. At the institutional level, the biggest challenge related to aligning participating institutions’ courses, schedules, and grading systems. At the classroom level, it is argued that interaction between students should happen gradually. The discussion also approaches how partnerships between universities and companies could contribute to making training in intercultural virtual collaboration more authentic.


Given its impact on the development of students’ intercultural competence, the intercultural virtual collaborative project has been recognized as a best-practice in both universities, being officially incorporated into the curriculum of the participating institutions and replicated to other subject areas.



In Spain, the project described in the paper was funded by The Research Grants Program of University of Deusto (2015-2018).


Ferreira-Lopes, L. and Van Rompay-Bartels, I. (2020), "Preparing future business professionals for a globalized workplace through intercultural virtual collaboration", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 21-24.



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