Globalization has led to increasing international mobility among business and education professionals over the past 50 years. When people have increased opportunities to interact with others from different cultures, intercultural sensitivity becomes important to create harmony among various cultural groups and reduce anxiety and cultural conflict. The purpose of this study was to examine Taiwan business colleges students' intercultural sensitivity and how they learned about different cultures from their daily lives and formal education.
The population in this study comprised Taiwanese citizens who were college seniors majoring in international business and management in Taiwan. The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and a demographic survey were employed in the first phase, a quantitative study. From a total of 195 students, 103 students (52.8%), 88 students (45.1%), and 4 students (2.1%) scored their intercultural sensitivity in the low-middle DD/R stage, high DD/R stage to low-middle M stage, and high M stage to low-middle AA stage respectively. Data analysis demonstrated no significant differences between students' intercultural sensitivity and gender, age, and foreign language capability, but significant differences emerged in students' intercultural sensitivity and international experiences, activities on campus, and future plans.
In the second phase, a qualitative study, phenomenological theory was used. Based on students' scores on the IDIs, 12 interviewees were selected. Interviewees' intercultural sensitivity inclined either toward the ethnocentrism or ethnorelativism, and gender balance was considered. Data analysis demonstrated students whose intercultural sensitivity leaned toward ethnocentrism primarily learned different cultures from multimedia, had no or few international experiences, were uninterested in participating in intercultural activities on campus, and preferred to work in Taiwan after graduation. To compare with those students, students whose intercultural sensitivity leaned toward ethnorelativism learned cultural differences from listening to others' international experiences, engaged in international experiences like short-study abroad, were interested in participating intercultural activities on campus, and preferred to pursue higher education overseas after graduation.
Various implications emerged for Taiwan business college seniors to enhance their intercultural sensitivity, for Taiwanese teachers to include their personal international experiences in curriculum design, and for business school leaders to consider appropriate programs to improve students' intercultural sensitivity.