Convergence or divergence in the multinational classroom? Experiences from the military

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Abstract

The composition of military operations nowadays is almost always international. Therefore, intercultural relations are becoming an important aspect of military leadership. One way to develop an inclination to intercultural issues is to study in an international classroom. Such an international classroom does exist in the western military, at an institute -Multimil- that organizes courses for an international audience taking a period of 26 weeks. The courses are offered to high ranking military and civilian employees of NATO and Partnership for Peace countries. This paper contains a report of a quasi-experimental study conducted at Multimil. The study investigated attitudinal and behavioral changes among 185 participants of five courses. It appeared that the overall evaluation of the course was positive although some criticism came to the fore as well. Course participants furthermore to some extent changed their strategic views as to the role of the military, NATO and the UN. Well-documented national cultural differences could be observed in Multimil's multinational classroom, differences which barely changed at all during the course. If Multimil would like to contribute to the development of intercultural affinities among commanders and decision makers, it should put more emphasis on intercultural training in a setting of simulated crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-440
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Volume25
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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