University of Oulu

Exploring intercultural sensitivity levels of Chinese and non-Chinese working together in China

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Author: Rivera Ramirez, Juan1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.1 MB)
Pages: 82
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : J. Rivera Ramirez, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-06-23
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Wang, Lijuan
Reviewer: Jokikokko, Katri
Wang, Lijuan


As societies and individuals from different cultural backgrounds interact, the cultivation of intercultural sensitivity becomes critical for the development of intercultural communication competence. China, and its growing number of crosscultural working environments, specially in the foreign language education sector are ideal for studying intercultural communication. However, and given the existing gap in research regarding intercultural sensitivity in this context, the present study analyzes what levels of intercultural sensitivity exist among Chinese and non-Chinese working together in crosscultural environments across China. At the same time, this study investigates which factors contribute to differentiating intercultural sensitivity levels among respondents. To answer these questions, a number of online surveys were conducted in order to examine background information from a group of Chinese and non-Chinese (N=62) working together in crosscultural environments across China. The Intercultural Sensitivity Scale (ISS) was used to measure intercultural sensitivity levels among respondents. Additionally, six interviews were conducted as complementary to the quantitative data. Results indicated that respondents scored high to very high levels of intercultural sensitivity across the five dimensions of the ISS. Furthermore, factors such as fluency in the host country’s language (Chinese mandarin) and having previous overseas study experience showed a significant impact on the level of intercultural sensitivity of participants. No statistically significant impact was found on factors such as gender, having close international contacts, nationality, and having a language teaching profession. Lastly, important differences were found in the reported experiences of participants in comparison to their IS levels in the areas of Respect for Cultural Differences, Interaction Engagement and Interaction Attentiveness. The findings in this study highlight the significance of having overseas study experience and foreign language ability as factors that contribute to higher levels of IS. Nevertheless, the comparison of quantitative and qualitative results suggest that the Intercultural Sensitivity Scale may require further examination as to how it captures the concept of IS.

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