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Conference Papers Year : 2015

When is an Engineer not an Engineer? An Interdisciplinary Approach to Intercultural Management for Engineers


Over the last two decades, there has been a move towards standardization of educational norms, with, for instance, the UNESCO 4 pillars of learning (Delors 1996) and similar developments can be observed in Engineering Education. However, along with the establishment of shared objectives, the need to address the diversity of Engineering Education, to integrate different voices and perspectives and to adapt to local and global needs is also recognized. This tension between unity and diversity has long been a preoccupation of the SEFI community, although work on Intercultural or "global" competences remains relatively limited (Smith 2010, Van Maele et al 2013 ). At the same time, in recent years, many educators have pointed out the need to transform educational practices to accommodate the vast amount of knowledge which is readily available but which requires skills, such as critical, synthetic and analytical reasoning, to access, process, make sense of and accept or reject such information, along with increased communication, creative and networking competences across disciplinary and geographical borders (Pink, 2005; Wagner 2010; Serres 2012). In this increasingly changing and mobile world, the question of intercultural competences is at the core of the debate. In this plenary, which takes the form of an interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue, we present our teaching and research model for Intercultural Management for Engineers. Firstly, we describe and analyse our two-tier pedagogical approach, which combines Intercultural Management and communication theories and experiential learning. Using a concept called "interity", developed by Demorgon (2010) and based on insights from the French philosopher and mathematician, Couturat, we encourage the students to negotiate a common frame of reference and action which enables students to gain first-hand experience of the realities of diversity management. Our main objective is to use the diversity represented by cultural and individual differences to produce new synergies. In the second part of the plenary, we focus on our Intercultural Management Competence Model (IMCM) which draws on 10 years' teaching and research focused on the identification, development, assessment and analysis of Intercultural Management competences. The model combines the five savoirs developed by Byram, Zarate et al. 1994, the cultural dimensions described in the Intercultural Management literature, Demorgon's multiperspectivist approach and insights gained from our interviews with practicing and student engineers in an international context . The starting point for our reflection is the dichotomy between the questions: When is an engineer not an engineer? and a comment made by a Spanish engineering student: " We all speak the same language we are all engineers".
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hal-01184331 , version 1 (14-08-2015)


  • HAL Id : hal-01184331 , version 1


Christophe Morace, Alison Gourvès-Hayward. When is an Engineer not an Engineer? An Interdisciplinary Approach to Intercultural Management for Engineers. SEFI 2015. 43rd Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education, Jun 2015, Orléans, France. pp. 29-31. ⟨hal-01184331⟩
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