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Even we are sheeps': cultural displacement in management education

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journal contribution
posted on 08.06.2017, 06:46 by Selsky, John W.
An increasing number of university lecturers and students are engaged in classroom activity in national-cultural contexts which are "foreign." The foreign context confronts these culturally-displaced people with distinctive yet unfamiliar cultural practices and norms related to management education. These contexts are fraught with misunderstandings and with unintended consequences, both comic and tragic, as both the indigenous and the culturally displaced people struggle to make sense of their shared experiences. I recount a novel classroom experience which emerged while I, an American university lecturer, was on sabbatical in Turkey. After test cheating was recognised as an important issue for both students and myself, the rules about cheating were re-negotiated. This enabled the students to take a "collective midterm" test, which proved to be a peak experience for many of them - and for myself. The experience is framed as a critical incident in a wider case of cultural displacement. The case is used as a lever to raise and reflect on a number of issues in cross-cultural management education that can be expected to become more salient in the future. These include the social construction of cheating; power and control dynamics in university classrooms; and the management of cultural displacement. Thus the case may be usefully interpreted not merely as a technical problem of the control of cheating, or even as an adaptation problem of culturally displaced lecturers and students, but also as a systems problem concerning the effective design of learning contexts.


Year of first publication



Working paper series (Monash University. Department of Management).