The Practices of a Non-Diversity-Focused Organization and Their Impact on its Members’ Intercultural Behavioral Comfort
46 Pages Posted: 13 May 2011
Date Written: June 2, 2011
The purpose of this research is to examine the impact that university student groups’ practices have on their members’ intercultural behavioral comfort and interactions and their cultural learning. We surveyed 360 undergraduate members of a national voluntary service organization at 50 U.S. four-year colleges. Findings indicate that an organization’s ability to nurture a sense of feeling welcome and identification with organizational purpose predict skills and confidence in dealing with diverse intra-group members – a competency we call behavioral comfort. An additional practice using proactive efforts to promote social interaction predicts behavioral comfort when mediated by a sense of belonging. These findings have important implications for institutions of higher learning, student affairs staff and administrators, campus co-curricular associations, and voluntary organizations.
Keywords: Diversity, Behavioral Comfort, Enriching Intercultural Interactions, Belonging, Purpose, Welcoming, Interaction Structuring
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