The Practices of a Non-Diversity-Focused Organization and Their Impact on its Members’ Intercultural Behavioral Comfort

46 Pages Posted: 13 May 2011

See all articles by Ruth Sessler Bernstein

Ruth Sessler Bernstein

University of Washington, Tacoma

Paul F. Salipante

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Information Systems

Date Written: June 2, 2011

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Bernstein, Ruth Sessler and Salipante, Paul F., The Practices of a Non-Diversity-Focused Organization and Their Impact on its Members’ Intercultural Behavioral Comfort (June 2, 2011). First International Conference on Engaged Management Scholarship, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1839840 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1839840

Ruth Sessler Bernstein (Contact Author)

University of Washington, Tacoma ( email )

1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402-3100
United States

Paul F. Salipante

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Information Systems ( email )

10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106-7235
United States
216-368-2077 (Phone)

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