D. Fortier, E. Verreault

Bishop's University (CANADA)
Universities face a difficult challenge with regards to multicultural education. Indeed, given the rate and scope of the current globalization transformation, universities seek to increase their internationalization efforts in order to meet the pedagogical standards of the 21st century. Surprisingly, we find very little empirical information that specifically informs the content of international management classes (Egan & Bendick, Jr., 2008). Despite the reality that managers increasingly work in foreign countries, either as expatriates or as international managers, we know very little about the behavioral tools that they must be taught as students. Consequently, some argue that courses in business schools having internationalized their curriculum are still not producing high-quality global managers.

One way to find information for the creation of classroom curriculum could be to look at criteria for international business programs. For example, The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) emphasizes internationalization as a prime accreditation factor. However, upon reviewing AACSB guidelines, few point to specific content to be included within international management classes.

The Multicultural Managerial Competency (MMC) typology was created in order to fill this gap in international management training (Fortier, 2009). Outlining five competence categories that combine 12 competencies along with their 71 corresponding behavioral indicators, this typology serves as a starting point to multicultural competence. The MMC typology integrates components such as cultural self-knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and cultural adaptation thereby highlighting the need for managers to invest in a close interplay between social and task dimensions. MMC contents also point to new competencies for working with people who are culturally diverse and often geographically dispersed, at home or abroad, often using technology as a main communication tool.

The F.O.O.D. model was created in order to adapt contents of the MMC typology for undergraduate management classes. By combining the ensemble of MMC competencies into 4 main sections, this model becomes much more accessible for this audience. The goal with F.O.O.D. is to enhance awareness of multicultural management requirements for undergraduate students. Often identified as a main objective, awareness seems fundamental to success (APA, 2003; Avery & Thomas, 2004; Earley, 1987; Kumar, van Fenema, & Von Glinow, 2005; Takagi and Cerdin, 2004; Yamazaki & Kayes, 2004). Grounded in managers’ on-going demands for sharing food when working with international partners, an tapping into the undeniable benefits of doing so, the F.O.O.D. acronym combines four behavioral categories. These are labeled Fostering Relationships of Trust, Optimizing Business Relationships, Organizing Teams, and Displaying Multicultural Leadership Qualities. Moreover, each of these four categories is further explained according to its corresponding behavioral indicators. Ultimately, the goal is to train students to become more aware of multicultural demands.

This article outlines the components of the F.O.O.D. model as it was introduced into the curriculum of an undergraduate management class as well as how it served in the preparation of undergraduate students for a case competition for international business schools.