Managing Cultural Differences for Engineers

Halvard E. Nystrom, Missouri University of Science and Technology

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Understanding cultural issues, developing cross-cultural communication skills and recognizing the need to effectively apply these skills in the global arena are becoming critical success factors for an increasing number of engineers. To address these needs, an engineering management class has been developed at the University of Missouri-Rolla, USA, that uses a team project approach as the major method to achieve the learning objectives. The student teams develop training manuals for dealing with engineers from specific international cultures, based on the material learned in class as well as personal interactions with individuals of the specific ethnic background. An application of this class design is described.