Beyond Disciplinary Boundaries. Dynamics of a Design as Inquiry Project
M. Gaisch, P. Öllinger - Beyond Disciplinary Boundaries. Dynamics of a Design as Inquiry Project - Cross-Cultural Business Conference 2014, Steyr, Österreich, 2014, pp. 285-293
Recent years have seen a substantial increase in the number of higher education collaborations, most specifically in terms of cross-border projects (Weil et al, 2010). In framing the importance of effective international teams operating in the tertiary sector, academic apprenticeship should take "the interna-tional influences on university teaching and learning and the possibility to reflect on the teaching and learning contents and processes by contrasting (different) experiences" (Weil et al, 2010, p 219) into account. For these purposes, the present paper outlines the cultural dynamics involved in a EU project managed by a German core team in cooperation with Austrian and Finnish partner universities. A closer look was taken at the different perceptions and assumptions held by the stakeholders of each participat-ing university with regard to the outcome of their common endeavor -a summer school about "Design as an Inquiry". Of particular relevance to the present study are communicative patterns and internalized, and thus often implicit, expectations geared towards the partner institutions which are explained by means of critical incidents explored over the course of the project. By collecting in-depth descriptive data in form of field notes, observations and interviews, the authors identified a number of tacit assump-tions and rules of appropriateness among each ethnical group that might justify divergent approaches and differing emphases placed on recurrent practices during the project. As such, the degree of priority attached to schedules and proficiency serves as a reminder of culturally patterned behavior that -if not sufficiently reflected upon and put in an intercultural perspective -might run the risk of hardeningonès own entrenched behavior and eventually lead to ethnocentric views.