An integrative approach to developing an intercultural awareness strategy in a multicultural university

Helen Higson, Kai Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Universities are increasingly diverse places; in terms of staff and students, their nationality, ethnicity and religious backgrounds. HEIs need to find ways of ensuring that this diversity adds to the life of the institution and to the development of graduates as employees in a global workplace. The paper offers a case study of one way of developing an intercultural strategy at a UK university. The university concerned has a highly multicultural and multinational staff and student population. Over many years the university has worked to celebrate and embed this diversity into the culture and values of the institution; in its learning, teaching, business operations and relationships. The university wished to develop its intercultural awareness strategy in an inspirational and vibrant way, one which was informed by research and practice.
The paper proposes a new integrative approach to developing an intercultural strategy, and summarises some reflections on the process of creating the intercultural awareness strategy which may be of use to other institutions. Analysis showed that in order to make the strategy effective there had to be commitment from senior management to match innovative practices at an individual level. It is also clear that such a strategy must include formal policies and procedures, as well as more informal channels to allow people to express intercultural differences and shared values. The critical role of middle management in strategy implementation is also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-230
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • HEIs
  • intercultural competence
  • strategy implementation
  • middle management


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