BIBLIOTECA VIRTUAL de Derecho, Economía y Ciencias Sociales

MULTICULTURALISMO Y MERCADOS

Adolfo Rodríguez Santoyo y otros




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Methodology

A survey was conducted to determine the knowledge, skills, attitudes and experiences necessary to become globally competent. This survey instrument was sent to 67 employees who are members of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The objective was to determine if the employees of the Hispanic enterprises who are affiliated with the Chamber have the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences that human resource managers (?) believe necessary for attaining global competence.

This survey instrument was based on Hunter’s (2004 or 2006) consensus definition of the term “global competence,” as devised by the Delphi panel and review of the relevant literature. The findings of this part of the study permitted the creation of a 22 question survey.. Using Hunter’s instrument as a base, we selected 15 questions to measure the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences necessary to become globally competent, and we also included two more questions to assess whether universities in the U.S. provide global education to their students. The methodology for this research uses the Likert scale choices (1=Strongly disagree, 2= Disagree, 3= Neutral, 4= Agree, 5=Strongly agree). The instrument was pilot-tested to ensure that respondents understood the questions, the terms used in the survey, and the potential uses for the data collected. There were some changes. We decided to alter some of Hunter’s questions, to make them more comprehensible, and eliminafte others that were not useful for our purposes.

Our questionnaire is divided into three sections. The first section is designed to extract general information about the characteristics of the Hispanic enterprises located in Tucson, Arizona; the second section measures the global competence of the employees; and the third section defines the management style in the employee’s organization in order to characterize the degree of employee (?) participation found in the workplace. In this paper we analyze only the second section of the questionnaire to measure the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences of the employees.

Our hypothesis is that the employees have a good level of global competence(knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences) represented by an agreement that [population?] mean for each Likert statement is ≥ 4 (Likert scale level = 4: Agree). An alternate hypothesis is that the population mean is less than 4. Hence the null and alternate hypotheses are as follows:

Hypothesis: Ho: m ≥ 4 (agree), H1: m < 4

Population

The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has 643 members including both Hispanic and non-Hispanic enterprises. In 1989, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (THCC) was incorporated in the State of Arizona. The purpose of the Chamber is to provide, promote, and advance, on a nonprofit basis, the general welfare and prosperity of the Tucson area. We selected more than 67 Hispanic enterprises from a current listing of Chamber members. The questionnaire and cover letter were sent electronically to representatives of the 67 Hispanic enterprises. The e-mail invitation to complete the questionnaire assured the anonymity of the respondents, who were sent to a website accessible to the authors via hyperlink. Additional information was gathered in direct interviews with managers of the Hispanic Chamber enterprises. We have the support of Sam Williams Chair of the Business Education Committee of the Chamber. He invited us to membership luncheons twice to apply the survey personally to targeted members of the Chamber.

The number of total responses was 40. We sent 67 questionnaires by e-mail and had 13 returned(a 19% response rate). From personal interviews of members of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 27 more were collected (67% response rate). According to Iacobucci and Duhacheck (2003), for confidence and reliability measurement of instruments], the minimum sample size is 30.Since 30 is considered the cut-off point at with the Central Limit Theorem assist us]. The sample size for our research was 40 respondents.

Instrument Reliability

Reliability is fundamental to the scientific method. We need instruments that produce replicable results in order to have consistent results when the instrument is used repeatedly. In order to test the internal consistency of our instrument, we calculated Cronbach’s alpha coefficient for each competency indicator group and contrasted our values with the following values required by standard convention. An alpha value of 0.60 is acceptable for exploratory research; it should be at least 0.70 to be considered adequate; and a minimum criteria of 0.80 is required to be considered a good instrument. According to Nunnaly and Bernstein (1994), an alpha reliability value of 0.70 could be considered satisfactory for exploratory research, but for other scenarios these researchers state that a value of 0.80 or even 0.90 should be required. Reliability of our instrument (Table 1) is good considering these minimum levels. With an alpha value of 0.80 as the cutoff point for adequate consistency, we found adequate Cronbach alpha levels for four groups: knowledge (0.862), skills (0.870), attitudes (0.849) and education (0.800). The remaining group, experience (0.673), did not reach an adequate level, but it could be considered acceptable for exploratory research.

The critical value for a 0.01 significance level, where thesample size equals 40 is t  = 0.01, n-1 = -2.43. The decision rule was: Accept Ho if t > -2.43, reject otherwise. In table 2, most of the statements of our hypothesis related with intercultural global competencies were not supported. There are only two hypothesis statements accepted, which refers to the following: “Most employees have an understanding of cultural norms and expectations of his or her own culture” (Var 9), and “Most employees have the ability working with people from other cultures and traditions” (Var 13).

It is interesting to analyze the results of each global competency. In knowledge, it is curious to see that the employees have knowledge of their own cultures but not of other cultures, and that their knowledge of current world events is low This is evidenced by the lack of understanding of the concept of globalization. In skills, even though employees have the ability to work with people from other cultures, they have less successful participation in projects together,most of them do not speak a second language, and they have problems living outside their own culture. The respondents showed a good international attitude reflected in risk-taking in pursuit of cross-cultural learning development. They recognize their own world view is not universal, but some had a judgmental reaction to cultural differences between their own and other cultures and traditions. With regard to international experiences, though all respondents reported having taken multiple short-term trips, only a few engaged in cross-cultural business interactions, and not all of them spoke a foreign language at work. Finally, even though half of the respondents held a Bachelor’s degree, they needed additional international competencies to work effectively at the Hispanic enterprises where they were employed. Our results show they did not receive a formal education in “Global Competence,” and they believe college and universities in the U.S. need to increase global education.

Conclusion

Our main research question has been: Do employees of Hispanic enterprises have the adequate levels of knowledge, skills, attitudes and experiences to be considered globally competent? Our first concern was to identify what was meant, in terms of education and workplace skills, by global competency. From our literature review we have found that although there is a consensus on the need of a global competency education there is not a consensus on what global competency comprises. From this review we concluded that a good definition of global competency has been integrated by Hunter (2004) derived from his Delphi Panel Research of 17 educational and human resources managers. Having global competency, as defined by this panel is “having an open mind while actively seeking to understand cultural norms and expectations of others, leveraging this gained knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively outside one´s environment.”

In addition to defining global competency, Hunter formulated a 22 question instrument to measure four main elements of global competence: knowledge, skills, experiences and attitudes. Based on Hunter’s instrument, we designed our questionnaire as Likert-type statements and categorized them by the following groups: knowledge, skills, attitudes, experience and education.

Supported by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we collected 40 questionnaires filled out by THCC members about their employees global competency levels. We calculated Cronbach alphas for each competency indicator group. With an alpha value of 0.80 as our cutoff point, we found adequate Cronbach alpha levels for four groups: knowledge (0.862), skills(0.870), attitudes(0.849) and education (0.800). The remaining group, skills (0.673), did not reach an adequate level. From Likert type levels: 1= Strongly disagree, 2= Disagree, 3= Neutral, 4= Agree, 5= Strongly agree, we thought that an adequate level for an global competent employee starts at 4, and we tested our hypothesis for each indicator. Our null hypothesis for each indicator was: Ho: µ ≥4 and our alternate hypothesis was that µ ≤4 at a 0.01 significance level. According to our statistical evaluation only two of our 17 global competency hypothesis were supported or accepted. Those that were accepted: “Most employees have an understanding of cultural norms and expectations of his or her own culture” and “Most employees have the ability working with people from other cultures and traditions.” Hypothesis for all other indicators were not supported. Our conclusion is that there is not enough evidence that Hispanic enterprises employees have the adequate levels of knowledge, skills, attitudes and experiences to be considered globally competent. Even though some of them have international experiences and attitude; they need to increase their international competency in the area of knowledge, and especially international skills.

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