انتقال به خارج از کشور: اسکان موقت و افزایش ادراک شده خوداثربخشی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|26211||2005||22 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10353 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Volume 29, Issue 2, March 2005, Pages 217–238
This paper empirically examines communication self-efficacy as a possible profound payoff of sojourning. A review of relevant literature explores the interrelationships of communication, sojourning, and personal growth. Questionnaire data from an international sample of 212 Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) alumni are used to test hypotheses about the sojourn and perceived changes in communication self-efficacy. Data analysis revealed that 95.5% of the sample retrospectively reported a perceived increase in self-efficacy. In addition, positive correlations were found between self-reported challenge of sojourn and reported perceived change in self-efficacy, and between self-reported success of sojourn and perceived communication self-efficacy scores. Discussion addresses these findings as well as study limitations, possible future research directions, and implications for practice.
Speak to people about their time abroad and often their eyes will light up. Many who have sojourned describe their experiences as profoundly meaningful, often crediting them with changing them at fundamental levels.1 Some sojourners describe a transformation in their very sense of self, both in how they experience their own cultures and in how they view their life paths. Some speak of an increased sense of empowerment, an enriched sense of belief in their own capabilities. The current study focuses on this seemingly common sense of transformation, and explores whether this perceived sense of growth can be empirically measured by specifically looking at sojourners’ beliefs about their communication self-efficacy. Past studies of sojourners tended to emphasize sojourners’ psychological well-being in encountering unfamiliar environmental demands within the host culture. These studies tended to look at the sojourn from a problem-oriented vantage, often focusing on whether sojourners’ effectiveness overseas and their ability to deal with culture shock could be predicted before the sojourn (Kim (1987) and Kim (2001)). Some researchers criticized what they saw as an “exclusive emphasis on the negative aspects of geographic movement” (Furnham & Bochner, 1986, p. 42), and urged researchers to begin to look at positive and growth aspects of the sojourn. Adler (1975) and Adler (1987) argued that, while culture shock was most often associated with negative outcomes, researchers should also look at how culture shock is often important for self-development and personal growth. Adler (1987) explained the sojourn in terms of a transitional process that moves an individual from a state of low self and cultural awareness to a state of higher self and cultural awareness and described culture shock as “an experience in self-understanding and change” (p. 29). Furnham and Bochner (1986) further examined this growth-oriented vantage, stating, “The implication is that although it may be strange and possibly difficult, sojourning makes a person more adaptable, flexible, and insightful” (p. 47). Kim and Ruben (1988) integrated the intercultural adaptation-as-problem approach and the intercultural adaptation-as-learning/growth approach with their theory of intercultural transformation. Kim (2001) clarified that all experiences of cross-cultural adaptation are both problematic and growth producing. “Despite, or rather because of, the difficulties crossing cultures entails, people do and must change some of their old ways so as to carry out their daily activities and achieve improved quality of life in the new environment” (p. 21). The present study continues this trend in sojourner research, proceeding with the assumption that the reality of sojourner adaptation is truly the relative, dialectical integration of problem and growth. Models and theories about growth possibilities of the sojourn are central to the intercultural discussion. In recent years, more empirical studies on the sojourn have begun to look at its impact on individuals (Cushner & Karim, 2004). Many of these newer studies look at positive outcomes, such as creation of a global worldview (Bachner, Zeutschel, & Shannon, 1993); attitude change (Sell, 1983); enhanced awareness and understanding of oneself (Kauffmann et al., 1992); higher levels of international concern and cross-cultural interest, as well as more positive, though more critical, attitudes toward one's home country (Carlson & Widaman, 1988); and general personal growth (Hansel & Grove (1986) and Hansel & Grove (1985)). Most of these types of studies, including those listed here, are limited to student sojourner participants. Like some of the above studies, the current study is interested in sojourners’ perceptions of growth or transformation as related to the sojourn. In an effort to examine sojourners’ perceptions, the study is empirical. It is also retrospective, as it is particularly interested in sojourners’ perceptions and sensemaking of growth as they relate that growth to the sojourn. This study is one of the few to look at self-efficacy, or belief in capability, in the domain of communication. It is also possibly the first work to empirically relate the domain of communication self-efficacy to the sojourn. In addition, the study joins other recent research in expanding the focus of sojourner type to examine post-college, international sojourners’ outcomes. This article first explores the relevant communication literature to examine the relationships of communication, sojourning, and self-efficacy, and to illustrate how intercultural communication, adaptation, and sojourn theories can be enhanced by theories of self-efficacy. Questionnaire data from 212 Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) alumni are used to test hypotheses about the relationship of the sojourn to perceived increases in self-efficacy. A report of the findings is followed by a discussion of limitations of the current study, as well as possible future research and implications for practice.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Overall, the findings appear to reveal that sojourners perceive an increase in their levels of communication self-efficacy in relation to their sojourns. As the present study appears to be the first empirical exploration of communication self-efficacy and the sojourn as well as self-efficacy as a result of the sojourn, it adds to the intercultural discussion by illuminating a considerable perceived positive outcome of the sojourn and by providing a new vantage from which to view sojourner personal growth. In this final section, limitations of the present research, future research opportunities, and implications for practice are outlined. 7.1. Limitations of the present research First, as previously noted, the retrospective nature of the study must be highlighted as a caution about the use of the current findings. Due to the retrospective approach, the study is not intended to measure sojourners’ actual change in self-efficacy, but instead to measure their perception of change. Thus, the current study is particularly beneficial to those scholars interested in sojourners’ sensemaking of their experience and in their retrospective perceptions of growth. Weik (1995) points to retrospection as the most distinguishing characteristic of sensemaking. If respondents remember their self-efficacy behavior in a certain way, their memory is what guides them in terms of making sense of their process. In answering the before and now questions of the SSEC scale, sojourners retrospect on their experiences and begin to more fully map out and make sense of their perceived changes in communication self-efficacy. For a measure of actual change in communication self-efficacy, a longitudinal investigation might be launched wherein participants are questioned previous to and after their sojourn, as opposed to one-time retrospectively. One study of sojourn outcomes that employs such a longitudinal pre- and post-test, and additionally includes a control group, is that of Hansel & Grove (1986) and Hansel & Grove (1985) who found that high school exchange students showed greater increases in personal growth than those in the stay-at-home control group. Second, the fact that both before self-efficacy and now self-efficacy scores were relatively high may point to SSEC scale item barriers and resistances not representing an appropriate level of difficulty. In the construction of a future scale, attempts would be made to identify and include items that represent more extreme levels of difficulty. Conversely, the overall high before scores may accurately reflect participants’ levels of self-efficacy before the sojourn. People who choose to sojourn, a generally daunting task, may need high degrees of self-efficacy in order to make the initial decision to do so. Additionally, the high before scores may reflect that sojourners heightened their before scores due to the retrospective rating. Third, until future studies with different types of sojourners are conducted with the SSEC scale the generalizability of the findings remains uncertain. Future studies using the SSEC scale may find that scale items show different ratings depending on the sojourner's home and host culture combination. For instance, scale items such as “When in a face to face conversation, how well can you gauge what another person wants you to communicate?” or “How well can you build consensus when you communicate?,” which rated high, .71 and .69, respectively, for the JET sample, might not rate as high for sojourners from generally collectivist cultures who sojourn in individualist host countries. Whereas “evidence indicates that efficacy beliefs have similar effects on human functioning across cultures,” cultural differences will most likely influence the goals sojourners set for themselves (Oettingen, 1995, p. 171). In addition, it is critical to differentiate types of adult sojourns, such as teaching vs. military (Bachner et al., 1993). On the other hand, participants were selected because they had finished their sojourns5 and, therefore, would have endured reentry shock and further challenges to their new modes of communication. Hence, reentry shock may serve to blur the specific brand on communication behaviors left by different cultures and sojourner types and allow for more generalizability. Sojourners everywhere share certain experiences of adaptation. In this sense, and because items for the SSEC scale were formed from answers compiled from sojourners of mixed home countries, sojourn types, and destinations, it is possible that further research may find the current findings represent the general perceptions of sojourners. 7.2. Future research Future research might look at perceived differences in self-efficacy scores of the multiple sojourner. A number of the sample respondents had sojourned before their Japan sojourn (N=98, or 46.2%) and, while the numbers are not significant, of the 9 sojourners who reported a perceived decrease or no difference in self-efficacy all but one reported sojourning before. As this study did not gather in-depth personal information from respondents, this question is not possible to pursue with the data available, but future research of both the qualitative and quantitative variety might find this an intriguing avenue of questioning. Future research might also look at the effect of time on perceptions of communication self-efficacy. The present study did not test whether perceived changes in self-efficacy levels after the sojourn lasted over time. The question of how long ago the sojourn took place was not included in the survey questionnaire and should be included in future studies. Additional items might include questions about sojourner predispositions (Kim, 2001) and expectations (Martin, Bradford, & Rohrlich, 2003) that might affect sojourn outcomes and evaluations. While the correlation between before self-efficacy scores and success is negligible, the finding does encourage an obvious direction for future study, which would be to empirically examine whether a high level of perceived domain-specific communication self-efficacy before a sojourn is related to successful adaptation and may be seen as a predictor of overseas effectiveness. Future research also might explore, with a new participant-specific communication self-efficacy scale, whether non-sojourn intercultural communication situations affect perceived self-efficacy levels. For instance, do people who live in multicultural settings and communicate interculturally daily perceive different levels of communication self-efficacy from people who live in homogeneous settings and avoid intercultural communication situations? Future studies might also investigate the relationship of communication self-efficacy and the sojourn from a qualitative vantage. Researchers might ask participants to identify key events that led to perceived changes in self-efficacy, allowing sojourner participants and researchers to further the sensemaking process of the sojourn and its relationship to personal growth. Interestingly, a current survey of research on the impact of the sojourn found that quantitative analysis often reveals little in way of impact whereas qualitative analysis consistently demonstrates impact (Cushner & Karim, 2004). 7.3. Implications for practice If communication self-efficacy difference scores do reflect sojourners’ perceived change, then the benefits of a sojourn seem to make the hardships and challenges worthwhile. The findings appear to confirm researchers’ assertions that international exchange programs influence individuals at a profound level (Abrams, 1979; Armstrong, 1984; Bachner, Zeutschel, & Shannon, 1993; Carlson & Widaman, 1988; Cushner & Karim, 2004; Kauffmann et al., 1992; Sell, 1983), and the findings can be used to further encourage the promotion of these programs. Additionally, training for people who intend to go overseas has conventionally been limited to training about culture shock, adaptation, intercultural communication, details of specific host cultures, and other external forces the sojourner may encounter. Few training itineraries include information about the possible internal growth payoff of a sojourn and no trainings were discovered that include information about self-efficacy. Future trainings could include information about the process of mastery experiences and the possibilities for perceived increased self-efficacy, helping sojourners become more engaged with the challenging processes of internal change during the sojourn. Trainings might also encourage sojourners to productively channel their perceived increased levels of self-efficacy in conscious and deliberate ways. Bandura (1997) relates that the current state of world and local affairs calls for individuals with a high sense of perceived self-efficacy. “Wrenching social changes are not new over the course of history, but what is new is their magnitude and accelerated pace. Rapid cycles of drastic changes require continuous personal and social renewals. These challenging realities place a premium on people's sense of efficacy to shape their future” (p. vii). The more that post-sojourn individuals perceive a high sense of communication self-efficacy, the more one might argue their communication lines will stay open and vital, allowing for interactive, proactive alternatives to the personal withdrawals or destructive reactions that might relate to a lack of efficacy in this domain. Further, Bandura states that a strong sense of efficacy acquired in one area of functioning may transfer to other areas, thereby creating a general sense of personal efficacy. Bandura (1995) cautions that a strong sense of efficacy in socially valued pursuits, such as communication, is conducive to human attainment and well being, but is not entirely an unmixed blessing. “The impact of personal efficacy on the nature and quality of life depends, of course, on the purposes to which it is put” (p. 1). A strong sense of self-efficacy can be particularly problematic where and when the “voracious pursuit of self-interest” produces effects that are collectively detrimental. Accordingly, enhanced communication self-efficacy—whether developed as a byproduct of sojourning or another mastery experience—cannot be taken uncritically as an absolute good. Rather, in order to avoid what Bandura has identified as the type of “special-interest gridlock that immobilizes efforts to solve socially the broader problems of society” (p. 2), such self-efficacy must be consciously situated within a broader ethical context, one that fosters the pursuit of collectively beneficial societal transformation and renewal.