Teaching Professional Communication in a Global Context: Using a Three-Phase Approach of Theory Exploration, Self-Assessment, and Virtual Simulation

Kelly A. Grant, Timo Lainema, Elizabeth A. Tuleja, Jeffrey J. Younger


This paper discusses a recent pedagogical endeavor across universities in the USA, Finland and Austria. The authors of this paper collaborated on a classroom exercise that links business students from these countries via virtual team simulation, called Virtual Teams in International Business (VIBu). This real-time simulation provided a means for connecting theory with practice and required students to examine their assumptions about overcoming potential cultural barriers in international business. They were challenged to recognize, understand, and apply knowledge of different values, beliefs, and norms when working with people from other cultures to achieve successful team dynamics and collaboration with international counterparts. In this article, we describe this unique collaboration of four university faculty who combined their areas of expertise (professional communication, virtual teamwork, and intercultural communication) to create a customized teaching module that expands student intercultural learning beyond the classroom to the global business landscape. The real-time simulation deepened the students’ understanding of themselves and their international colleagues.


Critical thinking; intercultural communication; international collaboration; simulation gaming; virtual work.

Full Text: