The Immersion to Integration: Beyond Access project (Phase 2) focused on the issue of organizational integration for internationally educated professionals (IEPs) in two organizations actively employing engineers with education and experience outside of Canada. Through applied research and training activities the Centre for Excellence in Intercultural Education developed and applied an Organizational Integration Model to improve the integration process that IEPs experience and equip organizations to intentionally facilitate their integration. The goal for the project was to support IEPs to become more mobile and visible within the organization through increased pragmatic competence for IEPs and increased intercultural competence for organizational leadership and teams. The project was guided by two research questions:
448 people including:
The project team found that for Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) to learn the Canadian way to communicate and work effectively together, there is a need to develop both the ability to change language use and behavior (i.e. code shift) so the intended impact is achieved in the Canadian workplace context. For leadership development to occur, IEPs also need to learn why the changes in the behavior or language use works (i.e. frame shift). Both surface and deep learning are why change in behavior works through the Personal Management course.
Seven core leadership skills were identified in the project as common competencies expected by organizational leaders that were identified as not being fulfilled by some IEPs in the organization.
English language pragmatics is critical to integration into the Canadian workplace and the functions of relating to leaders and leading others. Although pragmatics is present in every language, it has significant socio-cultural variables that make it critical to function effectively in the professional Alberta workplace. These expectations for using context-effective pragmatics correlate with higher Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) levels that are more difficult to master and which have fewer comprehensive curricula and materials to date. The less-hierarchical structure of most of the professional Canadian private and public workplaces requires the use of a communication style that is less dependent on hierarchical power and more fluent in contextual pragmatics. It also requires a level of initiative to match the unwritten expectation for employees to be more self-directed.
Discourse Completion Tasks and the development of models such as the Building Consensus (A-F) Model are essential in helping IEPs navigate the implicit rules of pragmatic competence (soft skills) so essential to building and maintaining relationships in mainstream Canadian professional workplaces. The combined effects of controlled, in-session repetition, with workplace practice using transfer tasks allows for an experiential affirmation of the relational effects of pragmatic competency, and increased confidence through increased success in “real-world” contexts. The Building Consensus (A-F) Model only breaks down the speech acts of agreeing/ disagreeing and building consensus. Clearly there are more speech acts associated with the perceived leadership competencies identified through this project that need to be researched and analyzed to the same effect. This would allow for newcomers to experience the cognitive frame-shifting and behavioural code-shifting required for successful integration into Canadian workplaces.
Download resource (158K pdf)
Download resource (156K pdf)
Download resource (175K pdf)
Download resource (132K pdf)
Download resource (202K pdf)