Managing and Leading in different cultures

Category: Englisch

Intensive Programme is preparing the next generation for successful intercultural leadership


This week, Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences is hosting the Second Intensive Programme that aims at fostering leadership and management skills across cultures. Over fifty students and lecturers from six different partner universities from across Europe are engaging in learning and collaborating in an intercultural setting as part of the EU Strategic Partnership Project PROMINENCE.

In a global and increasingly diverse world, interculturally competent managers and leaders are the asset for companies that seek to operate successfully on an international scale or across cultures. The seven universities participating in the project from across Europe have joined forces to collaborate on the development of interactive online blended learning material to enhance intercultural competence and experience with the ambition to contribute to a further enhancement of the internationalization agenda in their participating universities.

Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences is the host of the second of a total of three so called Intensive Programmes as part of a EU project within the Erasmus+ Programme entitled PROMINENCE (PROmoting MINndful ENCounters through intercultural Competence and Experience). This project is financially supported within the framework of the EU funding initiative Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships. Over a period of three years, university partners from Aschaffenburg (Germany), Bratislava (Slovakia), Debrecen (Hungary), Katowice (Poland), Savoie (France), Seinäjoki (Finland) and Varna (Bulgaria) collaborate and organise so called Intensive Programmes (IPs). Each of these short programmes is delivered in English to more than 50 students and lecturers from all seven participating universities. For each of these IPs, students per participating university receive a EU grant to co-finance their study period abroad.

“With our IP we wanted to provide a framework favourable for learning across cultures”, says Alexandra Angress, professor at the Faculty of Business Administration and Law of Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences, who is coordinating the academic programme supported by the university’s International Office. Students work on case studies as consultants in international teams seeking to solve challenges relating to leadership and management in an intercultural context.

In his keynote address, Denis Schreek from Linde Material Handling in Aschaffenburg illustrated what companies operating on a global scale expect in terms of an intercultural mindset and the readiness to adapt and continue learning across different cultures. A survey conducted in the project consortium coordinated by Stéphane Ganassali, University of Savoie, further confirmed the relevance of intercultural competence for managers in today’s global word on a sample of almost 200 companies in the seven participating countries.

Troy Wiwczaroski, the project coordinator of the University of Debrecen, summarises the ambition of the organisers of the IP: “Can we cultivate an attitude of openness to differences of opinion in our students? It is our hope that we can this week provide each participant of the IP with at least one spark which will catch fire and lead them to forge their own path to success”. Students were actively involved also in testing content that had been developed on leadership theories and the role of non-verbal communication by the Economic University of Varna, Bulgaria and Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Finland, respectively.

Through this EU project, all seven European university partners have signed up to further develop their respective internationalisation strategies and deepen their bonds through mutual Erasmus+ cooperation arrangements on student and staff mobility within the EU funded flagship programme Erasmus+.

In 2020, the third and last IP of the project will take place at the University of Savoie, France followed by a final international conference in Seinäjoki, Finland where the project results will be presented. More information can be accessed via the website of Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences’ website here as well as via the EU Project website: