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Diversity In Cultures And Teamwork

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Teamwork, K-12: Projects to Promote Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.448.1 - 8.448.10



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Paper Authors

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Arvid Andersen

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1660

Diversity in cultures and teamwork

Arvid Andersen

Engineering College of Copenhagen, Denmark


European countries have long and strong historical, cultural and educational traditions, which they all want to protect, preserve and defend. Simultaneously, there is a strong wish to join the European Union to cooperate and collaborate, and to develop together in a common cause for a strong competitive EU. International awareness, considerations, courage and concern are extremely important elements to take seriously, if we want to be up front in international business and competition. We have to teach our students what that all means. Students must be involved and learn to identify and develop skills needed to communicate, cooperate and collaborate in groups and environments with people from diverse cultures and different disciplines. This paper will describe what our students are exposed to, in order to develop the entrepreneurial and soft skills needed, and how we assess the activities involved. It is also a report of nine years of experience with international teamwork in cooperation with and participation of more than 40 universities mainly across Europe. Students from US, Chile, China and Australia are also now joining. All projects, on this international teamwork semester, are real projects done in cooperation with local or foreign companies. We do reach out to industry to develop programmes of mutual interest. Projects are located in the technical engineering areas with supporting wide-range activities including marketing and business. The focus is on the overall realisation process rather than on any specific science or skill. In this way our students are exposed to appropriate activities to value and appreciate diversity. This is recognized to be an important part of the career of the future engineer.


More and more companies arrange seminars for employees to discuss their expectations of future employer/employee relationship. The following text is a typical example of what is frequently discussed at management level in international companies: “ How do we ensure sufficient and well-trained managerial, specialist and general personnel to meet the future demands of the organization?” It is a fact that the market is undergoing rapid commercial, cultural and technological development. Changes in society and in family structures require new approaches in human resources management. Job quality and flexibility combined with team spirit and team skills are areas that have developed new meanings. Further, understanding of cross-cultural-business behaviour and concepts are more important than ever. And last but not least autonomous learning and continuing education is essential to develop own potentials. Looking at modern engineering education the required skills base is no longer just technological. It now includes a demand for a person to be proficient with open-ended problem solving and applications. However, the ability to collect, analyze and report large amount of technical, operational and statistical data has become essential. In addition, engineers of today must be able to work in interdisciplinary and international project groups to solve increasingly complex problems.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American So ciety for Engineering Education”

Andersen, A. (2003, June), Diversity In Cultures And Teamwork Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12375

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