KWI – Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Intitut Essen, KWI)

Research areas

Project Intercultural Understanding and Transcultural Identity Work in Global Workplaces: Indo-German Flight Attendant Teams

Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Ronald Kurt, Prof. Dr. Jo Reichertz

One of the characteristics of globalisation is teamwork among people coming from different cultural contexts. Working in intercultural teams is increasingly becoming normal with increasing globalisation. The members of such teams are imposed with the task of developing forms of intercultural teamwork (intercultural practices) and establish appropriate forms of communication (intercultural understanding). People are recquired to develop solution oriented ways of working and commucating while bringing together different cultural perspectives. Intercultural cooperation in such teams gives rise to a new social framework. This social framework can be held stable only when people are able to transform their rooted cultural identities accordingly. They are reqcuired to work towards a transcultural identity. The objective of our research project funded by the German Research Foundation, is to analyse typical aspects of transcultural communication and identity work in the context of qualitative sociology of knowledge.
The project is being carried out in cooperation with a leading German airline which enables us an access to the field for empirical analyses. We intend to analyse the interaction between the Indian and German flight attendants, who work in teams on the flights to and from India. The analses will be based on qualitative expert interviews with the management, narrative interviews with the Indian and German flight attendants and participant observation on field. The interaction within the multicultural teams of flight attendants is important for our study as here the differentiation of (trans)formations of cultural identities under the conditions of globalisation is carried to its extremes and hence becomes empirically tangible. In our project we seek to unfold theoretical and practical aspects of intercultural communication and transcultural identity work in global workplaces.