Florida Tech Cross-Cultural Institute Supports Patrick Air Force Base Equal Opportunity Organization Symposium

MELBOURNE, FLA.—When the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) at Patrick Air Force Base celebrated its 40th MELBOURNE, FLA.–When the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) at Patrick Air Force Base celebrated its 40th anniversary with a recent research symposium, Florida Tech played a major role. Thirteen Florida Tech faculty, graduates and students lent support, leading sessions and presenting papers. The Florida Tech representatives all participate in the university’s Institute for Cross-Cultural Management.

The symposium explored the relationship between positive social awareness and organizational effectiveness as well as the impact of diversity and culture on military operations.

Among those presenting from the university, Professor of industrial/organizational and cultural psychology William Gabrenya gave his paper, “Assessing Cross-Cultural Competence: How Good Are the Available Instruments?” He also participated in a discussion on the trainability of cross-cultural competence and the affective component with Elizabeth Culhane, Florida Tech doctoral graduate and DEOMI research psychologist.

Other Florida Tech students and graduates who are also DEOMI professionals, Elizabeth Steinhauser, Margaret Sudduth, Bianca Trejo, Kizzy Parks, Patrice Reid, Stephanie Miloslavic, Felicia O. Mokuolu, Chaunette Small and Marinus van Driel, presented papers as did alumna Christen Lockamy. Rana Moukarzel, a Florida Tech doctoral student, was a panel participant on the topic of organizational effectiveness, equal opportunity and organizational justice.

Since the inception of the Institute of Cross-Cultural Management in 2009, more than $150,000 has been awarded to the university institute. The grants support a Department of Defense mandate for all soldiers to have cross-cultural training for their international assignments. For example, the Florida Tech institute, under Director Richard Griffith, has worked to better define and measure cross-cultural competency and to streamline cross-cultural training. The Florida Tech consulting relationship with DEOMI is ongoing and was formalized with a recent memorandum of agreement.

“Our Institute helps DEOMI gain a better understanding of why some people thrive when they work in other cultures and why some people fail.We build systems that assess cross-cultural competence to identify those likely to succeed in unfamiliar cultural settings,” said Griffith.

Early identification of those individuals allows the military to place them in operational units and job categories that have a high degree of cultural contact, such as special forces.

Griffith added, “In addition, we support DEOMI in developing more realistic cross cultural training so all members of the military can improve their intercultural effectiveness. Cultural competence has become much more important to the military given the asymmetrical nature of combat, and the negotiation and diplomatic skills necessary in peacekeeping missions.”



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