Cross-cultural experiences can offer unique opportunities to examine our assumptions that underlie our worldviews. This paper discusses a cross-cultural action research program in which US and Japanese university students mutually presented and discussed their action research projects in Tokyo. Planning and organizing the program involved a series of dialogues with the Japanese partner that had led to mutual agreement to frame the cross-cultural exchange as ba, a Japanese cultural concept that implies intersubjective and open communicative arena to co-develop a new understanding. This paper discusses what the US students and faculty group experienced and learned in the cross-cultural program. Through the program, the students encountered different styles of communicating meanings and epistemology and made sense of new ways of viewing the world. During the program, the US faculty group experienced an unanticipated disconnect with the Japanese partner about restructuring the discussion format to elicit more participations of the Japanese students, but it was eventually overcome though a series of reflective dialogues regarding the nature of silece and voicing one’s opinions. This paper discusses how encountering different modes of communications and social dynamics in cross-cultural dialogues can help us become aware of various assumptions that underlie our action research endeavers.
- Cultural epistemology
- action research
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Strategy and Management
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management