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Transculturals as Agents of Change Open Access

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Abstract of the DissertationTransculturals as Agents of Change With operations involving global interindividual interactions and strategic organizational change, organizations face a human resource problem. Today, human resources departments seek individuals capable of interacting across and beyond sociocultural boundaries and sometimes in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous settings. The literature has identified that organizations underutilize a specific pool of employees with extensive international life-work experience. This study was designed to explore the phenomenon of the transcultural individual from a humanistic perspective. To be a transcultural individual is to have successfully integrated two or more cultures into their worldview. The study also examined transculturality, designating transcultural traits or characteristics, as a positive attribute to being an agent of change in the workplace. Three underlying premises drove this study: first, human relations are malleable; second, transcultural individuals are naturals in interindividual intercultural interactions; and third, change is continuous. The study population included five women and four men located in Washington, D.C., and Paris, France. The study used a qualitative interpretive inquiry design and a transdisciplinary theoretical framework to explore the nine life stories. Semistructured interviews provided rich and thick descriptions for analysis. The results were threefold: the participants transcended their inherited culture to attain a degree of cultural freedom; a transcultural life lessens angst in the face of change; and self-perception of being a manager and/or leader of change seems normal to the participants. The findings uncovered the transcultural life experience as a way of being and a way of knowing the world. Moreover, being transcultrual, from a human development and an existential transformative process, appears to predispose individuals to being proactive agents of change in the workplace. This study highlighted the positive humanistic perspectives, derived from being a transcultural individual, that organizations need from individuals with relevant knowledge to address cross-cultural challenges and complexified work settings due to a continuous state of change. The study also revealed a perception of change to be related to individuals’ prior life experiences with change, including emotional behaviors and coping mechanisms developed under such circumstances. Unforeseeably, conversations exposed personal the presence and role of temporalities in relation to personal perceptions of time in relation to change.change when revisiting and recollecting memories. In conclusion, recommendations for transcultural individuals and organizations are derived, and further research is suggested.

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