Promoting Intercultural Competence for Technical Writing Students: A Case Study of an Intercultural Business Memo Research Project


  • Yingqin Liu Cameron University Lawton, Oklahoma, USA


technical writing, intercultural communication course project, intercultural competence


In the age of globalization, acquiring intercultural communication skills and developing intercultural competence are essential for technical and business communication students and practitioners. Using a case study from a technical writing course assignment, which explores the effectiveness of incorporating an intercultural business memo research project to improve students’ intercultural competence, the paper has come to some valuable conclusions. The findings show that it is useful and effective for teachers to use technical writing course research projects to help teach intercultural communication in the workplace for these ends.The findings indicate that the technical and business writing teachers need to find more effective ways of motivatingstudents in this intercultural communication learning process. The teachers also need to create more real-life tasks such as internship opportunities or service learning projects in some intercultural workplace settings to help students acquire intercultural competence.


Author Biography

Yingqin Liu, Cameron University Lawton, Oklahoma, USA

Yingqin Liu is an associate professor in the Department of English and Foreign Languages at Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma, USA. She obtained her PHD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric from Texas Tech University in 2007.  She also holds an MA  in English from Western Kentucky University, USA. Her research interests include intercultural communication and rhetoric, second language writing and teaching, and business communication and has published several articles in a variety of journals  .


Byram, M., & Morgan, C. (1994). Teaching-and-learning language-and-culture. Bristol, PA: Multilingual Matters.

Chen, G. M. &Starosta, W. J. (1997). A review of the concept of intercultural sensitivity. Human Communication,1(1),1-16.

Chen, G. M., &Starosta, W. J. (1998). A review of the concept of intercultural awareness. Human Communication, 2(1),27–54.

Chen, G. M., &Starosta, W. J. (2000). The development and validation of the intercultural sensitivity scale. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of National Communication Association, Seattle, WA. Retrieved from

Corbett, J. (1996). From dialog to praxis: Crossing cultural borders in the business and technical communication classroom. Technical Communication Quarterly, 5, 411–424. doi: 10.1207/s15427625tcq0504 3

Deardorff, D. K. (2006). Identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization. Journal of Studies in International Education, 10(3), 241–266. doi: 10.1177/1028315306287002

Deardorff, D. K. (2009). Synthesize conceptualizations of intercultural competence: A summery and emerging themes.In D. K. Deaedorff (Ed), The SAGEhandbook of intercultural competence (pp.264-270). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

DeVoss, D., Jasken, J.,& Hayden, D. (2002). Teaching intracultural and intercultural Communication: A critique and suggested method. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 16(1), 69-94.

Freedman, A., Adam, C., & Smart, G. (1994). Wearing suits to class: Simulating genres andsimulations as genre. Written Communication, 11, 193–226.doi: 0.1177/0741088394011002002

Goodman, M. B. (2013). Intercultural communication for managers.New York, NY: Business Expert Press.

Gupta, S. (2010). A quick guide to cultural competency: Communication style.Retrieved from

Hall, E. T., & Hall, M. R. (2001). Key concepts:Underlying structures of culture. International HRM: Managing Diversity in the Workplace, 24-40.

Hofstede, G., &Hofstede, G.J. (2005). Culture and organizations: Software of the mind, 2nded. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Kratzke, C., &Bertolo, M. (2013). Enhancing students' cultural competence using cross-cultural experiential learning. Journal of Cultural Diversity,20(3), 107-111.

Markel, Mike. (2012).Technical communication. 10th ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s. Pfeiffer, W. S. (1994). Technical writing: A practical approach. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Planken, B., Van Hooft, A., &Korzilius, H. (2004). Promoting intercultural communicative competence through foreign language courses. Business Communication Quarterly, 67(3), 308-315.

Wang, J. (2013). Moving towards ethnorelativism: A framework for measuring and meeting students' needs in cross-cultural business and technical communication. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 43(2), 201-218.

Yu, H. (2012). Intercultural competence in technical communication: A working definition and review of assessment methods. Technical Communication Quarterly, 21(2), 168-186.




How to Cite

Liu, Y. (2015). Promoting Intercultural Competence for Technical Writing Students: A Case Study of an Intercultural Business Memo Research Project. Asian Journal of Education and E-Learning, 3(4). Retrieved from