Date of Award

1-12-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

David I. Hanauer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sharon K. Deckert, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Reuven Lehavy, Ph.D.

Abstract

This qualitative research examines literacy in a transnational setting. More specifically, this study explores the literacy experiences and cultural negotiations of 15 Israeli MBA study abroad students in an American University in three phases: the application process, the academic coursework, and the on-campus employment seeking. The multiple case study design utilized document and interview data analysis. This study elucidate that the participants’ discourse is replete with myths, misconceptions and misinformation about the nature and objective of their business training and the context in which it operates. These myths and misconceptions are significant predictors of how the participants experience the program. Findings show that the literacy experiences of Israeli study abroad MBA students are closely linked to the students’ previous literacy experiences, study abroad motivations and attitudes toward academic experience as a literacy event and the way they cope with the challenges it poses. At the same time, students’ attitudes toward the literacy are shaped by the cultural perceptions the Israeli students bring with them, the way they interpret the target culture and their willingness to adapt their previously acquired skills to a new context. The analysis indicates that despite a mismatch between the literacy repertoire Israeli MBA students acquired in previous discipline and the literacy they are required to demonstrate in the program, students have high estimation of the literacy abilities. However, being very factual and practical, the Israeli students undermine the academic experience and the networking opportunities, viewing it as a financial investment that will bring about a change in the graduate’s compensation potential in the job market. This choice of foci, which is rooted in cultural beliefs and hegemony of misconceptions about the essence of the graduate business education experience and the target culture, create a false perception that they are ready for their professional life in a globalized economy.

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