Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Amber Dumford, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Waynne B. James, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Miller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Reck, Ph.D.


assessment, globalization, global scales, GPI


Educating for global competence is vital if college graduates are to thrive in today’s technology driven and globally competitive world. One strategy for introducing students to unknown cultures and gaining important life skills is participation in a study abroad experience.

The purpose of this exploratory quasi-experimental research design study was to assess the relationship between perceived global competence levels and participation in study abroad experiences of business undergraduate students. The study assessed three dimensions of personal development: cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal in a multicultural environment using a total of six global competence scales. Data were gathered from business undergraduate students using the validated Global Perspective Inventory (GPI) instrument before and after their study abroad. The control group included students who did not study abroad, and the treatment group was comprised of students who did.

The first research question compared the mean differences in the global competence scales of the two groups. The second question addressed the relationship between the mean change scores in the global competence scales and study abroad participation for both the control and treatment groups. Research question 3 compared the mean change scores in the global competence scales and various student demographics only for students who studied abroad.

Data analysis indicated a positive relationship between study abroad experiences and the global competence scales. The analysis found that out of the six scales measured by GPI, five had significant change scores.

The findings indicated a significant relationship between the cognitive domain and study abroad experience while the intrapersonal domain ascertained significant differences only when comparing the change scores between the control and the treatment group. In addition, the interpersonal domain had significant change scores for both of its scales. This study’s results confirmed the nationwide trend—white females were the major participants in study abroad programs.

The implications for practice may support the expansion of an effective study abroad program to enhance student global competence including methods to ensure involvement of underrepresented individuals. The study findings can further guide higher education practices in embedding global competence and learning beyond the classroom into curricula.

Recommendations for future research include an increase in the variety of data collected and the design of a predictive model to estimate the change scores in the global competence scales across the university population. Another recommendation is the addition of a qualitative component in conjunction with the Global Perspective Inventory to allow students to describe their global experiences.