Interpersonal skills in cross-cultural effectiveness: A descriptive study of Christian and missionary alliance missionaries

Joan Elsie Carter, Marquette University

Abstract

Interpersonal skills have been identified as an important factor in cross-cultural adaptation. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to develop an instrument and to use it to obtain information on the actual and desired levels of interpersonal skill performance among C&MA missionaries and administrators. The Interpersonal Skills Inventory (ISI) utilized 52 statements to be rated on a Likert-type scale and demographic questions. Three major skill categories were examined, namely those of letting yourself be known (Reveal), listening and responding (Listen), and, challenging (Challenge). The subjects included 170 C&MA missionaries and 33 mission administrators. Missionaries used the ISI to rate their self-assessed skill levels which provided the "Actual" profile. Both missionaries and administrators completed the ISI in relation to their perception of an "Ideal" missionary. A comparison of the Actual and Ideal profiles yielded the following significant results: (1) Missionary Ideal higher than Administrator Ideal on Reveal and Challenge skills. (2) Missionary Ideal higher than Missionary Actual on all three skills. (3) Administrator Ideal higher than Missionary Actual on Listen and Challenge skills. The Ideal profiles of both missionaries and administrators identified Listen skills as most highly valued, with Challenge second, and Reveal third. The significant differences between the Actual and Ideal profiles confirm the need and desire for missionaries to increase in interpersonal competence. Challenge is the area identified as needing the greatest improvement. Both males and females showed significant correlations between their Actual and Ideal profiles. The male Challenge score was significantly higher than the females. Subjects reporting themselves as Satisfied with their current level of skill obtained significant correlations between their Actual and Ideal profiles for Reveal, Listen, and Challenge, whereas the dissatisfied subjects obtained a significant correlation for Reveal only. No significant differences were found on the profiles attributable to the demographic factors of Marital Status, Culture, and Age. Recommendations for further research and for training programs are given.

Recommended Citation

Joan Elsie Carter, "Interpersonal skills in cross-cultural effectiveness: A descriptive study of Christian and missionary alliance missionaries" (January 1, 1987). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI8811059.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI8811059

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