17 April 2024

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Cross-cultural cooperation among universities


Cross-cultural cooperation among universities

Special Issue, European Education

Guest Editors

Tove Holm, Local manager for the university alliance SEA-EU, Nord University, Norway

Anna CohenMiller, Full Professor, Center for Teaching and Learning, Nord University, Norway


What happens when universities, from different organizational cultures, come together to develop

higher education? How do these alliances and/or affiliate campuses remain organizationally

sustainable? How can all involved feel valued and heard and included?

Who We Are

The guest editors are working together as part of an European university alliance. We bring together insights and experiences and questions about how best to move through collaborating, establishing and sustaining alliances across university partnerships and international campuses. For example, mandates of the European university alliances are to enhance transdisciplinary collaboration,

internationalization and mobility, and develop competence. In practice, however, this is far easier said than done.


According to Snaebjornsson (2015) culture molds the values and attitudes that influence people's perceptions, including human phenomena such as leadership. A recent survey of employees across 90 countries revealed that 89 percent of white-collar workers "occasionally" or more frequently engage in project collaboration within global virtual teams (Taras et al., 2021). In Europe one major development going on for cross-cultural collaboration are the European Universities alliances, which are a flagship initiative of the European strategy for universities. The initiative sets the ambition to expand to 60 European Universities alliances involving more than 500 higher education institutions by mid-2024. In 2024 Europe had 50 European university alliances in both capital cities and remote regions of 35 countries. The European University of the Seas - SEA-EU - is a European university alliance that aims to strengthen cooperation in education and research across national borders in Europe, with the motto “Living sustainably, by, from and with the sea.” SEA-EU started in 2019 with six European universities. In 2022 the alliance expanded to include three new universities. We have observed the dynamic nature of cooperation within an international campus, especially regarding the variations in cultural leadership styles. Our objective is to delve deeper into this subject by showcasing theoretical and empirical research to expand our understanding and identify practical strategies for cross-cultural cooperation among universities. Taras et al. (2021) found in a review spanning 24 years and encompassing over 1100 studies, that 95% of these studies concentrated on the adverse effects of differences among team members. Consequently, our aim is to shift our focus towards understanding the positive impacts. What insights can we glean from these studies, and how can we enhance collaboration within cross-cultural teams?

Invitation to Submit

In this special issue, we invite experiences and insights, both personal and research-based around these challenges to better understand the global changing dynamic of higher education and means to create sustainability across diverse cultural contexts. As such, we invite empirical and theoretical contributors addressing different aspects of experiences and insights of both challenges and potential solutions for cross-cultural collaborations and culturally responsive leadership in developing international campuses internationally.

The issue is intended to offer readers, researchers and practitioners engaging pieces that will address topics, such as (but not limited to):

Sharing experiences and insights for cross-cultural collaborations.

Identifying fundamental challenges encountered when university alliances collaborate across diverse cultures.

Distinguishing cultural variations and disparities.

Considerations for developing culturally responsive leadership.

Applying acquired knowledge to respective university and cultural contexts.

According to Tsai (2022), cross-cultural leadership can be strengthened by providing managers, who are receptive to learning from individuals of diverse cultures, opportunities to collaborate in crosscultural teams. Additionally, exposure to seasoned expatriates or the chance to observe how others navigate challenging cultural situations can contribute to their development. Taras et al. (2021) found that managers should take proactive measures to ensure enhanced communication, foster positive interpersonal dynamics, and cultivate a more collegial team climate. Central questions concerning governance and leadership across these cultural contexts could therefore relate to ideas, such as:

● How could international campuses, like the university alliances, take advantage of their cross cultural work for joint improvements of organizational cultures?

● How can we navigate through the complex policy, legal framework of higher European institutions spread across several countries and find solutions for decentralized, collaborative management?

● How can we effectively enhance transdisciplinary collaboration, internationalization, mobility, and develop competency?

We encourage collaborative pieces, in particular those which include “SCED” scholars (socially, culturally, economically diverse) (Toldson, 2023) and early career scholars. We welcome multi-,inter- and transdisciplinary pieces, since an interdisciplinary approach (CohenMiller et al., 2017) broadens the scope of attainable knowledge beyond the limitations of a single discipline, as it involves the integration of insights from various fields.

Submission Instructions

Extended abstracts should include the following:

• Up to 500 words including tentative title and sample references

• 3-5 keywords

• Author bio(s)

• In submitting your abstract, you accept being willing to be contacted to blind peer review

two other manuscripts

All abstract submissions and questions can be e-mailed to the Guest Editors.

• Tove Holm tove.holm@nord.no

• Anna CohenMiller anna.cohenmiller@nord.no


30 June 2024 Extended abstract submission

12 July 2024 Notification of acceptance of abstract

1 November 2024 Full papers due for peer review

2025 Tentative publication


CohenMiller, A. S., Faucher, C., Hernandez-Torrano, D., & Brown Hajdukova, E. (2017). Practical steps for using interdisciplinary educational research to enhance cultural awareness. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 40(3).


Snaebjornsson, I. M., Edvardsson, I. R., Zydziunaite, V., & Vaiman, V. (2015). Cross-Cultural Leadership: Expectations on Gendered Leaders’ Behavior. SAGE Open, 5(2).


Taras, V., Baack, D., Caprar, D., Jim.nez, A., Froese, F. (2021). How cultural differences can impact global teams (news post) https://hbr.org/2021/06/research-how-cultural-differences-canimpact-


Toldson, I. (2023, October 27). Socially, Culturally, and Economically Diverse (SCED) – Proposing a new way to describe the people, communities, and institutions that deserve more. LinkedIn.



Tsai, C. J. (2022). Cross-cultural leadership behavior adjustment and leader effectiveness: a framework and implications. International Studies of Management and Organization, 52(3–

4). https://doi.org/10.1080/00208825.2022.2131232