Mika Launikari


Homo interculturalis - Identity, interculturality and career learning within European Union institutions

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A month ago I submitted my doctoral dissertation to international pre-examination. Ever since then I have not really been willing to take a look at the manuscript. Out of sight, out of mind … at least for a while. Now in October-November, the reviewers – one professor in Singapore and another in the Netherlands – are reading my doctoral thesis. By December I should receive their comments and suggestions on how I still should revise and improve the original manuscript before I can defend it in public in early 2019.

The concepts of identity, interculturality and international careers are at the heart of my doctoral dissertation entitled ‘Homo interculturalis – Identity, interculturality and career learning within European Union institutions’. The main motivation for conducting this research was that currently the intercultural dimension among staff at European Union institutions is academically a relatively unexplored terrain.

Thus, this research aims at creating more clarity on how staff members working at decentralized European Union agencies located in Greece (Cedefop), Ireland (Eurofound) and Italy (ETF) relate to identity and interculturality in their daily working environment, and what are the meanings they give to these notions from the perspective of their professional careers in the EU public administration.

Essentially my research looks into the dynamics of the specific elements that constitute identity and interculturality capitals. Altogether 20 interviewees from the above EU agencies shared their views on identity construction and related personal, professional and territorial identifications as well as on development of interculturality along their careers at an international workplace and outside of work in the destination countries.

In the research, the theoretical model of intellectual capital that consists of human, social and organisational capitals has been applied to framing and discussing identity, interculturality and career capitals. These three are important types of capitals for capturing the phenomena of self-initiated expatriation and professional careers within the European Union public administration. On top of that, human agency, self-efficacy and resilience are an integral dimension in the study.  

My doctoral dissertation will be published both in print and online editions in February-March 2019. Then all the findings, conclusions and recommendations will be publicly available for free. In the coming months I will be talking about my doctoral dissertation at international conferences and provide the audience with some highlights of the results already.