Chinese Studies, 2015, 4, 77-82
Published Online August 2015 in SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/chnstd
How to cite this paper: Ulu, G., Fan Weiwei, & Shi Yu (2015). Study of the Relationship between Chinese College Students’
International Posture and Their Intercultural Willingness to Communicate. Chinese Studies, 4, 77-82.
Study of the Relationship between Chinese
College Students’ International Posture
and Their Intercultural Willingness to
Güliz Ulu, Fan Weiwei, Shi Yu*
Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, fanweiwei @hu st. edu. cn, *email@example.com
Received 1 June 2015; accepted 30 July 2015; published 4 August 2015
Copyright © 2015 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).
This paper involves an investigation of the relationship between Chinese college students’ inter-
national posture and their intercultural willingness to communicate (IWTC) by means of ques-
tionnaires obtained from 167 Chinese college students. The results of the Pearson correlation
show that there is a significant positive relationship between international posture and IWTC. In
addition, the results of the multiple linear regressions indicate that Intercultural Friendship
Orientation in English learning th at is one factor of the international posture can significantly
predict students’ IWTC.
International Willingness to Communicate, International Posture
The rapid development of globalization has triggered an intense focus on intercultural communication. As one
of the most important predispositions of intercultural communication behavior, the IWTC (International Wil-
lingness to Communicate) has undoubtedly attracted the attention of the researchers. IWTC is defined as one’s
predisposition to initiate intercultural communication encounters (Kassing, 1997). To improve students’ i nter-
cultural willingness to communicate should lead to positive attitude towards intercultural communication beha-
vior and finally initiate the actual successful intercultural communication. In order to understand how to im-
G. Ulu et al.
prove student s’ IWTC, the factors that have st rong impact on IWTC s hould be i dentified in the most preliminary
stage. Such influencing factors include intercultural communication apprehension (an individual level of fear
associated with either real or anticipated situation with another person or persons) (McCroskey & Baer, 1985),
intercultural communication anxiety, ethnocentrism, frequency of international interactions, international post-
ure and overseas friendship (Lin & Rancer, 2003; Pan, 2007; Roach & Olaniram, 2001; Gareis, Merkin, &
Goldman, 2011; Yashima, 2002).
Among all the above-mentioned factors, the international posture has been regarded as an important factor
which can strongly affect Asian students’ IWTC (Yashima, 2002). However, Yashima’s study focused only on
Japanese college students. Few empirical studies have investigated the influence of international posture on
Chinese college students’ IWT C. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the relationship between Chinese col-
lege students’ international posture and t heir IWTC.
2. Literature Review
We would like to get a brief review of the main studies in the following aspects such as the intercultural wil-
lingness to communicate and international posture.
2.1. Intercultural Willingness to Communicate
The concept of IWTC was first proposed by Kassing (1997) who defined it a s one’s pre dis po sition to i nitiate i n-
tercultural communication encounters. The concept is related, but distinct from the construct of WTC (Mc-
Croskey & Richmond, 1991). WTC concerns people’s willingness to communicate with friends, acquaintances,
and strangers who are speaking the same language in a variety of settings (e.g.: dyad, group, meeting, public),
whereas IWTC concerns people’s willingness to engage in communication encounters with people of different
races and cultures who are speaking other languages.
2.2. International Postu re
The concept of international posture firstly advanced by Yashima (2002) is based on the foreign language learn-
ing environment where the English language learners have little contact with native speakers. It is natural that
those E nglish learners will not hold a clear specific reaction to wards the English-speaking community. To those
foreign language learners, English seems to represent something related to the foreign countries and foreigners.
However, some students hold a positive attitude toward what English symbolizes while others do not. Such af-
fective attitude can be defined as the international posture (Yashima, 2002).
Yashima et al. have conducted a series of studies with Japanese students to demonstrate the relationship be-
tween international posture and second language willingness to communicate (Yashima, 2002; Yashima et al.,
2004; Yashima & Zenuk-Nishide, 2008). All the studie s proved that t here was a significant positive relationship
between international posture and Japanese students’ willingness to communicate in English. The importance of
inter natio nal po sture has no t o nly bee n pro ved in t he J apane se En glish l earni ng en viron ment, b ut als o in China.
Errington (2009) used the L2 learning mot ivation a nd Yashi ma’s concept of international posture to investiga te
the effect of EFL teaching in China. The findings show that international posture affects Chinese students’ L2
learning motivation positi vely. The higher a student’s international posture is, the stron ger motivatio n he has.
However, the relationship between Chinese students’ international posture and their IWTC has seldom been
investigated. Hence, our study will explore such relationship through the questionnaire. Our research questio ns
RQ1: What is the relationship between Chinese co lle ge students’ international posture and their IWTC?
RQ2: How does the students’ international posture pr e dict their IWTC?
Data were collected fro m stude nts in a univer sity lo cated in the ce ntral p art o f China. A to tal o f 167 subj ec ts (99
males, 68 females) completed the instruments anonymously and on a volunteer basis. The average age was
20.12 years old.
G. Ulu et al.
Intercultural Wi llingne ss to C ommunic ate (IWTC) Scale Students’ Interc ultural willingness to c ommunica te
(IWTC) was measured by a 12-item instrument developed by Kassing (1997). Six items were written to reflect
intercultural willingness to communicate (e.g., Talk with someone from another culture). These items were in-
terspersed between the six filler items used on the WTC scale (McCroskey, 1992) (e.g., Talk with a close friend).
The subjects are requested to write down the percentage of times they would choose to communicate in each
type o f sit uation. The p erce ntage i s fro m 0 ( which me ans never ) to 1 00 (whic h mea ns al ways). The Cr onbac h’s
α with the current pop ulation is 0.8 13, which means that the IWTC scale ho lds high relia bility. In order to help
students to get a full understanding of the conte nt, all the items were translated in to Chine s e.
International Posture Scale To measure the level of international posture, the participants were asked to
complete Yashima’s (2002) revised 19-item international posture scale. This scale consists of four factors: in-
tercultural friendship orientation (e.g., I’d like to make friends with foreigners); approach-avoidance tendency
(e.g., I would like to talk to an international student if there is one at school); interest in international vaca-
tion/activities (e.g., I want to work in an international organization such as the United Nations); and interest in
foreign affairs (e.g., I often read and watch news about foreign countries). Ratings were recorded on Likert
5-point scale with “1” meaning “strongly disagree” and “5” meaning “strongly agree”. The lowest score for in-
ternational posture is 19 while the highest one is 95. The scores for each factor are the mean scores of all the
items of that factor. The Cronbach’s α with the current population is 0.803 which means that the international
posture scale holds high reliability.
In order to examine the relationship between international posture and IWT C, Pearson product-moment correla-
tion was conducted. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient is a measure of the strength and direc-
tion of association that exists between two variables. SPSS 17.0 was used to check whether our data can adopt
the Pearson product-moment first. It was found that all the variables were measured in the interval level; there
were linear relationships between every two variables; there we re no significant outliers; all the variables were
approximately normally distributed . Since all the four assumptions of using Pearson product-moment corre la tion
were fulfilled, the Pearson product-moment correlation was adopted. The results of the students’ sc or es i n inte r-
national post ure a nd its four factors and their cor relation with the IW TC are shown i n Table 1.
Table 1 illustrate s t hat s tude nts’ whole scores for international posture have reached 61.35 compared with the
highest score of 95. Such scores indicate that Chinese students hold a relatively medium to high degree of inter-
natio nal posture. In the Like rt 5-poi nt scale, the high frequency use indicates that the mean score should be equal to
or above 3.5, the medium frequency use shows that the mean score should be from 2.5 to 3.4 and the lo w fre q uen-
cy use s uggests t hat the mean score sho uld be lo wer than 2 .5 (Oxfo rd & Bur ry-Stock, 1995). Therefore, among
the four factors of the international posture, Chinese college students hold high level intercultural friendship
orientation in English learning (M = 3.81); medium level intergroup approach-avoidance tendency (M = 3.28),
interest in foreign affairs (M = 3.17) and interest in international vocation/activities (M = 2.81). IWTC signifi-
cantly correlate with international posture (0.26, p < 0.01), intercultural friendship orientation in Engli sh Learn-
ing (0.34, p < 0.01) and intergroup approach-avoidance tendency (0.19, p < 0.05) . However, there is no signifi-
cant relationship between IWTC and the other two factors, which are interest in international vocation/activities
Table 1. International posture and correlations with IWTC.
Mea n ( SD) Correlation with IWTC
Interc ul t ur al pos tu r e 61.35 (6.06) 0.26**
intercultural friendship orientation in English Learning (IFO)
3.81 (0.69) 0.34**
intergroup approach-avoi da nc e te ndency (AAT) 3.28 (0.41) 0.19*
interest in international vocation/activities (IVA) 2.81 (0.39) 0.02
interest in Foreign Affairs (IFA) 3.17 (1.02) 0.01
Note: N = 167; *p < 0.05 (two-tailed); **p < 0.01 (two-tailed).
G. Ulu et al.
(0.02) and interest in foreign affairs (0.0 1). Such resul ts su ggest t hat the higher a stud ents’ i nterna tio nal po sture
(or IFO, AAT) is, the more willingness he has to initiate an intercultural communication. However, students’
IVA and IFA will not influenc e their IWTC.
Having established the correlation between the international posture and the IWTC, we use the multiple linear
regression to better understand which factor of the international posture can predict the IWTC. We adopt the
step wise met hod . Ea rni ng ent ry t o t he model is set at a n alp ha level o f 0.05. But to be removed, a variable must
have an associated probability of greater than 0.10. The result is shown in Table 2.
Table 2 illu strates t hat o nl y the factor of i nter national frie ndship o rien tatio n (I FO) i n English le ar ni ng ha s en-
tered into the regression model, all the other three factors failed to enter the regression model for the lack of sig-
nificant pr edication to the IWT C. From Table 2, we can find that F = 20 .084, and p = 0.000, such data indicates
that the regression model is effective. R2 = 0.110 , which mea ns that the facto r of IF O can exp lain 11 % varia nce
of the IWTC. Adjusted R2 = 0.10 5, which means that IFO can explain 10.5% variance of IWTC after excluding
the influence of the number of the independent variables.
The study investigated the impact of international posture on IWTC. The results showed that Chinese students
held a medium to high le vel of internationa l posture. T he international po sture and its t wo factors (IFO & AAT)
hold significant positive relationship with IWTC, which means the higher a Chinese student’s international
posture is, the more willingne ss he has to initiate an intercul tural co mmunicatio n with the foreigners. Among the
four factors of the international posture, only the factor of IFO entered the regression model. The IFO can ex-
plain 10.5% variance of the IWTC, which shows the significant predicative power of IFO. Hence, Chinese col-
lege students’ IFO ca n sig nifi cantly predict their IWTC. On the other hand, it also means that the IWT C can be
explained by many other variables since there is nearl y 90% var ianc e whic h has not b een e xplai ned. I WTC i s a
very complex variable and has many influencing factors such as the intercultural communication confidence,
communication anxiety, communication apprehension, ethnocentrism and communication competence, etc.
Therefore, to investigate the relationship between the IWTC and other influencing factors will be the focus of
the future s tudi es.
Our research was built on Yashima’s (2002) study of the relationship between the Japanese college students’
international posture and their willingness to communicate in English. Yashima’s study demonstrated the sig-
nificant po sitive relatio nship be tween inter national po sture and L2 W TC. Eve n if the IW TC is some what differ-
ent with t he L2 W T C, the C hi nes e s tud e nt s ’ i nt er c ult ur al commu nic at ion is ma i nl y co nd u ct ed b y use o f Engl is h.
Therefore, our study wil l furt her exte nd the r esult o f Yashi ma’s study. As Yashima (2002) said, it was not sur-
prising that the more internationally orientated an individual was, the more likely he was to be willing to com-
munica te in Engli sh. S uch t ende ncy has also been proved in the IWTC with the Chinese college students as the
In addition to the extension of the subjects, o ur study also further investi gated which factor of the internation-
al posture could predict students’ IWTC. The multiple line ar regression results strongly pointed out the impor-
tance o f cult i vat i ng st ud en t s’ inter cul t ura l fr iends hi p o r ie nta tio n in E ngl i s h lea r nin g. I n a co nte xt o f C hi na wher e
there is not much daily conta ct with native speakers of English, learners are not likely to have a clear affective
reaction to the exact L2 language group; however, attitudes toward English cultures can be created through edu-
cation and exposure to media. Yashima (2002) indicated that E nglish see med to represent a certain media in the
minds of young Japanese learners. For many learners, English symbolizes the world around China, something
that connects them to foreign countries and foreigners with whom they can communicate by using English.
Therefore, the factor of intercultural frie ndship or ientation (such as the item of “stud y English will allo w me to
know various cultures and people”) in English learning strongly suggests students’ affective attitude to the fo-
reigners and the English community. Those students who have high scores in IFO surely hold strong positive
Table 2. Regression analysis bet we en the internation al postur e and IWTC.
R R2 Adjusted R2 F change B Beta t Sig.
IFO 0.332 0.110 0.105 20.084 6 2. 998 0.332 4.482 0.000
Note: F = 20.084; p = 0.000; IFO: International Friendship Orientation in English learning.
G. Ulu et al.
affective attitude towards the foreigners and the English community, therefore, it was not surprisingly to find
their hig h IWTC.
When the individual holds a high level of international posture, it is likely that he has strong interest in the
foreign affairs, his purpose of learning English is also oriented by making friends with foreigners which will
help him to initiate the intercultura l communicatio n. Such results corresp ond to the study of Gareis et al. (2011)
in which the inter c ultural friendship has a positive re la tionship with willingness to c ommunicatio n.
The results of this study accentuate the importance of international posture in the globalizing society through its
positive relatio ns hip with the I WT C. W hat is more, I FO (int ercultural frie ndship or ientatio n i n English lear ni ng)
can significantly predict students’ IW TC. Such re sults sho w that the hig her a stud ent ’s IFO is, the hig her I WT C
he ha s .
The limitation of our st udy is that we onl y focus on one influenci ng factor of IW TC. Since internatio nal po st-
ure only demonstrates one dimension that will influence the IWTC, the further research can co ntinue to exp lore
the other dimensions such as ethnocentrism, intercultural apprehension, intercultural communication confidence,
intercultural co mmunication ability, and intercultural communication anxiety, etc. Those further researches can
help understand t he nature of being fully competent in initiating the inter cultural co mmunication bette r.
Despite of the above-mentioned limitation, our study provides further evidence to confirm that international
posture can help students initiate their intercultural willingness to communicate. People influence each other in
the process of communication. Intercultural communication is the sharing and construction of meaning through
interaction with those fro m other countries. In the teaching of English, we can help stude nts to strengthen their
IWTC by fostering their international posture, especially their intercultural friendship orientation in English
learning. With the guide of strong international p osture, students will be more willing to enga ge in the intercul-
tural communication which can expand their communicative repertoires and make the construction of shared
meaning easier. IWTC involves readiness to initiate the process of intercultural communication, which will
hopefully lead to mutual understanding and trust.
This article is funde d by the 12th 5-year major project in 2013 of the Educational Science Department of Hubei
Province, China (Project Name: study on Chinese college students’ willingness to communicate from the eco-
logical persp e c tive; project number: 2013A106).
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