Exploration of Influence of Cultural Diversity on Motivation of Students in Higher Education

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1. An introduction to the research context

The research will be based on the topic of exploration of the influence of cultural diversity on the motivation of the students in the higher education levels in the UK by considering the case of the University of Bolton. The university is a public university situated in Bolton, UK and has more than 9000 students along with 700 academic staff (Bolton, 2020). The university has international students coming from more than 60 nationalities in the postgraduate and undergraduate courses that help the students to have exposure to an ethnically diverse culture (Bolton, 2020). The University of Bolton has a friendly culture as 25% of the students belong to ethnic minority communities The international students on the campus have the opportunity to be involved in many clubs in addition to the International Society.English is used as a common language for teaching in the university to minimise the language barriers among the students and promoting understanding.

Globalisation, high quality education and easy modes of transportation have made easier movement of people from one country to another across borders resulting in the presence of cross-cultural students across the educational institutions of nations (Altbach, 2015). It is important for the students to remain motivated during higher education for focusing on their assignments and gaining knowledge constantly for preparing themselves to attain their preferred profession and propel their careers in the direction they want. The motivation of students is important for enabling them to learn effectively and help them to retain information as well as participate in classroom activities.

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The research topic regarding the analysis of the impact of cross-cultural diversity on the motivation of the students of the University of Bolton is important as it eliminates the gap in research regarding establishing the linkage between cross-cultural diversity and motivation in higher education. The research topic is significant and justified as it has not been widely researched before and the gaps relating to the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation of the students giving higher studies will be evaluated with respect to exposure in a cross-cultural environment in the classroom.

2. Theoretical background of the research

Cultural differences are the distinct values and beliefs of individuals belonging to a specific ethnicity or country that sets them apart from the others. According to Stromquist & Monkman (2014), cross-cultural diversity provides valuable exposure to the students and enables them to understand the values and ideas of other cultures in addition to improving their cross-cultural abilities and communication. The integration of cross-cultural diversity in higher education provides important exposure to the students that enables them to hardness and idea of the external world and future workplace conditions. The cultural diversity of the students can be analysed by using the cross-cultural model of Hofstede as it presents an account of the six dimensions of national culture (Banks, 2015). The cultural dimensions model enables the identification of differences in beliefs and values of the individuals belonging to different cultures along with being useful for providing guidelines for managing such differences.

As per Kourova & Modianos (2013), motivation refers to the earth of an individual to perform a specific task or job with attentiveness. Motivation is an important aspect in the classroom as it determines the ability of the students to understand the knowledge and absorb it for application in the future. The motivation for learning can be classified into two kinds that are intrinsic and extrinsic.(David Kember, 2015 ) Intrinsic motivation for learning can be referred to as the situation when the students are already interested in learning and understanding a particular subject and has an internal motivation and driving force . Extrinsic motivation in the context of learning in the classroom for students occurs when factors like recognition or some kind of reward influence the students to participate in the class attentively. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory can be used as a parameter to determine the motivation levels of the students during higher education by evaluating their basic, psychological and self-fulfilment needs. The theory incorporates a five-tier model , which shows the requirements of humans in a pyramid format (Kourova & Modianos 2013) .The needs situated at the lower leverls are required to be fulfilled first.

A link has been discovered in a previous study between motivation and cultural diversity in the workplace as most of the people perceived the team and atmosphere as a main motivator(Laura Velten & Conrad Lashley (2018) )Most of the employees refer positively on the culture diversity but it can be related to the cultural competencies they has, including their ability for cross-cultural communication which is one of the main factors generating a different perception of cultural diversity (Odenwald (1996) There has been substantial research in the domain of motivation of the employees in the workplace and exposure to a cross-cultural environment but there is a gap in knowledge regarding how the students react to the cross-cultural environment during higher studies and how it impacts their motivation. This research will establish the association of cross-cultural diversity in educational institutions with the motivation of the students in higher education.

3. Research Question

The research question is as follows:

  • How cultural diversity impacts students’ motivation?

4. Research objectives


The research aims to explore the impact of cultural diversity on the University of Bolton students’ motivation


  • To critically review the literature concerned with cultural diversity and student’s motivation.
  • To highlight the cultural differences between students within the University of Bolton.
  • To explore the influence of the previous educational experience on the motivation of the students to learn and interact in the universities.


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