Research

In my research work I focus on applied aspects of the area of intercultural, organisational and social psychology.

Central subject areas:

  • Intercultural competence
  • Team-effectiveness
  • Migration and conflicts in multicultural societies

 

Intercultural Competence

Intercultural comptence in German-Polish cooperation
Since there is almost no high-quality training material for the German-Polish context to date, our German-Polish team systematically developed training modules for German-Polish intercultural training seminars which are constantly tested practically and evaluated. Thanks to its success, this material is applied in teaching at universities as well as by trainers in industry.
The training video "Agnieszkas Referat/Presentation"
 can be purchased from me.

International Time and Stress Study
In this highly comprehensive cross cultural study (> 5500 participants) under the direction of Prof. R. Bhagat (University of Memphis), teams of employees from 14 countries were tested for cultural differences concerning time-understanding, handling of stress and individual work organisation. I personally coordinated the German data collection at the University of Regensburg. The measuring instrument was adapted to accommodate the relevant culture and various German global companies agreed to participate in the study. The study gives interesting and helpful insights for international organisations. It reveals the extent to which the implementation of standardised working processes is subject to cultural interpretation. The results have been published 2012.

Leonard, K.M., Cosans, C., & Pakdil, F., Schmid, S. et al.  (2012). Cooperation across cultures: A 16 country review of the concept.  International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Volume 36, Issue 2, page 238-247.

Country-specific studies
Studies are conducted on a series of countries in order to attain a scientific explanation for cultural differences, and to develop top-quality up-to-date training material based on it. A multitude of German specialists and executive staff with experience in various countries are interviewed according to the cultural standards method. The problematic situations these people have experienced are analysed and evaluated by bicultural experts to find out the central cultural differences which constantly emerge between the two countries. These situations and their explanations are used as central components of my practical and action-oriented intercultural training seminars.
For Great Britain and Turkey we published the results of the studies in the form of a “teach yourself” training programme. They were published by Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht in the successful series of books called „Beruflich in...“:

„Beruflich in der Türkei“ (2007) Appl, C., Koytek, A., Schmid, S. (revised 2nd edition2016)

„Beruflich in Großbritannien“ (2003) Schmid, S., Thomas, A. (revised 2nd edition 2016)

review of "Beruflich in Großbritannien" in the journal „Organisationsentwicklung“ (PDF)

Reality and innovation in European exchange programs
On behalf of the Alfred Töpfer Stiftung F.V.S. and the Institute for Cooperation Management (IKO) we took stock of the current European Youth exchange programs offered and carried out a scientific evaluation of them. We pointed out innovation potential and gave examples of possible improvements. Detailed information regarding the results can be found at:

Thomas, A., Utler, A., de Ponte, U., Schmid, S. (2008): „Realität und Innovation in der europäischen Begegnung." Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht

Teameffectivness

Synpro – effectiveness in teams
In the research project directed by Dr. Patricia Simon the quality of the teamwork and the results of real-life project teams were diagnosed in real-life team sessions using the simulation software and the analysis system Synpro. Based on this analysis specifically tailored team trainings were developed and conducted with the project teams to enhance their effectiveness. The following evaluation shows that with the help of targeted training seminars, both an improvement in the team atmosphere and an increase in effectiveness could be achieved.

 

Migration and conflicts in multicultural societies

Development and implementation of training programs
In cooperation with the Diakonie of Bavaria, the Islamic representative of the Protestant Church and IKO (Institute for Cooperation Management) we developed and implemented a curriculum for the training programs “Intercultural Competence in Counselling of Asylum Seekers” and “Intercultural and Interreligious Mediator” for counsellors and members of the clergy, each program consisting of eight modules. The evaluation, which took place six months after the end of the program, not only showed an increase in competence on the part of the participants, but also a plethora of new programs and events in the organisations of the participants which were a direct result of the training programs. The results were presented during various symposia and published as book chapters:
Schmid, S. (2011) Interkulturelle Trainings im Dienste der Integrationsförderung. In Dreyer,W. & Hößler,U. (Hrsg.) Perspektiven interkultureller Kompetenz. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Verlag: Göttingen

Schmid, S. (2007) Intercultural training is coming home. Anwendung interkultureller Forschung in einer multikulturellen Gesellschaft. In I. Koall, F. Höher & V. Bruchhagen Diversity outlooks LIT-Verlag: Münster

 

Intercultural conflict dynamics in an immigration society - the example of Germany
How do young Germans and Germans with Turkish roots think about successful integration in Germany? How do they react in everyday situations that are handled differently in Germany and Turkey? How do they think about each other?
These questions are the focus of an encompassing study about the roots of intercultural misunderstandings in the multicultural society of Germany. Based on interviews and a questionnaire survey, it is shown that integration is not only a question of attitudes of the people involved, but strongly depended on their social and cultural competence. 
The behaviour of Germans and Germans with migrational background can't be distinguished in most everyday situations - however the evaluation of the situations often mirrors the different biographical background. Only in few aspects the migrants' offspring made clear that they differ from the Germans with their individualistic life-concept. And exactly theses aspects seem to be relevant indicators for Germans for the Migrants' willingness to integrate.
These and other research on migration and refugees can be fund in the following publications:

 Schmid, S. & Utler, A. (2015) Therapeutische Angebote für Flüchtlinge - Projekt TAFF - Zwischenbericht. Stiftung Welten verbinden. Nürnberg

Schmid, S. (2010) Integration als Ideal - Assimilation als Realität. Überzeugungen von jungen Deutschen und türkischstämmigen Migranten über ein Leben in Deutschland. Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht unipress: Göttingen

Schmid, S. (2008) Interkultureller Dialog und Migration. Psychologische Analyse eines angespannten Dialogs. In A. Thomas (Hrsg.) Psychologie des interkulturellen Dialogs. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Verlag: Göttingen

Utler, A., Schmid, S., Thomas, A. (2007) “Migrants’ perceptions of the host society and the relationship with their acculturation orientation - examined at a Turkish sample in Germany” Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management, Vol.5.