Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics Theses

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Submitted to the Program of Organizational Dynamics, College of Liberal and Professional Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania

Advisor: Erek Ostrowski, PhD


This capstone examines the role of culture and cross-cultural competence in coaching relationships. The business world is becoming increasingly globalized, with workers interacting across geographic and linguistic and cultural differences. In addition, many American companies are actively diversifying their leadership teams, which increases cultural differences in C-suites and beyond. These individuals need to develop significant cross-cultural competence in order to effectively engage with one another. Coaches working with these diverse and globalized companies need to both develop their own cultural competency and grow their expertise in coaching others to develop cultural competency. In this study I engaged in intensive coaching with two Asian–American women, reflected on each of the coaching sessions, and analyzed the content of the sessions as well as my reflections. My findings include the following: Aspects of a coach's culture influence how they perceive and engage with a client; aspects of a client's culture influence how they perceive and engage with a coach; clients and coaches make assumptions about each other based on a number of factors, including race; and the identities of coaches and clients are expressed and negotiated through stories. This capstone raises many interesting questions for future examination, including what strategies can be deployed beyond awareness of cultural differences and building more inclusive coaching models.



Date Posted: 02 November 2022