Employee Competencies of Taiwanese International Trade: Perceptions of Practitioners and Educators

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Judith E. Beauford


Francis Boakari


Jack Davis


Drastic changes related to globalization and the special relationship with China have brought new challenges to Taiwanese international trade. These new challenges have led to the need for a new set of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and abilities. To address this need, this study developed a profile of international trade competencies, including generic and professional ones to improve the quality of the international trade workforce by narrowing the gap between the competency needs of the industry and the competency supply provided by university education, particularly focusing on technological vocational education. To identify this gap, this quantitative study investigated and compared the perceptions of 420 Taiwanese international trade employers, 402 employees, and 157 technological-vocational university educators. Researcher-developed survey instruments were compiled based on Taiwanese literature in the business field and the "International Business Competencies in Taiwan" instrument (Wang, 2000) as well as were reviewed by 12 Taiwanese international trade experts. By employing the comparison analyses, including independent-samples /-tests, one-way ANOVAs, as well as one-way and factorial MANOVAs, the results revealed different perceptions between participant groups. Generally, employers perceived generic competencies more highly than did educators. Of the generic competency factors, both employer and educator groups valued Personal Qualities the most. Of the professional competency factors, employers rated International Finance and Marketing as the most important, while educators placed greater emphasis on Importing/Exporting Practices. A survey of employees indicated that, on average, they were not satisfied with university education in developing either generic or professional international trade competencies. This finding affirmed that the gap between employment and education was so serious as to be worthy of attention. Furthermore, the results of canonical correlation analyses revealed certain complementary relationships between generic and professional competencies in both employer and employee surveys. This exploratory discussion may provide educators and job trainers with a better picture in designing their curriculum and teaching activities. Based on the findings of the study, a competency-based industry-government-academia partnership is suggested to find potential solutions to current problems in Taiwanese technological-vocational education and to develop the international trade competencies further. Additional research is needed to explore which items should be added to help complete the profile of international trade competencies.

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