Intercultural group work (IGW) is a valuable learning strategy to enhance deep learning and prepare university students to participate in a globalized world, so more insight is needed into what motivates students to engage actively in IGW. Using an expectancy–value theory framework, this study investigates the extent to which the different components of this theory (i.e., self-efficacy, perceived benefit, and perceived cost) relate to each other and contribute to student engagement in IGW. Responses to a questionnaire, gathered from 846 bachelor’s students from six universities in the Netherlands and Canada, reveal that strong self-efficacy for IGW, high perceived benefit of IGW, and low perceived cost of IGW correlate. In structural equation modeling analyses, self-efficacy and emotional cost emerge as important predictors of behavioral and cognitive engagement; intercultural benefit is critical for cognitive engagement. As a prerequisite of cognitive engagement, behavioral engagement also mediates the effects of self-efficacy, costs, and benefits. Therefore, developing students’ self-efficacy, increasing perceived benefits of IGW, and decreasing perceived costs of IGW can promote student engagement and deeper learning. Universities thus should prepare students for IGW and provide support and feedback during group work process. Based on the results, we theorize about the relationships among the components of the expectancy–value theory.
- Expectancy–value theory
- Intercultural group work
- Internationalization of higher education
- Student engagement