Developing International Personas: A new intercultural communication practice in globalized societies

Iben Jensen, Heidi Hautopp, Lene Nielsen, Sabine Madsen

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Personas have become a popular method in new product development. Personas have traditionally, and are still, primarily created to represent users from a single national culture at a time during the design process. This, however, is unsatisfactory for companies operating on a global market as they show an increasing interest in international personas. However, research on personas in a global context is limited. To address this gap, this paper provides an overview of extant research on international personas. Secondly, it presents an empirical study on challenges Danish IT companies experience when using the persona method to collect and present insights about their international users. A key finding in both the literature review and the empirical study was the ambiguity concerning the concept of culture. Therefore, the paper draws on theories about culture, and especially practice theory, to discuss how challenges related to perceptions of culture and intercultural communication might be overcome when working with international personas. In particular, it is suggested that the persona method could benefit from creating narratives that focus more on the similar practices enacted by international users and less on perceived differences in national culture.
Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalJournal of Intercultural Communication
Issue numberMarts 2017
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • personas
  • practice theory
  • globalization


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