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The effects of cross-cultural training on the acculturation process of the global workforce

Zakaria, Norhayati (2000) The effects of cross-cultural training on the acculturation process of the global workforce. International Journal of Manpower, 21 (6). pp. 492-510. ISSN 0143-7720

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Cross-cultural training is fast becoming a recognizably important component in the world of international business. This paper discusses the effectiveness of cross-cultural training in facilitating the process of acculturation, and in developing the culture-specific and culture-general skills needed to increase the sociocultural and psychological adjustments of sojourners and expatriates when they encounter a foreign culture.A new cross-cultural training model is created by integrating acculturation and training effectiveness models.This new model suggests that providing two different types of training program prior to cultural contact will help recipients to effectively modify existing culture-general and culture-specific skills.As a consequence, they will achieve a higher degree of sociocultural and psychological adjustment.Experiential training should trigger affective and behavioral responses, which are the basis of intercultural effectiveness skills, and thus enhance psychological adjustment.By contrast, cognitive training should trigger cognitive responses, especially cultural awareness and interpersonal skills, and enhance sociocultural adjustment.The globalization of markets, increased diversity of the workforce, and use of Third World nationals by transnational organizations have made issues of training important in the remainder of this decade (Bhagat and Prien, p. 216). Globalization and aggressive foreign direct investment, combined with domestic restructuring, have dramatically changed the workforce of many companies.As the world gets ``smaller'', more and more people are spending time living and working away from their home country, giving rise to greater face-to-face contact among people from very different cultural background (Brislin, 1981).Globalization not only requires the adoption of a cross-cultural perspective in order to successfully accomplish goals in the context of global economy; but also needs a new and higher standard of selection, training, and motivation of people (Bhagat and Prien, 1996). As a result, cross-cultural training is fast becoming a recognizably important component in theworld of international business.Cultural differences exist at home and abroad but, in many cases, international interaction creates problems, since people are separated by barriers such as time, language, geography, food, and climate.In addition, peoples' values, beliefs, perceptions, and background can also be quite different. For instance, in business scenarios, the expectations for success or failure may differ, which can be very frustrating and confusing to sojourners and expatriates.Intercultural differences influence international business in many ways.For example, consider the matter of punctuality or the time factor.In some cultures, e.g. the Germans, Swiss, and Austrians, punctuality is considered extremely important and lateness is not tolerated. By contrast, in other European and Latin American countries there is a different, somewhat``looser'' approach to time with some degree of tolerance for lateness. Sojourners or expatriates who lack sensitivity or awareness of this ``time'' orientation can make severe interpersonal blunders, and then need cross-cultural training to avoid culture shock.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cross-cultural management, Globalization, Acculturation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: College of Business
Depositing User: Mrs. Norazmilah Yaakub
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2012 13:25
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2012 13:25

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