Cultural Training for Expatriates

1 January 2017

As soon as an employee is chosen for an overseas position, cross-cultural training turn into a key step in the process of preparation for the desired foreign effectiveness. Cross-cultural training is considered the primary instrument for supporting successful cross-cultural interaction and dealings.. The training is presented to an organization after a decision has been made to send an employee or a manager abroad for an overseas assignment, as a tool that promises a higher adjustment level to the foreign culture.

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Cross-cultural training is repeatedly credited as one of the main reasons behind the success of the overseas mission due to its coverage of personal, social, and intercultural aspects that highly influence the performance of the expatriates’ internationally. For an average person to reach an appropriate stage of cultural proficiency in a new country it is usually a process that requires a long period of time, yet by providing cross-cultural training to the expatriate, that period can be significantly reduced.

Being exposed to a foreign culture can be a big change to the expatriate, which is the reason why they need a personal and a professional action plan rich with a high level of details to aid them in managing that change properly, and hopefully achieve the goals of the assignment that they were sent to accomplish. One huge addition that trainees will gain after the completion of the cross-cultural training would be the realistic expectations regarding their new lives in the foreign country and their modified jobs in the host organization.

This is considered an incentive to conduct a cross-cultural training for both the expatriate and the home organization, due to the fact that realistic jobs expectations are generally directed to higher job satisfaction and eventually, lower job turnover rate. The training will help the expatriate manage the level or the chance of experiencing a culture shock during the assignment, as well as reducing his stress levels which will outcome in boosted coping abilities, and will be reflected on their self-confidence and general attitude.

When being exposed to a new culture and forced to interact within it, a person’s uncertainty level might increase and present incompetency in handling unexpected events. Cross-cultural training helps the expatriate overcome such and similar possible issues by teaching the expatriate how to channel cultural differences excellently Cross-cultural training assists the expatriates to maintain their interpersonal relationships with the host country locals and defines their perception regarding the new culture and its norms, beliefs, values, and traditions.

A typical cross-cultural training should be able to provide the expatriate with a realistic sense of the size of change that they, their family, and their friends are about to go through. Not only does the cross-cultural training educates the expatriate about their day to day lives in a host country and develops their communication skills, but also it teaches the trainees about how that specific new culture will be reflected in the economic data, the political actions, and the social behavior.

By viewing the professional duties that an expatriate has primarily traveled to fulfill, the training should provide them with the necessary skills to grow a good understanding of how business is normally conducted in the host culture and what the job responsibilities exactly are. The most effective pre-departure cross-cultural training would be designed and implemented allowing the expatriate to manage his professional responsibilities in a new working environment in addition to supporting them through their adaptation to change and the recent cultural differences that they might be exposed to.

The professional element in the cross-cultural training for expatriates educates and richly informs them on how to be aware and conscious of the different influential cultural factors on social relationships, management preferences and systems, strategic long-term planning of the host organization, and the general nature of the business situation in this specific new country.. Thee cross-cultural training should skill the trainees with the analytical ability to recognize the intercultural differences and the proper interpersonal tools to reconcile these differences in order to reach the highest level of overseas effectiveness possible.

Overall, a well-designed and implemented cross-cultural training will facilitate the adjustment of an expatriate to a host culture and accelerates it, therefore leading to the growth of chances of the assignment’s success. Importance of Cross-Cultural Training for Home Organizations Nowadays, cross-cultural training is increasingly being conducted as a staffing practice in international human resources management. The training activity has been viewed as a main tool to enable a smooth transition from a home based management style to a culturally appropriate management style.

It is crucial for the employees and more importantly executives who are working in an expanding organization, to have a well understanding of the nature of the culture that they will be directing in. Furthermore, the globalization marathon has been increasing the number of cultural contacts and potential for international expansion has been rising, and it would be considered bright for companies to recognize these opportunities and aim at gaining a competitive edge.

Hence, the need for an effective and valuable cross-cultural training program is experiencing an increased importance due to the need to compete in the current evolving domain of mergers and acquisitions. For a corporation to be able to operate a successful business venture within a foreign country, the management needs to realize firstly the distinctive cultural differences between what they are quite familiar with, and what they are about to expand into.

Researchers have been evaluating the cross-cultural performance in regards to whether the expatriate have remained in the host country for the whole scheduled period of time or whether they requested or were requested to an early return. It is agreed upon that if an expatriate completes their assignment successfully and have had a cross-cultural training before their departure to the host country, then a large main fraction of the credit goes to the effectiveness of the training. An expatriate may be ineffective, yet still continue with the assignment which in this case will lead to low performance evaluations.

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