ABSTRACT: Understanding the values, attitudes and behaviors of people in various countries is the key to knowing how to do business with them. So often, we take for granted that everyone’s culture is similar to ours. To help companies gain a competitive advantage in the global marketplace by understanding and learning about other cultures, training organizations, such as Windham International, offer cross-cultural training. With this type of training, work can go more quickly and smoothly and companies avoid costly mistakes.
Cross-cultural and intercultural training, a marginal idea 30 years ago, has boomed into mainstream acceptance in the past 10 years with international businesses tapping into a large and sometimes expensive array of cross and intercultural training programs for their employees. Trying to do international business without prior cross-cultural training is a recipe for disaster. When organizations become cross-border entities, cross-cultural factors start affecting every aspect of the business. Whether in multi-cultural teams or in business interactions, the variants of cultural nuances eventually end up affecting the business.
The report deals with the following:
- Globalization and its effects.
- Culture and its elements.
- Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
- Designing training program
The trend of globalization is providing opportunities for Indian firms to reach foreign markets. The business model of many upcoming industries like the information technology sector is dependent heavily on the foreign markets. This increases the need of professionals working in foreign cultural settings. The merger and acquisition activity especially the cross-border acquisitions have reached much higher levels. The trend of acquisitions is not only restricted to the new sectors like Information Technology, Telecom and Business Process Outsourcing, but core sector companies like Manufacturing and Mining (For Example: Sterlite group acquiring mines in Australia) have observed spurt in such activities too.
The sheer size of certain deals in the range of 200-300 Million dollars indicates global aspirations of the Indian firms. The Pharmaceutical companies have widened their reach in world market with examples like Ranbaxy and DRL having presence in many countries. The globalization dreams present a new challenge for the Indian firms; the challenge to develop competent managers who would be able to work in new environments efficiently and will act as a bridge between the parent company and its subsidiaries. The globalization will also bring new employees to the Indian firms, the ones with different origin, language and national culture adding complexities to the culture of Indian organizations. The firms thus need to develop systems and processes not only to train managers for expatriate assignments but also to handle cultural diversity. This task can be achieved by well designed cross-cultural training programs which will help employees in coping up with the stress and cultural shock while dealing with a new culture.
The need for cross-cultural training will be for both: Indian expatriates and employees dealing with expatriates of other origins. The cross-cultural training will also be required for the Indian companies getting into Business Process Outsourcing as the clients belong to culturally different environments. Working effectively in cross-cultural context is becoming vital competence for aspiring managers. The report attempts to define the possible sources of cross-cultural differences, its impact on business practices, competencies required for the expatriates, evolution of cross-cultural training, issues to be considered while developing cross-cultural training, different ways of training the employees and examples of a few countries to provide a birds eye view.