Skip to Content
OpenStax Logo
Principles of Management

6.5 Cross-Cultural Assignments

Principles of Management6.5 Cross-Cultural Assignments
Buy book
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Managing and Performing
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 What Do Managers Do?
    3. 1.2 The Roles Managers Play
    4. 1.3 Major Characteristics of the Manager's Job
    5. Key Terms
    6. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    7. Chapter Review Questions
    8. Management Skills Application Exercises
    9. Managerial Decision Exercises
    10. Critical Thinking Case
  3. 2 Managerial Decision-Making
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 Overview of Managerial Decision-Making
    3. 2.2 How the Brain Processes Information to Make Decisions: Reflective and Reactive Systems
    4. 2.3 Programmed and Nonprogrammed Decisions
    5. 2.4 Barriers to Effective Decision-Making
    6. 2.5 Improving the Quality of Decision-Making
    7. 2.6 Group Decision-Making
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Chapter Review Questions
    11. Management Skills Application Exercises
    12. Managerial Decision Exercises
    13. Critical Thinking Case
  4. 3 The History of Management
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 The Early Origins of Management
    3. 3.2 The Italian Renaissance
    4. 3.3 The Industrial Revolution
    5. 3.4 Taylor-Made Management
    6. 3.5 Administrative and Bureaucratic Management
    7. 3.6 Human Relations Movement
    8. 3.7 Contingency and System Management
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Chapter Review Questions
    12. Managerial Decision Exercises
  5. 4 External and Internal Organizational Environments and Corporate Culture
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 The Organization's External Environment
    3. 4.2 External Environments and Industries
    4. 4.3 Organizational Designs and Structures
    5. 4.4 The Internal Organization and External Environments
    6. 4.5 Corporate Cultures
    7. 4.6 Organizing for Change in the 21st Century
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Chapter Review Questions
    11. Management Skills Application Exercises
    12. Managerial Decision Exercises
    13. Critical Thinking Case
  6. 5 Ethics, Corporate Responsibility, and Sustainability
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 Ethics and Business Ethics Defined
    3. 5.2 Dimensions of Ethics: The Individual Level
    4. 5.3 Ethical Principles and Responsible Decision-Making
    5. 5.4 Leadership: Ethics at the Organizational Level
    6. 5.5 Ethics, Corporate Culture, and Compliance
    7. 5.6 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
    8. 5.7 Ethics around the Globe
    9. 5.8 Emerging Trends in Ethics, CSR, and Compliance
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Chapter Review Questions
    13. Management Skills Application Exercises
    14. Managerial Decision Exercises
    15. Critical Thinking Case
  7. 6 International Management
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 Importance of International Management
    3. 6.2 Hofstede's Cultural Framework
    4. 6.3 The GLOBE Framework
    5. 6.4 Cultural Stereotyping and Social Institutions
    6. 6.5 Cross-Cultural Assignments
    7. 6.6 Strategies for Expanding Globally
    8. 6.7 The Necessity of Global Markets
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Chapter Review Questions
    12. Management Skills Application Exercises
    13. Managerial Decision Exercises
    14. Critical Thinking Case
  8. 7 Entrepreneurship
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 Entrepreneurship
    3. 7.2 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs
    4. 7.3 Small Business
    5. 7.4 Start Your Own Business
    6. 7.5 Managing a Small Business
    7. 7.6 The Large Impact of Small Business
    8. 7.7 The Small Business Administration
    9. 7.8 Trends in Entrepreneurship and Small-Business Ownership
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Chapter Review Questions
    13. Management Skills Application Exercises
    14. Managerial Decision Exercises
    15. Critical Thinking Case
  9. 8 Strategic Analysis: Understanding a Firm’s Competitive Environment
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 Gaining Advantages by Understanding the Competitive Environment
    3. 8.2 Using SWOT for Strategic Analysis
    4. 8.3 A Firm's External Macro Environment: PESTEL
    5. 8.4 A Firm's Micro Environment: Porter's Five Forces
    6. 8.5 The Internal Environment
    7. 8.6 Competition, Strategy, and Competitive Advantage
    8. 8.7 Strategic Positioning
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Chapter Review Questions
    12. Management Skills Application Exercises
    13. Managerial Decision Exercises
    14. Critical Thinking Case
  10. 9 The Strategic Management Process: Achieving and Sustaining Competitive Advantage
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 Strategic Management
    3. 9.2 Firm Vision and Mission
    4. 9.3 The Role of Strategic Analysis in Formulating a Strategy
    5. 9.4 Strategic Objectives and Levels of Strategy
    6. 9.5 Planning Firm Actions to Implement Strategies
    7. 9.6 Measuring and Evaluating Strategic Performance
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Chapter Review Questions
    11. Management Skills Application Exercises
    12. Managerial Decision Exercises
    13. Critical Thinking Case
  11. 10 Organizational Structure and Change
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 Organizational Structures and Design
    3. 10.2 Organizational Change
    4. 10.3 Managing Change
    5. Key Terms
    6. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    7. Chapter Review Questions
    8. Management Skills Application Exercises
    9. Managerial Decision Exercises
    10. Critical Thinking Case
  12. 11 Human Resource Management
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 An Introduction to Human Resource Management
    3. 11.2 Human Resource Management and Compliance
    4. 11.3 Performance Management
    5. 11.4 Influencing Employee Performance and Motivation
    6. 11.5 Building an Organization for the Future
    7. 11.6 Talent Development and Succession Planning
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Chapter Review Questions
    11. Management Skills Application Exercises
    12. Managerial Decision Exercises
    13. Critical Thinking Case
  13. 12 Diversity in Organizations
    1. Introduction
    2. 12.1 An Introduction to Workplace Diversity
    3. 12.2 Diversity and the Workforce
    4. 12.3 Diversity and Its Impact on Companies
    5. 12.4 Challenges of Diversity
    6. 12.5 Key Diversity Theories
    7. 12.6 Benefits and Challenges of Workplace Diversity
    8. 12.7 Recommendations for Managing Diversity
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Chapter Review Questions
    12. Management Skills Application Exercises
    13. Managerial Decision Exercises
    14. Critical Thinking Case
  14. 13 Leadership
    1. Introduction
    2. 13.1 The Nature of Leadership
    3. 13.2 The Leadership Process
    4. 13.3 Leader Emergence
    5. 13.4 The Trait Approach to Leadership
    6. 13.5 Behavioral Approaches to Leadership
    7. 13.6 Situational (Contingency) Approaches to Leadership
    8. 13.7 Substitutes for and Neutralizers of Leadership
    9. 13.8 Transformational, Visionary, and Charismatic Leadership
    10. 13.9 Leadership Needs in the 21st Century
    11. Key Terms
    12. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    13. Chapter Review Questions
    14. Management Skills Application Exercises
    15. Managerial Decision Exercises
    16. Critical Thinking Case
  15. 14 Work Motivation for Performance
    1. Introduction
    2. 14.1 Motivation: Direction and Intensity
    3. 14.2 Content Theories of Motivation
    4. 14.3 Process Theories of Motivation
    5. 14.4 Recent Research on Motivation Theories
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    8. Chapter Review Questions
    9. Management Skills Application Exercises
    10. Managerial Decision Exercises
    11. Critical Thinking Case
  16. 15 Managing Teams
    1. Introduction
    2. 15.1 Teamwork in the Workplace
    3. 15.2 Team Development Over Time
    4. 15.3 Things to Consider When Managing Teams
    5. 15.4 Opportunities and Challenges to Team Building
    6. 15.5 Team Diversity
    7. 15.6 Multicultural Teams
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Chapter Review Questions
    11. Management Skills Application Exercises
    12. Managerial Decision Exercises
    13. Critical Thinking Case
  17. 16 Managerial Communication
    1. Introduction
    2. 16.1 The Process of Managerial Communication
    3. 16.2 Types of Communications in Organizations
    4. 16.3 Factors Affecting Communications and the Roles of Managers
    5. 16.4 Managerial Communication and Corporate Reputation
    6. 16.5 The Major Channels of Management Communication Are Talking, Listening, Reading, and Writing
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    9. Chapter Review Questions
    10. Management Skills Application Exercises
    11. Managerial Decision Exercises
    12. Critical Thinking Case
  18. 17 Organizational Planning and Controlling
    1. Introduction
    2. 17.1 Is Planning Important
    3. 17.2 The Planning Process
    4. 17.3 Types of Plans
    5. 17.4 Goals or Outcome Statements
    6. 17.5 Formal Organizational Planning in Practice
    7. 17.6 Employees' Responses to Planning
    8. 17.7 Management by Objectives: A Planning and Control Technique
    9. 17.8 The Control- and Involvement-Oriented Approaches to Planning and Controlling
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Chapter Review Questions
    13. Management Skills Application Exercises
    14. Managerial Decision Exercises
    15. Critical Thinking Case
  19. 18 Management of Technology and Innovation
    1. Introduction
    2. 18.1 MTI—Its Importance Now and In the Future
    3. 18.2 Developing Technology and Innovation
    4. 18.3 External Sources of Technology and Innovation
    5. 18.4 Internal Sources of Technology and Innovation
    6. 18.5 Management Entrepreneurship Skills for Technology and Innovation
    7. 18.6 Skills Needed for MTI
    8. 18.7 Managing Now for Future Technology and Innovation
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Chapter Review Questions
    12. Management Skills Application Exercises
    13. Managerial Decision Exercises
    14. Critical Thinking Case
  20. References
  21. Index
  1. What steps can you take to be better prepared for cross-cultural assignments?

At some point in your career, you are very likely to be asked to be involved in cross-cultural operations. You may encounter employees from other countries in the local company you work for, or your company may send you to another country to run international operations. When these situations arise, you will need to be prepared to manage cultural differences. In this section, we discuss some of the things companies and individuals can do to better prepare for cross-national differences.

One of the goals of any cross-cultural training is to increase an employee’s cultural intelligence. Cultural intelligence refers to “individuals’ capabilities to function and manage effectively in culturally diverse settings.”21 The culturally intelligent manager is someone who can operate without difficulty in cross-national settings. Recent research suggests that cultural intelligence is made up of four dimensions:

  • a cognitive dimension, focusing on the individual’s knowledge of values and practices inherent in the new culture acquired through education and personal experiences
  • a meta-cognitive dimension, which reflects an individual’s ability to use cross-cultural knowledge to understand and adapt to the cultural environment they are exposed to
  • a motivational dimension, which reflects the ability and desire to continuously learn new aspects of cultures and adapt to them
  • a behavioral dimension, based on the ability of the individual to exhibit the appropriate forms of verbal and nonverbal behaviors when interacting with people from another culture

To give you more insights into the cultural intelligence measure, Table 6.9 provides some representative statements used to gauge a person’s understanding of these four dimensions of cultural intelligence various aspects of cross-cultural interactions.

Cultural Intelligence Statements
Based on Jacob Eisenberg, Hyun-Jung Lee, Frank Bruck, Barbara Brenner, Marie-Therese Claes, Jacek Mironski and Roger Bell, "Can business schools make students culturally competent? Effects of cross-cultural management courses on cultural intelligence," Academy of Management Learning and Education, 2013, Vol. 12, pp. 603-621.
Metacognitive
  • I am conscious of the cultural knowledge I use when interacting with people with different cultural backgrounds.
  • I am conscious of the cultural knowledge I apply to cross-cultural interactions.
Cognitive
  • I know the legal and economic systems of other cultures.
  • I know the cultural values and religious beliefs of other cultures.
Motivational
  • I enjoy interacting with people from different cultures.
  • I enjoy living in cultures that are unfamiliar to me.
Behavioral
  • I change my non-verbal behavior when a cross-cultural interaction requires it.
  • I alter my facial expressions when a cross-cultural interaction requires it.
Table 6.9

Cross-Cultural Training through Education and Personal Experience: Low and High Rigor

Current research suggests that cross-cultural training can influence cultural intelligence. At a basic level, you can acquire cultural intelligence by taking classes in your program. Research has shown that taking cross-cultural management courses can enhance cultural intelligence.22 For example, in a study of 152 MBA students, researchers found that cultural intelligence of the students increased after they took a cross-cultural management course. In another longitudinal study, researchers found that study abroad has significant impact on the cognitive and metacognitive aspects of cultural intelligence. How do multinationals approach cross-cultural training? The above provides examples of low-rigor training, in which individuals are exposed to critical information to help them understand the realities of a different culture but are not actively and directly engaged with the culture.23 In such cases, instructors transfer basic information and knowledge to students through lectures, books, and case studies.

Low-rigor training has several important disadvantages. Participants often just receive information; they learn that differences exist but do not necessarily learn how to deal with cultural differences in a real-life situation. Furthermore, cross-cultural differences can be very subtle and nuanced, and this method cannot expose participants to such nuances. Balancing these significant disadvantages is one key advantage: low-rigor training tends to be the most cost effective.

Companies can also rely on high-rigor methods of training, in which participants are actively engaged in the process and can learn some tacit aspects of cross-cultural differences.24 Examples of high-rigor training include classroom language training, case studies, and sensitivity training. High-rigor training also includes more experiential approaches such as role-playing, simulations, and field experiences. Some MNCs (multi-national corporations) also offer on-the-job training, during which employees are coached and trained while working at their jobs. This method allows the trainee not only to see the new culture, but also to learn how that culture interacts with the work environment. The advantage of this method is that it enables the participant to be much more actively engaged in learning, thereby facilitating transfer of knowledge. But as you might have guessed, high-rigor training is much more expensive to provide.

Which method works best? Experts agree that it depends on the nature of the assignment. Longer and more complex international assignments benefit from higher-rigor training.25 Furthermore, because international work assignments tend to be more short-term in nature, ways to enhance the metacognitive aspects of cultural intelligence are necessary.26 Today, because more managers tend to have more frequent but shorter assignments to international companies, having metacognitive skills is critical. As a result, brief lectures or other low-rigor methods that simply provide information may be useful in helping develop the cognitive aspect but not metacognition. In such cases, high-rigor methods that allow participants to be much more actively engaged with a culture will work well.

When Should Cross-Cultural Training Occur?

Another important aspect of cross-cultural training is the timing of the training. Some multinationals offer predeparture cross-cultural training, which provides individuals with learning opportunities prior to their departure.27 Such training can take the form of 1- to 12-week programs, although two- to three-day programs are also very popular. After such training, the expatriate has a good understanding of expectations, what the local culture looks and feels like, and how to manage any local shocks when they arrive. This approach also makes individuals about to go to another country less anxious about the unknown.

Multinationals will also often opt for postarrival cross-cultural training, which occurs after an expatriate has arrived in the foreign country and can address issues in “real time.” Armed with local cultural knowledge and training, the expatriate can delve into work issues without worrying about daily living issues.

Recent research provides evidence of the utility of cross-cultural training. For example, a recent study of 114 expatriates showed that both predeparture and postarrival training had positive effects on several aspects of their success.28 Specifically, in a study in Vietnam, the findings show that both predeparture and postarrival training positively impacted the ability of expatriates to adjust to their work and general environment. Additionally, such training was also effective in enhancing the ability of expatriates to better interact with locals. The researchers also examined the impact of language training. Not surprisingly, expatriates who received training in the local language were better able to adjust to local interaction than others.

The above study shows that both predeparture and postarrival training are important for success in cross-cultural management. While the study shows that it is most effective for MNCs to provide more than one type of training, the findings also show that postarrival training has the most impact on the types of cross-cultural adjustment. While companies tend to shy away from the more expensive postarrival training, the study suggests that the investment may be worthwhile if it enables expatriates to succeed.

Best practices advise that the optimal time for predeparture training programs is around three to five weeks prior to the international assignment. Training provided too far ahead of time may not be very effective because the expatriate may not activate all learning readiness and may forget the training if it occurs too far ahead of the assignment. Best practices also suggest that postarrival training is best delivered 8 to 12 weeks after arrival. This allows the expatriate to experience cross-cultural interaction and phenomena and to be better ready to gain the most from the training.

Adapting Behavior to the Culture

A final issue that managers need to address is that the training should not focus only on identifying and teaching about differences.29 Experts agree that this focus on differences is a problem in current cross-cultural training approaches. While identifying and understanding cultural differences is useful and necessary, trainers often don’t provide guidance as to how the participants should adapt and react to such cultural differences. It is therefore necessary for the multinational to take the necessary steps to teach cross-cultural sojourners to adapt their behaviors so that they act and react in culturally appropriate ways. Experts also suggest that such training should not be static and limited to web pages or documentation. Training should be integrated with the actual work that the employee is engaging in.

Concept Check

  1. How should training to manage cultural and regional differences occur?
  2. How should training for cross-cultural assignments be implemented?
Citation/Attribution

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book is Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/principles-management/pages/1-introduction
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/principles-management/pages/1-introduction
Citation information

© Jan 21, 2020 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.