Cross Cultural Training

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-Ms. Sarika Kale


Globalization of business has led to cross border flows of physical, financial and human resources. It has resulted in both a large number of people working abroad, as well as an increasingly multi cultural domestic work environment. To face the ever growing competition, organizations are expanding their businesses, outsourcing and even establishing offices overseas. Organizations are not only searching the world for opportunities to sell or source but also to find intellectual capital- the world’s best talent and ideas. This brings new employees of different origin, language and national culture thus adding complexities to the culture of domestic organizations. Effective use of cross cultural teams can provide a source of experience and innovative thinking to enhance the competitive position of organizations. However, cultural differences often lead to misunderstandings, frustrations, cultural shock etc. These have to be tackled effectively if the benefits of a diverse and talented workforce are to be realized.

Another dynamic factor that brings about a cultural change within organizations is cross border acquisitions. Many domestic companies are entering foreign markets and signing merger deals. Other companies such as the ones in the IT sector have businesses which depend heavily upon foreign markets. This has necessitated the development of competent “global managers” who would be able to work in new environments efficiently and will act as a bridge between the parent company and its subsidiaries. Working effectively in cross-cultural context is becoming of vital competence for aspiring managers. Organizational research has shown that cross- cultural training mitigates or proactively guards against the frustrations, misunderstandings and culture shock often resulting from cross-cultural interactions that lead to poor adjustment and job performance. (Harris and Kumra 2000). This paper attempts to define the possible sources of cross-cultural differences and illustrate a failed cross cultural merger through a case study. It then goes on to highlight the cross cultural challenges and issues to be considered in designing cross cultural training.


1. To understand the influential factors that lead to cross-cultural differences. 2. To identify the key cross cultural challenges.
3. To identify issues to be considered while designing cross cultural training.


A literature survey was conducted to study the issue and its various implications. Information was gathered from various articles about cross cultural training. An opinion survey was conducted regarding key issues in cross-cultural training. A total of 10 professionals from large multinational organizations both in India and abroad responded to the survey between 1st and 30th November 2009. The responses were collected through interviews and telephonic conversations. This was a preliminary study, and the small size of the sample means that definitive conclusions cannot be drawn, but rather an indicative trend can be observed.

1. 10 respondents from 10 different companies responded to the survey. 2. Positions held within the organizations: Senior Management level 3. Organizations: Financial Services, Consumer Business, Construction, Manufacturing, Import and Export, Telecoms, Media and Technology 4. Size of Organizations: more than 1000 employees


Culture is a powerful force which plays an important role in how businesses are run and managerial decisions are made. Professionals in today’s multicultural global business community frequently encounter cultural differences which can at times interfere with the organizational working. The nature of international collaborations is such that professionals need to be aware of differing perspectives and...
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