Marie-Hélène Budworth

Associate Professor of Human Resource Management, specializing in learning, development & motivation.

Marie-Hélène Budworth

Cross cultural training

May 8th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Over the last few days I have been preparing an invited response to a paper on cross cultural training.  The authors investigated the relationship between goal orientation, cultural intelligence, and cross cultural adjustment.  It was an interesting piece of work – with some limitations, but you can read the specifics in the paper when it is published. 

Cross cultural training in general is an interesting area of study.  A wide range of organizations prepare employees for assignments abroad through training programs that may include elements of language training, cultural awareness, and business practices.  The extent to which these programs are effective is still debated.  The literature agrees that there are some people who manage the adjustment to new contexts better than others.  Cultural intelligence predicts adjustment.  In other words, individuals who have an awareness of the ways in which culture may vary adjust to new countries more easily than those who lack this awareness.  This is not surprising, but it is helpful to know that a construct such as cultural intelligence exists. 

Similarly, people with a learning orientation are better at adjusting when placed on international assignment. Individuals with learning orientations view the world as a series of opportunities for challenge.  In contrast, individuals with a performance orientation view events as a chance to show others what they can do.  Performance oriented people believe that ability is static – you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  Again, it is not surprising that learning oriented people would adjust better in new situations but it is nice to have some knowledge of the dimensions upon which people differ that can predict performance outcomes. 

Yet another application for individual differences in cognitive skills and learning orientation!  It is amazing how useful these constructs are for predicting performance across a range of settings. 


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