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There are different ways in which people learn and hence on the basis of this to achieve the optimum benefit from cross cultural training; we have to provide combination of training techniques. These cross cultural methods varies from individual to individual. The order in which an individual can get maximum results is supported by some hypotheses (Bhawuk et al., 2006).
The people who are unable to emotional and sensitive are known as marginalisers. They find it difficult to manage emotional stress when dealing with different culture. To accept the new cultural values and norms as well as to maintain their own cultural values is quite difficult for marginalisers. Hence, counselling is necessary for marginalisers before providing any cross cultural training. Counselling helps in reduction of anxiety and hence for marginalisers we need to start with intercultural training first. After providing the brief about the new culture, we should give cognitive cross cultural training so that marginalisers understand the reason behind their experience of cultural; problems. . Once they have become emotionally stable, and have acquired the necessary cognitive framework to deal with cultural differences, then we could provide behavioural training so that they can start changing their behaviours, and learning new behaviours that are culturally appropriate. Thus, for marginalization strategy we should use first affective, then cognitive, and finally behavioural training approaches. We should also use smaller differences to increase awareness, which is consistent with Bennett's recommendation (Bennett, 1986).
The people who prefer to learn more about different culture by means of separation strategy, we should use cognitive cross cultural training first to give them a mental framework to deal and manage cultural issues. Once they gain desired framework, we can help them learn behaviours and attitudes to enhance their learning. The understanding of new behaviours and attitudes help them in receiving support and encouragements from the members of the new culture. Once they start developing a network by interacting with people of the dominant culture, they could be provided training to deal with the emotional issues. Thus, it seems appropriate to start with a cognitive training for those who are using the separation strategy, then use behavioural training, and finally provides affective training. (Salzman, 2008).
Those who are using the assimilation strategy are ready to change, and eager to learn new behaviours. Starting with behavioural training in this case may help the learning motive of these people. Thus, it may be best to start with behavioural training so that the participants feel the trainers are responsive to their needs. Once the trainees are making good progress in learning new behaviours, they should be provided with cognitive training so that they can develop a framework to appreciate cultural differences. Finally, they can be provided with affective training to help them deal with the emotional issues of sacrificing one's cultural values to completely assimilate in the dominant culture.
The people who are using integration strategy, they are likely to think about new cultural traditions and norms by means of acculturation. So, it is best to start the training program with discussion to help them further develop their framework. After that, we should provide behavioural training so that they able to challenges their thoughts regarding new culture and at the same time start interaction with new culture to maintain adequate balance between the two. Next, affective training should be provided to help them in managing the tough emotional issues related to cultural differences. Affective training could address the core of their values as this group of people is likely to be ready to confront themselves with serious questions pertaining to their values and adaptation.
It should be noted that the training strategies for people adopting separation or integration modes of acculturation are in the same sequence, whereas the strategies for marginalization and assimilation are exactly the opposite. Interestingly, in all phases except for marginalization, the affective strategy is recommended to be the last to deal with, especially since it does require some preparation to deal with emotional issues. It seems that integration would be the ideal acculturating strategy since it goes beyond tolerance of other cultures, and people are likely to become bicultural or multicultural in their thinking and being. It may not be ethical to advise people to move toward integration, but hopefully, with cognitive, affective, and behavioural training given in the right sequence, people would descend toward the integration mode, which would help foster multicultural societies.
Benefits of cross cultural training:
Cross cultural training aims to develop awareness between people where a common cultural framework does not exist in order to promote clear lines of communication and better relationships.
Cross cultural training has many benefits to be gained by both participants and businesses. For participants in cross cultural training, the ten major benefits are:
People Learn About Themselves: By means of cross cultural training, people are exposed to facts, assumptions and information about their own cultures, preconceptions, mentalities and worldviews which otherwise would remain unknown throughout the life. This type of training provides a framework or mirror to people to learn and react on the basis of evidence to learn about themselves through learning about others.
Encourage Confidence: Cross cultural training promotes self-confidence in individuals and teams through empowering them with a sense of control over previously difficult challenges and problems that they find it difficult to manage in the past.
Break down Barriers: All of us have certain barriers such as preconceptions, prejudices and stereotypes that block our understanding of other people. Cross cultural training helps people in clarifying the new culture with aim of enhancing their knowledge. When people start learning about new cultures, they tend to lower down the barriers in order to open themselves for more open relationships and dialogue.
Build Trust: When people able to reduce their barriers, they able to understand new culture and their members in wider context that results in building trust. Once trust is established, humanistic tendencies help in enhancing the co-operation among the multicultural team members and thus results in productive workplace.
Motivate: After undergone through process of cross cultural training, people start understanding their job duties and responsibilities more clearly in the workplace. By self-analysis, people able to find out areas in which they need to learn and acquire skills that will help in building their career further. While working with multicultural teams, they become motivated and strive hard to gain recognition.
Open Horizons: Cross cultural training addresses problems in the workplace at a very different angle to traditional methods. Its innovative, alternative and motivating way of analysing and resolving problems helps people to adopt a similarly creative strategy when approaching challenges in their work or personal lives.
Develop Interpersonal Skills: Through cross cultural training participants develop great people's skills that can be applied in all spheres of life. By learning about the influence of culture, i.e. the hidden factors upon people's behaviours, those who undertake cross cultural training begin to deal with people with a sensitivity and understanding that they may lack in the past.
Develop Listening Skills: Listening is an integral element of effective and productive communication. Cross cultural training helps people to understand how to listen, what to listen for and how to interpret what they hear within a much broader framework of understanding. By becoming good listeners, people naturally become good communicators.
People Use Common Ground: In the workplace people have a tendency to focus on differences. When cross cultural communication problems arise the natural inclination is to withdraw to opposing sides and to highlight the negative aspects of the other. Cross cultural training assists in developing a sense of mutual understanding between people by highlighting common ground. Once spaces of mutual understanding are established, people begin to use them to overcome culturally challenging situations.
Career Development: Cross cultural training enhances people's skills and therefore future employment opportunities. Cross cultural awareness gives people a competitive edge over others especially when applying for positions in international companies with a large multi-cultural staff base.
Bennett, M. J. (1986). A developmental approach to training for intercultural sensitivity. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 10, 179-195.
Bhawuk, D. P. S., Landis, D., & Ho, K. (2006). Acculturation and intercultural training: An integrated theoretical framework. In D. Sam & J. Berry (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of acculturation psychology (pp. 504-524). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Salzman, M. (2008). Globalization and religious fundamentalism. Paper prepared for delivery at the Fellows Day Program at the 5th Biennial Conference of the International Academy for Intercultural Research, July 9, 2007, Groningen, The Netherlands.