Importance of Cross Cultural Awareness

To succeed in global business, professionals need to understand and appreciate cultural values, practices and the various nuances in different parts of the world, making cross-cultural awareness and training more important than ever.

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Jul 26, 2017
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To succeed in global business, professionals need to understand and appreciate cultural values, practices and the various nuances in different parts of the world, making cross-cultural awareness and training more important than ever.

Cross-Cultural Training

Cultural training fosters the development of cross-cultural skills and leads to higher performance of employees working on overseas assignments. Cultural training has also been shown to improve an individual’s relationships with host nationals and allows expatriates to adjust more rapidly to a new culture. While there are a variety of training techniques, successful cross-cultural programs can include:

  • Basic information about the assignee’s host country, including its history, common religions, political structure and recent events
  • Behavior adaptation to learn how to handle situations in a different culture
  • Local business etiquette
  • Communication techniques
  • Training on cultural biases, cultural variances and cultural profiles
  • Role play and simulations
  • Customized training for the employee and his or her family

Why Cultural Training Is Important

While not a comprehensive list, five factors have been identified as providing valuable insights into the cultural practices of different countries. Assignees need this information in order to better understand cultural similarities and differences while on an international assignment. The five dimensions of national culture include:

  1. Individualism vs. collectivism – social framework in which people look after their own interests or embrace a societal view
  2. Power distance – extent to which a society accepts the unequal distribution of power
  3. Uncertainty avoidance – the extent to which a country’s population seeks orderliness, consistency, structure, formalized procedures and laws
  4. Masculinity vs. femininity – the extent to which a culture emphasizes or accepts either the traditional masculine role or the blurring of gender roles
  5. Time orientation – value placed on time

Cross-cultural training will provide expatriates with a starting point for the preparation of working overseas, addressing cross-cultural communication and cross-cultural conflict resolution.

Check out the full white paper, the Importance of Cross-Cultural Awareness, to learn more. 

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SIRVA

SIRVA is a leading partner for corporations to outsource their mobility needs, relocating and moving their executives and staff globally.

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