This paper is an argumentative essay that argues that post-departure training is equally important as pre-departure training in multicultural environments.
As globalization continually increases, different nations are removing trade barriers between them, and international corporations commonly referred to as Multinational Corporations have expanded their operations to various markets (Reiche et al., n.d.). In recent years, the overall number of employees or assignees who are deployed to perform their duties outside their native countries has increased and become split according to assignment direction, length, initiative, or scope of their assignment. With this trend of continued expansion, a lot of cross-border relations and interactions, as well as routine adjustments between the assignees become necessary. Assignees undergoing these multicultural transitions will inevitably experience various lifestyle changes (Choo, n.d.). This paper is an argumentative essay that argues that post-departure training is equally important as pre-departure training in multicultural environments.
Assignees are individuals deployed by multinationals to work in a different country to that of the parent company. Such individuals can be plagued with social complications and difficulties associated with adjustment to new environments. Failure to address these issues, the assignees could fail in their mandate which will extend to a reduction in the performance of the organization. Assignees are often faced with intercultural gaps, a difference in value systems, new mannerisms, different lifestyles, language barriers, techno-management skills, personal expectations, and ability to tolerate hardships (Choo, n.d.). International deployments are strenuous since the assignee has to undertake their new work obligation, learn to relate with people of other cultures effectively, work on conflicts and competing interests amongst the units of the corporation, and alterations in family lifestyle.
Cross-cultural training types
In order to ensure good job performance, quick readjustments, proper transfer of skill and learning as well as career retention and progression of the assignees, organizations need to undertake a support program which aims at augmenting the chances of success of the above-aforementioned dimensions (Choo, n.d.). Therefore, cross-cultural training involves processes that are aimed at facilitating determination of suitable cultural mannerisms and apt ways of undertaking work in the host nation by the assignee provide insights to deal with unpredicted occurrences hence reduce conflicts, and also build realistic expectations amongst the assignees. Therefore, cross-cultural training can be well-defined as interventions aimed at enhancing the knowledge, expertise, and competencies of the assignees so that they can operate efficiently in their newly allocated environments (Reiche et al., n.d.).
Generally, training interventions can be done either before departure (pre-departure) for preparation or after departure (post-departure) during their actual work. Corporations sometimes offer training even before the assignee accepts the deployment, for instance, organizing look and see tours to the new location. Various types of training could either be categorized as pre-departure, post-departure or as both. They include didactic, experiential, attribution, linguistic, culture awareness, interactions, modification of cognitive mannerism, and sequential training. Attribution, culture awareness, and modification of cognitive mannerisms are exclusively done in the pre-departure stages (Österdahl & Hånberg, 2009). The rest of the types of training are a combination of both pre-departure and post-departure depending on how and when they are administered.
Many corporations pay little attention to the importance of the role the host corporation in the provision of on-site training for the assignees as well as the requisite support the employees of host corporation would provide to the assignees (Suutari & Burch, 2001). Post-arrival training helps as the assignees continue to encounter many unprecedented events in the new location. Post-departure training is important especially since the host unit of the assignee has a good knowledge of the new environment, culture, and values of the locals. This is because host unit employees will be very professional in the advice they will offer the assignees. Post-departure thus compensates quick relocation.
Local mentorship, a practice of post-departure training is where coaching of assignee when they are at work in the international platform is done and can only be administered through post-arrival training (Suutari & Burch, 2001). This is where a mentor can aid the assignee with explicit information on the socioeconomic context of the host country. This ensures that the assignee is helped immediately they meet a new difficult situation. Post-departure training gives the coach the ability to accord training without having to be there physically by using technology. The local mentorship post-departure training increases the competence of the assignee on the local management roles and is vital when the assignee is formulating responsive local strategies.
Post-departure training of assignees enables them to gain a great capability in recognition of cultural parities and disparities, enhances comprehension of the need to get knowledge on the local culture, the values, and principles. This will enable the assignees to develop apt behaviors that facilitate intercultural learning and interaction which will in turn help assignees in adjustment and assignment-related performance. For instance, a post-departure culture awareness training that centers on assignment-related responsibility and giving attention to the norms and mannerisms system of the host country makes the assignee to gradually become aware the gravity of cultural difference on the work-roles and behaviors of the people in the host corporation and nation at large (Hurn, 2007). Therefore, they will not try to impose the culture developed at their home country on the foreign nation. Such post-arrival training also acquaint the assignees with the requisite sexual-related behaviors.
Post-arrival language training increases the persistence of learning and readiness to merge into the host nation’s community life by the assignee which helps them remove communicational barriers and enables the host employees to easily merge into the required performances (Ko & Yang, 2011). In fact, if post-departure training is done by one of the local staff at the host country, chances are that a successful business relationship will be formed and the other local employees will be more than willing to constantly try and communicate with the assignee since they are sure that the gesture will be appreciated by the assignee. This will gradually increase fluency in the local language which will have successfully helped in bridging with the local subordinates (Chen & Chang, 2016).
Post-departure training helps adjustment to the new work environment since whilst some training seminars organized by the company may not exactly fit the situation of an assignee, it will enable them to co-opt the strength of the new information and apply them appropriately to their situations. This will boost the assignees’ assignment performance. Post-departure training acquaints the assignee with awareness of the local regulations and laws which helps in avoiding troubles with the local authority (Reiche, et al., n.d.). Post-departure training also helps in understanding how to deal with the local authorities or how certain legal processes are undertaken in case of a requirement for example how to apply and win a court proceeding.
Post-departure didactic processes provide detailed facts on repatriation to the assignee which makes the assignee aware of any eventuality (Österdahl & Hånberg, 2009). Post-departure experiential training such as attending a workshop with fellow employees of the host corporation provides a cognitive preparedness to the assignee as they get to form the real picture of the environment they are in (Österdahl & Hånberg, 2009). As many would argue, people can only learn well by experiencing a situation and making a few mistakes, therefore, only post-departure training can give assignees this kind of experience since it gives them the ability to address vital issues on their own as they will be able to see an occurrence, interpret it and respond to it aptly.
Post-departure training that is personalized to meet the particular needs of the assignee helps to develop their cultural skills and competencies. Post-departure training also offers the ability to access the adjustment degree of the assignee. Post-departure training starts by building cultural awareness then proceeds to stratagems aimed at overcoming shocks, unfamiliar situations, and unmet expectations (Puck et al., 2008). This helps the assignee gain confidence within their new location, therefore, meeting their expected roles as well as meeting their own needs. However, the shortcoming of post-departure includes withdrawal, failure to ever adopt, and the resignation of the assignee.
It is important to note that for effective multicultural training, the assignee’s characteristics in terms of cultural intelligence as well as strengths and weaknesses, the nature and complexity-level of the work requirement, and cultural disparity between the assignee’s culture and the host country’s culture are important. Pre-departure training is very vital in acquainting assignees with requisite information that will ensure a smooth transition in the new country (Allianz, n.d.). Post-departure training helps in generating culture-specific knowledge which helps assignees who will be assigned specific localities, therefore, rendering post-departure very advantageous.
Some researchers recommend pre-departure training arguing that anticipatory adjustments enable assignees to get accurate data on the appropriate behavior (Martins & Tomé, 2015). Early preparations, they argue, enables the assignee to easily adjust to the new environment and improves their multicultural skills which boost a corporation’s international performance. Pre-departure training leads to anticipatory preparations and adjustments help in decreasing uncertainties and anxiety related to deployment by providing the assignee with accurate information (Pessala, n.d.). Some researchers argue that training an individual before the actual relocation is less precise and detailed since the assignees are void of specific experiences concerning the training which could lead to stereotyping (Puck et al., 2008). Other researches have also described it as ineffectual or damaging.
Interaction training which is post-departure is very important in effecting cross-cultural training as well as motivating the assignee to take part in training since it offers an authentic cultural concept (Pessala, n.d.). Language training is a prerequisite for acquainting the assignee with basic common courtesies which should be done in pre-departure. In order to overcome culture shock, post-departure training is accorded to the assignee as well as experiential training to properly instill mannerisms and cultures of the host.