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Cross Cultural Program

At EduAsia our Cross-Cultural training programs are designed to:
Build awareness in cross-cultural differences between your culture and your target local culture.
Effective Cross-cultural communication skills
Gain insight into their behavior at work
Anticipate misunderstandings conflicts and discriminatory situations  
Understand the local culture decision-making, communication, negotiation and leadership styles.
Use the appropriate tools for working and managing successfully in a multicultural environment.

Cross Cultural Training in Thailand

Introduction and Need:
Over the last 30 years, globalization of world economies has increased rapidly and a large number of multinational companies have emerged.  This economic integration is not limited to capital goods, information or technology, the internationalization of the human workforce has become a center point for organizations looking to expand to overseas markets.  This increase in organizational diversity creates many problems for both the local labor as well as the expatriate management.  

Expats often face social and cultural challenges which are unique can be troublesome.  These challenges often result in early return from an overseas assignment which results in costly reassignment for the companies involved.  Littrell and Salas (2005) claimed that up to 50% quit or return prior to accomplishing their assigned tasks.  Additionally, over half of those that do not return early function below their normal level of productivity (Deshpande, 1992). As said, these early returns are not only detrimental for individuals and families, they also cost the multinational corporations involved.  The direct cost per company has been estimated to be as high as US$150,000 per employee.  For US firms alone this adds up to nearly 2 billion USD annually.  Cross cultural training has been suggested as a necessary vehicle to facilitate cross-cultural behavior and management and therefore decrease the number of unsuccessful or unproductive expatriates.

Defining the Course:
Broadly defined, cross cultural training is the use of human resources to facilitate knowledge and develop or increase certain skills in a multicultural environment.  This educative process focuses on promoting intercultural learning through the acquisition of behavioral, cognitive and affective competencies required for effective cross-cultural interactions.  This is not limited mannerisms or understanding expectations of polite behavior.  Success requires developing empathy and the ability to think and act differently.  This essentially means the development of an attitudinal change as opposed to simply acquiring information from a lonely planet guide on Thailand.

Purpose and Composition of the Course:
The overall purpose of this course is to improve the probability of success for the employees on a foreign assignment.  The main objectives I would like to introduce expatriates to are the importance of culture and its effect on behavior, the development of skills and knowledge needed for cross-cultural adjustment and importance of individual self maintenance in regard to physical, interpersonal and cognitive skills.  An important goal of this training is aiding the expats in learning how to learn from a new perspective.  This focus on continued learning and self-development is required to understand and adapt to a unforeseen events or changing conditions which should be expected in any new environment.  

 Specific Components:
1)  Didactic Training:  Involves the factual information of the nation,  population, labor law or working conditions, traditions, values, the role of the monarchy and cultural differences and is considered the most basic first step in acculturation.
2)    Attribution Training:  Designed to help expats understand the meaning of host national behavior.  This is important as it is commonly assumed that misunderstandings and failures of communication are commonly caused by perceptions of events.  The expats will learn how judge behavior based on its’ causes and possible explanations from a new perspective.  The focus on ‘isomorphic attributions’, which is learning how and why employees of the host culture make attributions about a variety of events so that the expat becomes able to make the same attributions and begins to see from the local perspective.  Some necessary elements within this section of training include:
a.    Power distance
b.    Collectivism vs individualism
c.    Uncertainty avoidance
d.    Masculinity and femininity (hard vs soft management)
e.    Greng-jai
f.     High vs low context communication styles
g.    The importance of sanook
h.    Patriarchy from a Thai perspective

3)    Behavior Modification Training:  This is designed to promote the development of habitual behaviors desired in the host culture.  Expats will be taught how they can avoid inappropriate behavior and how to show rewarded or encouraged behavior within the host culture.  This is primary done through visualization and discussion

4)    Experiential Training:  This refers to learning by doing. The course will include the involvement of Thai nationals who role-play various situations which often cause cross-cultural conflict.  Expat trainees will at first observe and then interact and become the ‘Thai’ in the role-plays.  This is the primary method of learning appropriate behavior and the use of Thai ‘actors’ within each session gives the necessary reality which is missing in the majority of training sessions offered today.