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over 3 years ago by Elk Recruitment
Cultural Knowledge

For Multinationals, expatriates and lone workers through the advancement
of transport,communication, Information technology and reduction in flight
costs in travelling abroad in recent times, taking a post in a foreign country or
conducting business across foreign borders is a feasible growth opportunity
for some and unfortunately a financial necessity for others. For the individual,
whether you’re a practitioner of management, engineering, medicine,
manufacturing, education or construction, your country of origin’s current
economic situation need not be the be all and end all in determining the
financial stability of your family or indeed be an over ruling factor in
preventing your career advancement prospects.

However, as easy as it may seem to get on a plane and start in a new company
abroad, it has been identified through various studies driven by the growth in
international business, that there is a need for cross cultural training.  Working
in a foreign environment can be a difficult experience and a study by Buckley and
Brooke in 1992 suggests that failure rates of the expatriate to be high for a variety
of different reasons from both a professional and personal standpoint.  Expatriate
failure can also have a negative monetary impact on the company, for instance it
is reported that failure rates of expatriates has a reported $2 billion per year
negative impact on US multinationals.

Globalisation is here and now and having an impact on everyday business.  Modern
managers at some point in their career may work abroad, but the skills required to
manage abroad in a multicultural setting are extremely important.  You can study
in advance theories on cross cultural management from theorists such as Hofstede,
Schwartz, Trompenaars or R House but quite simply my advice would be before you
go, take some time to learn as much about the culture and people as possible,
contact colleagues on the ground and they will advise how best to adapt and what
to expect when you get there, rest assured things will be very different.