A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Teaching Cross-Cultural Communication

4355 Words Jan 18th, 2011 18 Pages
A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO TEACHING CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION
Paul Kalfadellis Working Paper 34/05 May 2005

DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT WORKING PAPER SERIES ISSN 1327–5216

Abstract The ability of managers to interact with individuals from cultures other than their own, requires a concerted effort on the part of business educators and academics to ‘train’ and ‘educate’ today’s students and tomorrow’s managers in the area cross-cultural communication. This is not necessarily an easy task. Teaching cross-cultural communication requires a multidisciplinary approach, which goes beyond what is traditionally offered by trainers and educators. It requires the educator to design a course that includes not only culture-general but also
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The training helps contribute to people’s cross-cultural competency and enables them to develop an awareness of cultural difference (Gannon & Poon, 1997; Gudykunst, Ting-Toomey, & Wiseman, 1991; Milhouse, 1996). Black and Mendenhall (1990) suggested that cross-cultural training provides for positive outcomes in terms of people’s cross-cultural skill development, adjustment and performance. Cross-cultural training for expatriate managers was found to have a strong impact on cross-cultural skill development, adjustability and job performance (Deshphande & Viswesvaran, 1992). Gannon and Poon (1997), in a study of MBA students undergoing crosscultural training and education as part of their course, found that that cross-cultural training promoted cultural awareness and confidence on the part of students. This study confirms the general proposition that cross-cultural training increased people’s level of confidence in dealing with others of different cultural backgrounds (Milhouse, 1996).

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EDUCATION AND TRAINING: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? After World War II, a plethora of theories, research agendas and training methods developed to aid the cross-cultural sojourner which helped the development of cross-cultural communication as an separate discipline of study (Brislin & Yoshida, 1994; Milhouse, 1996). The
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