The Lincoln University of Pennsylvania (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Page: 6321 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
This training model was designed at the request of a multinational corporation that is acutely mindful of the impact of cultural sensitivity and the importance of raising awareness as a preventive to barriers that impede successful business interactions. It provided the framework for an accelerated course delivered in Chihuahua, Mexico for a Mexican corporation that acquired substantial interests in the United States. This course, in cross cultural awareness, was designed to mitigate possible cultural barriers they might have had in both the Chihuahua and American manufacturing plants. The endeavor was atypical since the Mexicans are frequently hired to manage and operate a” maquiladora” plant. However, the Americans were hired as employees in management positions such as engineering, finance and accounting, materials management etc., to work in Mexico.

The major concerns of the company’s executives were:
(1) the Americans needed Spanish to function in daily life and the workplace, and
(2) they needed to have a shared, cultural understanding of expectations in the workplace with their Mexican counterparts.

The 2rd concern was paramount among executives, making the acculturation process of the Americans into the Chihuahua community a critical focus for overall success.

Addressing these concerns, a two-part agenda with cultural and linguistic components made up two, full-day training sessions in the City of Chihuahua where the Americans were being relocated. The agenda for Part I focused on the Americans and consisted of power point presentations, management topics comparing and contrasting U.S./ Mexican practices, and language “centers” to prepare participants in functional Spanish. Other relevant activities were also provided.

For part II, participants joined the Mexican executives for a collaborative workshop on A.C.A.T (Accelerated Cross-Cultural Awareness Training) where they were challenged with typical cultural dilemmas to resolve as mixed teams. This activity revealed, through surveys, that the Mexican hosts, who enjoy the journey, and the Americans, who enjoy the destination, were grateful for the opportunity to be able to interact openly about cultural concerns and stereotypical behaviors. They agreed that this activity opened up communication and allowed them to work towards the same goals of mutual, quality productivity with a shared perspective on creating a cordial and respectful, bicultural/bilingual work environment.

The American ex-patriots expressed that the variety of methods, materials and topics created an interesting cultural visual which gave them a sense of confidence and familiarity in their new surroundings. Moreover, they recognized that because of the A.C.A.T. training, their time abroad would be a positive, life-changing event both personally and professionally.

The framework for this model will be shared as well as other various aspects of its application. Some of these include formulating an agenda, identifying a language component, synthesizing cultural information, focusing on logistics, forming/hiring training team, and other resources and activities that supported its overall success.
Cross cultural awareness in the workplace.