آموزش بین فرهنگی، خوداثربخشی مقیم خارج و تنظیمات برای تکالیف خارج از کشور: تحقیقات تجربی از مدیران در آسیا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|26284||2009||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Volume 33, Issue 4, July 2009, Pages 277–290
This paper presents the findings of an empirical study that investigated the relationship between cross-cultural training (CCT) effectiveness, self-efficacy, and adjustment of expatriate managers in Asia. Responses of 169 managers from four different national backgrounds, all currently on overseas assignments in Asia, indicate that the relationship between CCT effectiveness and adjustment is mediated by an increase in self-efficacy. Implications of the findings for professional practice and for future research are discussed.
Expatriate development is increasingly becoming an important Human Resource Development (HRD) issue for MNCs and international organizations (Osman-Gani & Tan, 2005). One of the major determinants of expatriate performance effectiveness is how well they adjust themselves to function appropriately in the host culture. Previous research has found that between 16 and 40% of all expatriate managers (mostly American) return prematurely from their overseas assignments due to their poor performance or failure in cross-cultural adjustment (Baker & Ivancevich, 1971; Black & Mendenhall, 1991; Dunbar & Ehrlich, 1986; Tung, 1981). While there is an increasing acceptance that failure rates might not be as high as originally claimed (Daniels & Insch, 1998; Foster, 1997; Harzing, 1995 and Harzing, 2002; Harzing & Christensen, 2004; Insch & Daniels, 2002) it is still accepted to be an important issue. This is even more so, if the concept of expatriate failure is also to include expatriates who stay on their international assignment but perform below expectations (e.g., Black & Gregersen, 1999; Fukuda & Chu, 1994; Harvey & Wiese, 1998). Although estimations of the costs of expatriate failure tend to vary widely and are not based on a fixed set of criteria (GMAC et al., 2002, GMAC et al., 2003, GMAC et al., 2005a and GMAC et al., 2005b) they likely cannot be neglected by organizations (Gregersen & Black, 1990; Waxin, 2004). As the cost associated with under-performance is likely to be even higher (Harzing & Christensen, 2004), it is crucial to identify the ways to reduce and eliminate such failures. Cross-cultural adjustments of expatriates and their families were found to be the most significant factors in this regard (Black, Mendenhall, & Oddou, 1991; Insch & Daniels, 2002; Shaffer, Harrison, & Gilley, 1999). Academic researchers as well as corporate management of multinational enterprises (MNEs) are searching for ways to address this issue from various perspectives, such as how to facilitate the cross-cultural adjustment. In the adjustment process of overseas assignment, cross-cultural training has long been advocated as a medium to facilitate effective cross-cultural interactions (Bhawuk & Brislin, 2000; Black & Mendenhall, 1990; Brislin & Yoshida, 1994; Chemers, 1969; Deshpande & Viswesvaran, 1992; Landis & Bhagat, 1996; Landis & Brislin, 1983; Tung, 1981). Furthermore, as international companies begin to compete more intensively in the global market, the role of cross-cultural training becomes increasingly crucial (Bhagat & Prien, 1996). Nevertheless, the practice of cross-cultural training is not yet pervasive in most organizations. The most prevalent reason cited by organization for not offering such training is that they perceived that such training is not effective (Baker & Ivancevich, 1971; Black & Gregersen, 1999; Mendenhall & Oddou, 1985; Osman-Gani, 2000). To contribute to the knowledge on how cross-cultural training increases expatriates’ adjustment, we argue in this paper that cross-cultural training facilitates adjustment through an increase in expatriates’ self-efficacy. Higher self-efficacy reduces the perceived uncertainty in cross-cultural interactions which in turn leads to better adjustment. Self-efficacy has been shown to be related to cultural adjustment (Harrison, Chadwick, & Scales, 1996) but to our knowledge has not been linked to cross-cultural training. In conceptualizing self-efficacy explicitly as a dynamic rather than stable trait (Leiba-O'Sullivan, 1999) and showing how self-efficacy mediates the relationship between cross-cultural training and expatriate adjustment we therefore extend the work of Harrison et al. (1996). We develop a general conceptual framework that incorporates these ideas and take a first step in testing parts of the framework by surveying a sample of 169 expatriate managers. The study demonstrates the mediating effect of self-efficacy on the relationship between cross-cultural training and adjustment. The results have practical implications in that they highlight what makes particular types of cross-cultural trainings more effective than others. We also discuss needs for future research on cross-cultural training, self-efficacy, and adjustment of expatriates.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The main contribution of this study is in demonstrating that the positive effects of cross-cultural trainings on expatriate adjustment are due to an increase in self-efficacy as a result of the training. Although previous research (conducted in the west) has established the positive effects of cross-cultural training on adjustment (e.g., Black & Mendenhall, 1990) or occasionally linked self-efficacy to cultural adjustment (Bhaskar-Shrinivas et al., 2005 and Harrison et al., 1996) to our knowledge no study has linked the two processes. In doing so, this study not only adds to our understanding of the processes by which cross-cultural trainings effect expatriate adjustment but also has implications for the design of cross-cultural training programs by suggesting that effective training should target at enhancing self-efficacy of participants in dealing with the host-culture. As self-efficacy depends largely on past experience (Sherer et al., 1982) training programs that emphasize on experiential learning and incorporate specific work-related experience might be particularly useful. One unexpected finding was that self-efficacy was not related to general adjustment in our study. Although partially in line with the meta-analytic results by Bhaskar-Shrinivas et al. (2005), that found no direct relationship between self-efficacy and general adjustment, this result is still very surprising to us as general living conditions and environmental information should be the content of area briefings, the most basic form of cross-cultural training. One possible explanation for this finding might be that the majority of the expatriates were stationed in Singapore. Being a well-developed country, adapting to general living conditions might not pose a strong challenge for expatriates in this context. Like all studies, this study contains some inherent limitations that also need to be discussed. Most importantly, we must point out that all three variables studied in this paper (cross-cultural training; self-efficacy; and expatriate adjustment) are based on (a) a cross-sectional design and (b) reports from the same source – the self. Being a cross-sectional design, our data did not allow us to assess the degree of change in self-efficacy as a result of the cross-cultural training. Also, as Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee, and Podsakoff (2003) have pointed out, studies that rely exclusively on data from a single source tend to find inflated relationships. We thus cannot rule out that this created the appearance of mediation. Nevertheless our aim was mainly in exploring whether changes in self-efficacy would be a potential mechanism to explain the effects of cross-cultural training on adjustment. We think that our results are encouraging and recommend that future research investigate these effects using longitudinal design and data from multiple sources such as self and peers or supervisors in the host country. Second, we were not able to directly measure the training effectiveness using training evaluation methodology for different kinds of cross-cultural training due to the limitations in resources available for this study. However, we feel confident that the demonstrated mediation effect is substantial, and future research might elaborate on this finding by using more stringent measures of training effectiveness. Third, female expatriates are somewhat underrepresented in our sample possibly limiting generalization of our results. Finally, from the perspective of the company, the link to performance that is proposed to result from adjustment is most important as the costs of under-performing are likely to be severe (Harzing & Christensen, 2004). Future research should therefore include a link to performance in studies of expatriate adjustment as well. Valuable suggestions on how to include performance measures into the study of expatriate effectiveness come from Mol, Born, and van der Molen (2005) who argue convincingly: (a) that behaviorally specific criteria, such as those developed by Tett, Guterman, Bleier, and Murphy (2000) are essential to the adequate assessment of expatriate job performance and (b) that the dimensions of adaptive performance as developed by Pulakos, Arad, Donovan, and Plamandon (2000) and Pulakos et al. (2002) constitute an important subdomain of expatriate job performance. 6.1. Recommendations for professional practice Since cross-cultural training was found to have significant effect on expatriates’ self-efficacy and adjustment, it is important for the Human Resource Development (HRD) managers/professionals to plan, design, and implement relevant training programs considering various assignment issues and personal characteristics of the expatriates. It should be noted that there is no one standard type of training program that is proven effective for all types of adjustments. Therefore, HRD managers/professionals should consider most appropriate training programs when making decisions on intercultural/cross-cultural training programs for expatriates. More culture specific training programs may be developed to increase the expatriates’ level of self-efficacy for effective adjustments in overseas assignments. As evidenced from this study, in developing self-efficacy for effective adjustments, training programs should emphasize more on overseas acquaintance trips, cultural sensitivity training, culture assimilator/immersion and cultural orientation programs. The training content should emphasize more on socio-cultural factors, human resource and labor factors, and general management factors. It would be better to provide the training using a combination on-the-job training method, role play methods, and self-instructional training. Cross-cultural training programs should be planned for 1–4 weeks. Also, training may yield better results if it is provided internally by experienced company personnel, preferably by host country nationals or former expatriates. Companies may also consider selecting expatriates having relatively higher self-efficacy for adjustments in overseas assignments, since higher self-efficacy leads to better adjustment. 6.2. Recommendations for future research In this research, only expatriates from four countries were selected, namely Americans, Germans, Japanese and Singaporeans. Future research may consider expatriates from other countries since with the increased pace of globalization, more countries are having investments in other Asian countries. This research can be replicated in other Asian countries to identify the similarities and differences with these findings, and thereby attempt to develop a broader conceptual framework for Asia. Future research may also include other pertinent issues (such as effects of industrial sectors, organization size, organizational culture, etc.), in studying the effects of cross-cultural training programs that have not been covered in this paper. This will help supplement this research and hopefully provide more information to human resource managers in planning and designing more appropriate training programs and thereby help expatriates in adjusting to different cultural environments. In addition, more demographic factors (such as number of dependants, age of spouse and children, language proficiency, etc.) should be studied in future. It would also be interesting to study the responses from Human Resource managers/professionals/consultants, as well as non-managerial employees and identify their views on cross-cultural training, self-efficacy and expatriate adjustment. This research only studied the relationship between the three variables (cross-cultural training, self-efficacy and expatriate adjustment). The impact of these relationships among the variables on expatriates’ performance level could be studied in future. This is because the actual work performance of the expatriates in the host country could validate the relationship of the expatriates’ perceived level of adjustment with their performance level. Research might also include culture distance as an antecedent of adjustment as well as the effect of other personality factors on adjustment. As Caligiuri, 2000a and Caligiuri, 2000b has shown in her work, the big five personality factors are important antecedents of adjustment that should be studied further in their effects. Furthermore, the concept of cultural intelligence (Earley & Ang, 2003) might also be fruitful in this regard as it is conceptually linked to cultural adjustment and should also be influenced by cross-cultural trainings. Tolerance of ambiguity (Black & Gregersen, 1991) might moderate the relationship between self-efficacy and adjustment as the latter is expected to be due to a reduction in uncertainty. Also, as adjustment is defined as the level of psychological comfort in a foreign environment (Simeon & Fujiu, 2000) it would be conceivable that the relationship between adjustment and performance is moderated by knowledge of acceptable behaviors in the foreign environment (Harrison, 1994). Also, more in-depth studies might be conducted in future by using qualitative research method to add more insights to these research findings. Case-study research approach could also be used for examining the relationship between of self-efficacy and the degree of adjustment in order to give a much clearer picture of their relationships. Finally, since this is the first empirical study done for identifying the relationship between cross-cultural training, self-efficacy, and expatriate adjustment in Asia, hopefully this research will trigger more research interest in this area in future.