Merilee Karr

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies


Research is cross-cultural training is a young and growing field. The practitioners included in this research have yet to develop a comprehensive training based on needs or desired outcomes. Therefore the level of understanding for this growing area of human resources and increasingly important issue in global competition has yet to reach a point where managers can confidently justify the expense to the company. That is not to say that some companies do not see the need for this type of training, but without proper proof of the effectiveness of the expense, it is difficult to convince executives of its need. The IMF for example allocates money for consultants to conduct training workshops in the organization, but the employee responsible for the cross-cultural aspects of training can only allocate 20% of his time to this area. This is an organization employing people from over 140 countries. The reality is that the IMF is progressive in this area in terms of resource allocation. Over time and across industries the following facts have been consistent:

1. Only about 35% of U.S firms offer any pre-departure, cross-cultural, or language training for their global managers.

2. In the 35% of firms that do offer cross-cultural training, the training is not very rigorous and might include watching films, reading books, and talking with people who have lived in the country are the most common approaches in use. Few firms offer their global managers in depth, rigorous, ski1ls centered cross-cultural training.

Behavior focused training may also be a trap that many organizations fall into, leading to lower potential productivity because it works under the premise that there is one preferred method rather than taking vastly different approaches to get to an outcome. Using a form of outcome based organizational interaction would diversify the process and foster creativity.

Evaluation is an area that could produce a wealth of knowledge that is currently lacking. Through a clear understanding of the programs that exist, the field could grow enormously by having quantitative data to show the value of the training. Without this sort of proof, it will be difficult to convince the other 65% of businesses that this type of training is valuable to them.

While there is a need to document the value of what is already being trained, an even greater need is to develop new methods to meet the market demands. As individuals work increasingly globally, the need for training such as interactive web based becomes essential to adapt to the changing needs of the customer. It will allow for training to become easier to manage in terms of time, but the real challenge is to make the computerized training meaningful.

The field of cross-cultural leadership training is an area where the need has grown exponentially as the world economy continually becomes more interdependent. There is much research that needs to be done in the next few years to better understand what methodologies are most effective and create new environments for training. While many organizations have not reached the top of the learning curve in terms of this area, competition will force many of those organizations to seek new ways of making their human capital worldwide more effective. The challenge for leadership is to understand the differences across contexts and adjust accordingly. The world may globalize, but understanding differences is paramount regardless of how many people speak English. Communication occurs at a much deeper level than language and the individuals and organizations who understand that will have a clear advantage over those who remain closed minded.