Post-arrival Training There is no defined time for when the various CCTDPcomponents should take place, however, as the expatriate will receive a lot ofinformation in advance of their assignment, training with less associated risk,such as interaction and attribution training, is arguably better to arrangepost-arrival.
Interaction Training Interaction Training provides expatriates with theopportunity to learn from the expatriate they will be replacing. This form oftraining has many benefits, including that the expatriate will receive guidanceand support from a like-minded individual, i.e. someone who has also come fromthe UK and has been through a similar experience relatively recently. Theoutgoing expatriate can not only provide insight into the ins and outs of therole, but can also provide insight into the local area and introduce the newexpatriate to other expatriates in the area. Harrison and Michailove (2011:632)notes how due to the restrictions on how men and women interact socially insome Middle Eastern countries, expatriates may seek out other expatriates tosocialise with. Hence if such introductions can be done earlier by the outgoingexpatriate, this may result in a quicker adjustment period.
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Although there are advantages to interaction training,organisations need to be careful about who they select for this training. If theoutgoing expatriate has not had a good experience while on their assignment,they are likely to share their view with the incoming expatriate thus providingthem with an initial negative perception. This could be detrimental to thesuccess of the incoming expatriate, particularly if they had any earlier doubtsabout the assignment. Additionally, as the outgoing expatriates are notexperienced trainers, they are less likely to be aware that in addition to developingthe incoming expatriate’s knowledge and skills, they must also support thedevelopment of the necessary attitudes. This is done through sharing theirunderstanding of why things are done a particular way, which in some cases theymay not be aware of themselves or they may be misinformed on. The organisation could also arrange for the expatriates to bementored by host country nationals. This can help the expatriates to develop adeeper understanding of the culture, build their confidence in interacting withhost country nationals, and further develop their language skills.
The hostcountry nationals would be a valuable resource to the expatriates as they can answerculture specific questions and can share insights which may help theexpatriates navigate their new environment. Ideally the mentorship from a hostcountry national would be in addition to the training from the outgoingexpatriate. This will help to ensure that the incoming expatriate experiencesthe benefits of both, and reduces the risk of being misinformed on culturespecific aspects of the host country. Cerimagic and Smith (2011:669) citing reportsby Caligiuri (2002) note that “greater interaction with host nationalspositively relates to cross-cultural adjustment”. If taking this approach,the organisation should consider providing training to the host countrynational also. Attribution Training Attribution training aims to develop the expatriates’ abilityto recognise the meaning of behaviours exhibited by people in the hostenvironment.
Furnham (1989:214) noted how “effective interculturalrelations require isomorphic attributions”, which are made whenexpatriates make sense of and interpret behaviours the same way host countrynationals would (Littrell et al, 2006:368). It would be beneficial for thistraining to take place after the expatriates have been on their assignment fora few weeks, by which time they might have personal experiences which they canreflect on and learn from during the training. In the Middle East, a high context society, a lot of”unspoken information is implicitly transferred during communication”(Maclachlan, 2010). UK expatriates need to be made aware of this so that they,for example, know to pay attention to non-verbal communication such as bodylanguage, eye contact, hand gestures, and facial expressions. Also, a lot of timeand effort is invested into building work-relationships in the Middle East.Maurer and Li (2006:36) note how such investments may include gifts, whichpeople from a low context society may “react badly” to receiving.This can be due to policies in place in home countries that prohibit managersfrom accepting gifts. Attribution training can help to avoid suchmisinterpretations, reduce the risk of any resulting conflict and henceincrease the expatriate’s likelihood of success.
The host mentors mentioned in the previous section could alsoplay a role in attribution training. As they will likely have experienceworking with many expatriates, they will be familiar with the mistakes andmisconceptions that expatriates are at risk of making when attributing meaningto behaviours. Hence, they can educate and support the expatriates in makingthe right attributions. Conclusion There are many key components to a CCTDP, each of which hasits own objectives, benefits and considerations. Organisations must provide a tailoredCCTDP to each expatriate assignment. This requires investment from theorganisation and hence it is important for them to realise the benefits of doingthe training and risks associated with not, as outlined above.
In this essay, generalisations were made, and countryspecific examples were referenced which do not apply to all countries in theMiddle East. Although we covered the key components of a CCT as identified byLittrell and Salas (2005), one component which stands out as being missing isrepatriation training. A more comprehensive CCTDP would include considerationof repatriation training which should aim to reduce the risk of the expatriateexperiencing reverse culture shock.