A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO TEACHING CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION
Paul Kalfadellis Working Paper 34/05 May 2005
DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT WORKING PAPER SERIES ISSN 1327a??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 a?˜traina?? and a?˜educatea?? todaya??s students and tomorrowa??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
The training helps contribute to peoplea??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 peoplea??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 peoplea??s level of confidence in dealing with others of different cultural backgrounds (Milhouse, 1996).
EDUCATION AND TRAINING: WHATa??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;