Expatriate management often involves the use of cultural assimilation practices to help expatriates adjust to the new office environment that they find themselves in. Even if it is the same company, merely in a different country, the fact remains that these branch offices often function under a different business culture. Transferring one employee from their home culture, into an entirely different country can, at times, result in culture shock (Carrizales, Zahradnik & Silverio, 2016). Simply put, they have gotten used to the mannerisms and social proclivities of their home culture that they often find it difficult to adjust to an entirely new cultural environment. For example, if your new employee is from the U.S., and you are sending them to Nigeria, they would need to understand new norms in communication such as the use of honorifics (i.e. the common use of Aunty and Uncle when referring to older people in Nigeria), and methods of greeting. Each cultural practice differs significantly when compared to what they utilized with their U.S.-based counterparts. This shows that developing the cultural understanding of your employee is important to enable them to socialize and interact with the other employees in the location that you sent them.
Training Your Employee
To maximize the effectiveness of your employee, it would be necessary to give them a cultural assimilation class. The purpose of this course is simple; it is intended to give the employee a background on the differences between Nigerian and American culture and to help them adjust to the cultural norms present within the country they are sent to. It would involve aspects related to proper greetings, understanding social norms, and how people interact with one another (Subramaniam, 2015). This training is essential since it is necessary for your expatriated employee to properly communicate and collaborate with the other staff within the country. Depending on the language limitations present within that branch company, it may even be necessary to pay for language lessons to help the employee learn the dialect commonly used for communication within the enterprise premises. All of this is meant to ensure a smooth integration of the employee and to limit instances where there is a conflict due to cultural misunderstandings.
How do These Practices Differ From What they Would Normally Do?
The difference is connected to the ease with which the employee can integrate into their job role. For example, if an employee was transferred from one company branch to another, except within the same region or country, the period of adjustment
is relatively short (Ljubica, Dulčić, & Aust, 2016). The employee is already aware of the social norms and practices that are commonly implemented, so they do not need special training to integrate themselves into an environment they are used to. In cases where they are transferred to an entirely different culture, there is a significantly longer period of adjustment since there are fewer cultural aspects that the employee is used to.
Based on everything that has been presented, it can be stated that developing the cultural understanding of your employee is important to enable them to properly socialize and interact with the other employees in the location that you sent them. Failure to implement these practices can often result in the employee being unable to perform the tasks that you assigned them due to the barriers in culture and communication that are still present that they would need to contend with.
Carrizales, T., Zahradnik, A., & Silverio, M. (2016). Organizational advocacy of cultural competency initiatives: Lessons for public administration. Public Administration Quarterly, 40(1), 126-155.
Ljubica, J., Dulčić, Ž., & Aust, I. (2016). Linking individual and organizational cultural competences: One step closer to multicultural organizatioN. Management: Journal Of Contemporary Management Issues, 2151-82.
Subramaniam, M. (2015). Cultural Competence. TD: Talent Development, 69(9), 60.