When we think ofglobalisation and its impact,the practices.Pierre Casse,in his book Training for the Cross-
images that spring to mind involve American Cultural Mind, develops this idea, describing training in fast-food outlets and European bottled water in another culture as a creative act. Casse presents a triumvi- Third World countries, placard-waving demonstrators rate model for managing training across cultures, based on chanting anti-globalisation slogans and greedy corporate three ways of learning (see box). Accordingly, for training to vultures out to make a quick buck in the ‘global village'.
be effective, both trainer and trainee must employ a syner- But thinking about globalisation with a development sec- gistic blend of three strategies-adapt, adopt and retain.
tor hat on, it is possible to concede that the process actual- These theories about culture play in important part in ly works to the benefit of international development man- shaping our practice as trainers. It is important for training agement. Developing countries usually share the same the- professionals to recognise that cross-cultural training pro- matic problems and issues even though specific socio-geo- grammes are fundamentally different from those conduct- graphic conditions may vary. Cite poverty, institutional ed in the trainer’s own cultural milieu.
development, water, sanitation, public health and educa- Culture influences training in many ways. Singh cites tion, and you could be talking about countries anywhere three levels at which this influence becomes prominent in from East Africa to South Asia or even Latin America.
In today’s world, development-oriented activities have Learning style. Social conditioning inculcates a partic-
also become globalised. For the development sector, glob- ular style of learning. In a culture where people are taught alisation opens up access to international knowledge and to view teachers as the ultimate source of knowledge, the expertise, as well as other resources.
role of the teacher revolves around imparting knowledge The international or global perspective on development management also affects the capacity development sector.
Values. Individuals belonging to different cultures will
As the focus shifts from local to international audiences, have different values and beliefs, and will therefore view training and development professionals in the non-profit training methods and techniques differently. For example, arena will increasingly be required to conduct cross-cultur- techniques such as participatory management or manage- al training. This begs the question, what steps should train- ment by objectives may differ in their acceptability from ers take to make their programmes culturally appropriate? Cognition. At the cognitive level, people from different
cultures conceptualise and think about management differ- A review of the literature reveals that culture has a signifi- ently. This is the most difficult of all three levels to cant influence on training programmes. G. H. Hofstede, a address, since these concepts are deeply ingrained.
prominent name in cultural studies, defines culture as the Singh concludes that culture plays a critical role in “collective programming of the human mind that distin- management practices and, by extension, in training and guishes members of one human group from those of development. For training to be effective, the methods and another. Culture is a system of collectively held values.” concepts used must be adapted to suit local culture, with Heera Singh, in his article ‘Effects of Culture on Training', due regard to sub-cultures such as organisational culture.
argues that the concept of the universality of management ideas has been rendered redundant with the realisation that NGORC’S CROSS CULTURAL TRAINING EXPERIENCE culture has major implications on international management In early 2003 the NGO Resource Centre received a request from FOCUS Canada, an NGO working for the repatriation of Afghan refugees, to conduct a training pro- MANAGING TRAINING ACROSS CULTURES
gramme for its frontline managerial staff in Kabul.
Recognising the need to understand the training needs of the organisation, and keeping in mind the implications of initiating cross-cultural development management training interventions, NGORC conducted an exhaustive training need assessment exercise in the FOCUS Kabul office. The exercise began with detailed interviews of senior manage- ment, almost all of whom were expatriates and had been working with the Afghans for the last two years. The exer- A knows something that B does not. A will transfer her cise concluded with interviews of the prospective training knowledge to B, who is responsible for adapting it to the participants. In addition to formal interviews, informal dis- constraints of his environment (if necessary).
cussions at lunch and dinner were also held with both groups. These proved pivotal both in understanding the organisation’s specific needs and providing valuable insights into the cultural translations that would be needed in designing a successful training programme.
For example, the NGORC team learned that Afghan cultural norms prevented trainees from thinking in terms of assessing and expressing their training needs. This was a manifestation of the strict code of honour that Afghan culture embraces. On a cognitive level, the concept of This is a cooperative process. A and B know different having needs is equated with the concept of having short- things. They exchange their knowledge and build on this comings. Afghans perceived that expressing or admitting sharing. They learn from each other.
their need for training-and, thus, needs in general-would violate this code of honour. As a result, almost all partici- pants were either at a loss for words or replied in the neg- ative to questions asking for a self-assessment of training needs. Subsequently, during interviews with trainees, these questions were modified to avoid alluding to such a notion. Instead, questions were asked about difficult situa- tions that they faced at their workplace or workplace situa- tions that made them uncomfortable. This allowed the NGORC team to ascertain areas of management and (lack of) management skills that needed attention.
Another example is related to the values of trainees.
Through discussions and interviews with prospective Synergistic
trainees, it emerged that in the Afghan context seniority is equivalent to high status in society. Translated to a work- place situation, it is considered disrespectful for a younger A and B are innovative and create something which manager to expect an older subordinate to comply with allows them to cope with their situation in an original way.
orders. Once this aspect of Afghan culture was under- stood, the NGORC team was able to determine the need Learning from trainer-trainee interaction in the first to include the fundamentals of management and organisa- phase of the training was also incorporated into the sec- tional behaviour in their training exercises.
ond phase. This primarily involved simplifying the lan- The training need assessment exercise for FOCUS led guage of the programme and giving trainees more time to to the creation of a customised training programme. In the design process, a conscious effort was made to contextualise all training material to Afghanistan. The training itself was conducted in two phases. The first phase concentrated on Culture plays a crucial role in training. The onus is on the the fundamentals of management and the functions of trainer to recognise cultural influences and plan training managers. Using real-life examples of ongoing projects and programme accordingly. The NGORC’s experience in development work in Afghanistan, trainees were able to Kabul shows that cross-cultural training can be a reward- relate theoretical concepts to organisational examples from ing experience for both learners and trainers, as long as the their own country. Examples such as the Kabul Serena exercise is conducted with an eye to cross-cultural effec- Hotel (due to open soon in the heart of the city) and vari- ous projects run by Aga Khan Development Network in Afghanistan, as well as the hypothetical expansion of Muhammad-Khurram Butt is a Faculty Member of the Development Management
FOCUS itself into another developing country, not only Education programme at the NGO Resource Centre. He has four years of management facilitated trainees’ understanding but also allowed the train- and training experience in the non-profit sector as well as international exposure in cus- ing programme to be culture-specific.

Source: http://csrc.org.pk/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Pages-from-Journal-Dec2003_NoRestriction-5.pdf

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