To build a framework for evaluating the individual cross-cultural manager
Use established research as a very broad ‘starting point’ structure only
Find out what is considered effective in managing across cultures
Utilise the perspectives of experienced expatriate managers and host country nationals who have worked with expatriate managers
Table 1 – Proposed performance element categories Performance Element Definition Main Research 1 Personality The relatively stable psychological and behavioural attributes that distinguish one person from another Van der Zee and Van Oudenhoven (2000, 2001) 2 Engagement / Experience The degree of interaction with host country nationals and length of service on international expatriate postings Jordan and Cartwright (1998), Caligiuri (2000) 3 Attitudes Complexes of beliefs and feelings that people have about specific ideas, situations or other people Ajzen and Fishbein (1980) 4 Knowledge/ Awareness - Awareness of information or understanding of particular information areas Early and Erez (1997) 5 Skills/ Competencies Behaviours that can be modified through training and experience Fish and Wood (1997), Jordan and Cartwright (1998) 6 Other Performance elements outside of the expatriates control that have an impact on cross-cultural management performance Mamman (1995), Kraimer, Wayne and Jaworski (2001)
The open-ended questions – ‘Describe the successful expatriate manager’ and ‘how can you tell if an expatriate manager is relating well to host country nationals?’
Participants were asked to nominate what aspects of personality, experience, attitudes, knowledge, skills and ‘other aspects’ (for non-category responses) were needed by expatriates to effectively manage across cultures
Importance of nominated element - 1- very unimportant, 2 – unimportant, 3 – important, 4 – very important, 5 – depends (please list conditions)
32% of sample over 5 years international experience
Table 3 (Extract) – Top Personality Aspect by Frequency and Importance Score Personality Aspect Frequency of Response Importance Rating Open-minded 100 359 Adaptability 74 268 Patience 54 206 Extroversion 42 151 Emotional Stability 26 96 Sense of humour 25 84 Conscientiousness 24 86
Table 3 (Extract) – Top Experience Aspects by Frequency and Importance Score Experience Aspect Frequency of Response Importance Rating Mixing Socially With Cultural Others 58 194 Working With People From Other Cultures 55 194 Relevant Work Experience 39 140 International Travel 36 121 Life Experience 30 104
Table 3 (Extract) – Top Attitude Aspects by Frequency and Importance Score Attitude Aspect Frequency of Response Importance Rating Manager Respects Locals and Their Culture 68 254 Caring and Kind Towards Locals 45 154 Fairness Towards Locals 33 115 Empathy Towards Locals 29 105 Tolerant Towards Differences 24 86 Willing to Mix With Locals 24 83 Interest in the Host Country 20 73
Table 3 (Extract) – Top Knowledge Aspects by Frequency and Importance Score Knowledge Aspect Frequency of Response Importance Rating Cultural Awareness 104 376 Knowledge of Local Business Environment 59 254 Manager Understands Locals and Their Motivations 54 193 Knowledge of Host Country Society 40 137 Education Relevant to the Managerial Role 39 137
Table 3 (Extract) – Top Skills by Frequency and Importance Score Skills Frequency of Response Importance Rating Language Skills 69 214 Communication Skills 55 203 Cross-Cultural Skills 51 184 Leadership Skills 40 150 Expertise in Their Work Area 38 131 Interpersonal Skills 36 126 Able to Adapt Management Practices Across Cultures 35 116
Table 3 (Extract) – Other Aspects by Frequency and Importance Score Aspect Frequency of Response Importance Rating Age 17 53 Family Support 12 43
Figure 3 - Mean frequency of responses for Attitudes by expatriates and subordinates.
Figure 4 - Mean frequency of responses for Knowledge and Skills by Australians and Non-Australians.
Figure 5 - Mean importance rating for Personality by Australians and Non-Australians.
Cross-Cultural Management Skills Open-minded Adaptability Patience Extroversion Respects locals & their culture Caring & kind towards locals Fairness towards locals Education relevant to the managerial role Host cultural awareness Local business environment Understands locals & their motivations Host country society Language skills Communication skills Cross-cultural skills Leadership skills Personality Attitudes to Cultural Other Knowledge of Cultural Other Overall Assessment of Cross-Cultural Management Performance H2 H4 H3 Engagement with Cultural Other Extent of international travel Extent of mixing socially with cultural others Extent of experience in working with cultural others H1 Cultural Toughness Company International Orientation H5 Figure 6 - A Model of Cross Cultural Management Performance Empathy towards locals Expertise in work area Interpersonal skills Relevant work experience Life experience
This results strongly supported the role of experience and engagement with cultural others in defining successful expatriate management performance.
This would extend the contact hypothesis (Caliguiri, 2000) to embrace the idea that the more positive social and work based experiences that the manager has with cultural others, the more positively their cross-cultural management performance is perceived.
Managerial attitudes emerge prominently when subordinates are asked to comment on performance variables.
The emphasis on the attitude variable ‘respects locals and their culture’, is culturally bound when translating to behaviour. This underlines the importance of utilising host country nationals in a performance evaluation of an expatriate’s cross-cultural management performance.
The aspects of ‘knowledge of the local business environment’ and ‘manager understands locals and their motivations’ indicate the importance of ‘on-the-job’ learning. On-site mentoring and in-service training support ‘on-the-job’ learning.
The identification of the manager ‘understands locals and their motivations’ is a variable that needs comment from host country nationals in order to be effectively evaluated.
A strong emphasis on both language and communication skills along with ‘mixing socially with cultural others’ highlights that the effective cross-cultural manager is an engaging, relational person who is regularly communicating with host country staff.
The strong emphasis on language skills stands in contrast to US expatriate research where the language factor usually receives less emphasis. This is possibly a ‘blind spot’ of US self-reported expatriate research, where the international business language of English is often assumed.
Family support was not nominated as an important performance factor by many respondents in the sample, and this is consistent with the findings of Kraimer, Wayne and Jaworski (2001) who found this factor was not strongly related to cross-cultural adjustment.
Contrasts with quantitative study of 338 international assignees asked about success factors, where family situation was nominated most frequently (Arthur & Bennett, 1995).
Task performance – effectiveness in meeting job objectives & technical competence (Kraimer, Wayne & Jaworski, 2001)
Contextual performance – effectiveness in performing international aspects of the job that go beyond task specific issues (Kraimer, Wayne & Jaworski, 2001)
Cross-Cultural Management Evaluation Model 1. Cultural Awareness CA 2. Open-Minded OM 3. Flexible/ Adaptable FL 4. Knowledge of Other Culture’s Business Environment OBE 5. Respect for Cultural Others and Their Culture RCO 6. Other Language Skills OLS 8. Cultural Toughness CT 9. Job Complexity JC 10. Company International Orientation CIO 11. Task Performance TP 12. Contextual Performance CP 7. Amount of Contact with Host Country Nationals CCO