Non-English Speaking Countries: Adjusting to Cultural Differences

By Buon, Tony | The Journal of Employee Assistance, July 2006 | Go to article overview

Non-English Speaking Countries: Adjusting to Cultural Differences


Buon, Tony, The Journal of Employee Assistance


Managing poor performance may be one of the most unpleasant tasks of management and also one of the most difficult. Appropriate work performance intervention rests on the ability of supervisors to detect declining work performance, and there is great danger in assuming they are able or willing to fulfill this role.

A referral to an employee assistance program (EAP) is often described as the most appropriate method of preventing supervisors from inappropriately getting involved with an employee's personal problems. Unfortunately, most supervisors in non-English speaking countries know little about EAPs despite the fact that EAPs increasingly are being implemented in these locations, often by U.S.-based transnational corporations attempting to "harmonize" their human resources efforts. The reasons are twofold:

1) Supervisor training typically is offered by local EAP providers with little or no knowledge of the EAP Core Technology or is conducted by U.S.-based corporate trainers or EAP staff with a limited understanding of the local culture; and

2) Most EAP training material for supervisors is from North America and (occasionally) the United Kingdom or Australia and thus is written in English and describes settings and challenges common to these countries.

For example, I recently observed a situation in Kazakhstan (formerly part of the Soviet Union) where the local company doctor of a joint-venture oil and gas business had been instructed to conduct a one-day EAP training for supervisors. The training utilized materials written in English (though most of the supervisors in attendance spoke only Russian) and described problems that might arise at a worksite in a U.S. city but were unlikely to confront the local Kazakh and Russian workforce.

Similarly, a human resources manager in the Middle East told me recently he was bemused by the corporate EAP supervisory training video, which features material about the requirements for substance abuse professionals (SAPs) and depicts a supervisor dealing with a drunken employee. In this particular Middle Eastern country, alcohol possession or use is illegal and intoxication would certainly lead to dismissal, jail time, and possibly corporal punishment--not referral to the friendly EAP counselor!

COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY

Clearly, if you are going to be conducting EAP training in cultures that are different from your own, it is vital to learn as much about them as you can. Simply showing an interest in other cultures often helps break down barriers. A manager in Kuwait told me recently that he was impressed that his supervisory training program was not scheduled during Ramadan, something that is never done in Muslim cultures.

But the challenge of conducting EAP training for supervisors in non-English-speaking countries goes beyond what is taught and when it is taught to how it is taught. Good training depends on effective communication, and culture affects both the substance and style of communication. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Non-English Speaking Countries: Adjusting to Cultural Differences
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.