Cross-Cultural Learning and Intercultural Competence

Cross-Cultural Learning and Intercultural Competence

Pi-Chi Han (University of Missouri-St. Louis, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1601-1.ch046
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Abstract

Globalization has increased the need to understand the nature of work-related adult learning and development across national boundaries. It is driving the demand for the workforce that possesses knowledge of other countries and cultures and affecting those who are responsible for developing international learning activities. The author of this chapter calls for adult education and Human Resource Development (HRD) professionals to learn how to apply adult learning theories in cross-cultural learning to help individuals with different cultural backgrounds. This would help these professionals acquire intercultural competence and become successful in international assignments.
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Background

Globalization has increased the need to understand the work-related adult education programs across national and cultural boundaries (Chang, 2004). Most importantly, it is crucial to understand how adult learners function and learn across cultural boundaries. The cross-cultural learning and experience of adult learners can occur in many forms. One of the most dominant cross-cultural learning and experiences comes from the expatriation experience, which is the work-related adult learning (Yamazaki & Kayes, 2004). Without formal training or education in the cross-cultural interactions, the notion of cross-cultural learning has become the key for the expatriates to obtain intercultural competencies (Yamazaki & Kayes, 2004). A growing research enhances the notion that successful expatriate adaptation and cross-cultural learning depend on how well an expatriate can learn from experience in the international assignments (Porter & Tansky, 1999). Many studies have applied and utilized adult learning theories such as experiential learning and transformative learning to be the research theoretical framework to investigate the work-related cross-cultural learning (Chang, 2004; Chang, 2007; Yamazaki & Kayes, 2004). Therefore, it is necessary for adult educators and HRD professionals to understand the nature of work-related adult learning programs in the intercultural settings and the need of developing intercultural competencies (Chang, 2004).

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