Does Culture Matter in Competence Management?: Transforming Barriers to Enablers

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Xlibris Corporation LLC, 2012 - Business & Economics - 74 pages
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This research has implications for both industrial and academic readers. The industrial readers will find interesting to see what and how cross-cultural organizations adopt the findings in their own competence development processes. Not all the factors identified in this research are critical influence since some has a direct influence whereas other has an indirect influence. It points out that there is a connection between an individual's motivation and the successful implementation of competence development programs.
This research brings attention to the importance of understanding cultural differences in learning situations. It is often the case that it is a dilemma for cross-cultural organizations to implement centrally designed programs in different local organizations. Cultural differences become a barrier if they are ignored and cultural diversity an enabler to enrich the contents of programs by learning from different participants bringing their cultures behind in their backs.
This research also illuminates how assumptions and use of words influence the understanding and acceptance of messages and contents by participants. It emphasizes the importance to have a common basic understanding of learning targets by giving explanations of certain terms critical in the introductory phase of competence development programs. It is even more important if the programs aim to change behaviors and attitudes after the programs compared with programs aiming at factual knowledge and information.
It is not always needed for local adjustments in running training programs. When the program is purely about the knowledge acquisitions like technical knowledge, the importance of local adaptation becomes less critical than training programs aiming at behavioral or attitudes changes. It is an absolute must for facilitators to learn about local cultures before they run any training programs.
Managing competence development programs in a cross-cultural organization becomes even more successful when there are driving forces coming from individuals who attend the programs. When individuals feel that they are drivers for competence development, the effect of development programs becomes greater and the energy level in learning room is high. In addition to that, when there is management engagement and interest, there is a boost in the energy of a learning place.
The maturity of an organization is of importance. When the organization is new and young, people are in the room of confusions and insecurity and they need more time to ventilate their feelings and thoughts. Even when there is a change in the organization, there are questions about those changes and there must be more time allocated for explanations and discussions so time management in programs runs smoothly.
Humbleness, taking responsibility and respect are parts of IKEA culture. People come from different cultures. When individuals are humble enough to respect other cultures and also individuals take responsibility to understand different cultures, there are better foundations for the successful competence development processes. Organizations with a mix of different cultures aim at learning as a community. Meaning can be simultaneously diverse and shared from individual to individual.

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