Cross cultural training for Kenyan expartriate managers: A survey of practices among Kenyan manufacturing firms
Most organizations in today’ world strive for global representation, so as to remain relevant as the world becomes a global village. Kenya manufacturing concerns are no exception. Further more, it is a known fact that Kenya supplies sub-Saharan Africa with human resources more that any other country in the said region. With re-emergence of the East African community, Kenya is still advantaged in term of human resource development. However, to be done if Kenya’s human capital is going to remain useful in the ever changing business environment. Kenya is a multicultural society and as such the need for cross cultural awareness could easily be undermined especially whenever Kenyan’s are assigned responsibility a cross the boarders. The study sought to establish cross cultural preparations, if any, accorded to Kenyans who cross section survey was carried out to establish employee preparation as applied by Kenya Manufacturing concerns. To satisfy the research objective, data was collected from a sample of manufacturing firms in Nairobi using a structured questionnaire. From the research findings it is apparent that economic environment takes the lead over language and customs with regard to importance whenever a decision is made on cross boarder assignments. Employees are more often recalled than terminated whenever they are unable to cope with the new environment. Cross cultural training attracts very low attention within organizational systems and resources, yet it is evident that it greatly improves comfort and therefore performance whenever employees are on cross boarder assignment. Indeed cross cultural training is acknowledged as vital in bridging the challenges presented by inter personal contracts; such as further research should be conducted to ascertain how the different variables relating to cross cultural issues at the domestic and at the international level affect cross boarder assignments. The problem of inadequate cross cultural training for expatriate mangers with the manufacturing sector in Kenya is thus very acute. This problem derives largely from the weaknesses of the existing cross cultural training mechanisms within the manufacturing sector. It is also based on weak internal institutional systems, within the sector which have not helped expatriate managers respond to the challenges of working abroad. The overall increase in interest for cross cultural training services among managers of the sector has already been alluded to. Both those going for long term and short term assignments abroad, must be given special consideration. Few of them possess the necessary cross cultural skills that could translate into any meaningful on the job performance abroad. Neither do they have the necessary resources to facilitate the training of their family members accompanying them. Given that there is considerable demand for these trainings, and that much of this are not available within the internal human resource mechanism, it would clearly be expedient and economically realistic for management to institutionalize these training within the sector.