Cross-cultural training, which is popularly known as CCT and which has long been endorsed by the researchers as the solution to relational skills of the employees under cross-cultural context (Black and Mendenhall, 1990), as the studies on the impact of CCT has clearly showed that it creates a long-term competitive advantage for the organizations (Huselid, 1995). The first book on cross-cultural training, Cross-Cultural Orientation Programs made its way to stands in the mid 70s (Brislin & Pedersen, 1976) and since then it earned the status of orientation programme (Bhawuk, 1990; Brislin & Yoshida, 1994; Paige, 1986).
Though initially such programmes were intended to equip people who would serve on a foreign soil to avoid “culture shock” (Oberg, 1954, Hall, 1959) gradually the necessity of acquiring cultural competency in dealing with foreign people on one’s own soil extended the nature of cross-cultural competency training (Bhawuk ; Triandis, 1996; Brislin ; Horvath, 1997). Thereafter the training methods were further refined when Harrison and Hopkins (1967) discovered the efficacy of experiential method over the dry lecture sessions.
According to the researchers, one of the basic reasons of the efficacy of CCT lies in the fact that it sharpens the necessary employee skills under cross-cultural ambience and prepares them to positively respond to any situation and with alacrity and presence of mind, which in turn garner the confidence of the visitors and eventually benefits the organization (Ferraro, 2006). There are many models of CCT, and the favourite model of the researchers is the one that highlights the distinctive differences between cultures (Shay and Tracey, 1997).
This model is known as Critical Incident Training (CIT), which employs short vignettes that depict the outcome of service encounters between employees and the customers Bejou et al. , 1994). This has a lineage with the findings of the psychologists from the University of Illinois (Traindis, 1995; Flanagan, 1954), who introduced culture assimilator, i. e. , real-life vignettes as teaching tools, which evolved through a heavy amount of research (Chemers, 1969; Fiedler et al. , 1971; Gudykunst ; Hammer, 1983; Landis ; Miller, 1973; Malpass ; Slancik, 1977; O’Brien et al. , 1970).
Accordingly, CIT explores cultural nuances of various regions, which usually feature in those vignettes. Alongside the learners also garner knowledge about various issues that are embedded with hospitality service, such as punctuality, sense of the usage of time and space in various cultures, significance of collectivism or individualism, ways to recognize and respect hierarchy and so on. Knowledge in these areas also helps the learners to perceive the reasons behind each do’s and don’ts associated with cross-cultural interaction and imbibes the significance of harnessing cultural competency in them.
It is for reasons like these Shizoo et al (2005) observed that CCT proves invaluable to empower the employees for effectively handling cross-cultural situations. Studies showed that CCT with CIT becomes more effective if the vignettes used belong to the same industry, because that raises the chance of facing similar business encounters (Glaser, 1984). The researchers prefer CIT for at least six reasons like below: It is applicable to various industries; It is one of the simplest approach to anatomical dissection of a set situation;
It is capable of explaining complex situation in small vignettes; Containing industry-specific content, it helps the learners to resolve similar situations quickly and effectively’ It encourages the learners to exploit their analytical abilities and their communication skills; It helps the learners to perceive the difference between objective and subjective considerations of culture and accordingly develop sensitivity on the later to eliminate chances of cross-cultural conflict with the foreign clients.