Cultural adaptation – steps and challenges

Cultural adaptation – steps and challenges

Cultural adaptation – steps and challenges Adapting to a new country and a new culture is no easy task. Unless you parents are ambassadors – and you grew up accustomed to moving – living in a different place, which includes working, socializing, etc, demands patience and persistence. According to the Global Mobility Effectiveness Survey, the worldwide rate of unsuccessful expatriation is very high. About 55% of expatriates return to their country of origin ahead of schedule. That means business losses and a lot of headaches for the HR manager. According to the survey, the greatest difficulties faced by the expatriate are issues related to personal and family adaptation (47%). Cultural shock is already perceived as an occupational hazard and is known to reduce productivity and dry up the creativity of even the most experienced executives. That is why it is so important to have good support in the adaptation period. In this period full of challenges, we break the barrier of a new language, understand the social codes of the new culture, and often the internal (tacit or explicit) codes of the company for which we work. Even international companies with a well-standardized policy have particularities that vary according to the culture of each country. In addition to cultural, behavioral and language barriers, there are practical difficulties, such as identifying and creating a home away from home through the daily routines that life demands. According to the anthropologist Kalberg Oberg, the curve of cultural adaptation happens in three stages: First stage: appropriately called “Honeymoon”, the expatriate lives a moment of euphoria and excitement. This phase is relatively short, about...