Title

Whose cultural value counts? : cultural adaptation for staff training of Cambodian NGO workers

Publication Date

1-1-2000

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Paul Ventura

Abstract

This paper explores the effectiveness of training practice for Cambodian NGO workers with regard to their cultural values and behaviors, based on my experiences of staff training with two aid organizations in Cambodia. The data for this study came mainly from two major areas: my observations of workers' behavior in the training projects, and interviews with expatriates in the country, supported by a literature review in the related field. The observation gave me concrete examples and cases of the participants' behavior in training, supported by the interviews, which brought to light the Cambodian's cultural characteristics in communication. These characteristics were remarkably different from that of Westerners, and suggested as an indirect and verbally inactive culture. In analysis, additional information on the cultural framework and educational system of Cambodia helped me understand why the workers were not actively involved in the training. I looked at myself as a trainer to discover what I had missed in the training projects in Cambodia. I learned that I tried to facilitate the training sessions in the same way that I did in the U.S., where different cultural behavior takes place in a verbally active culture. Finally, this paper directs readers to tips and recommendations such as a face-saving strategy, one of the useful techniques for training Asians who do not value being verbally active in the group, because of hierarchical power and the maintenance of harmony. At the end of this paper, further questions are raised for future training in Cambodia.

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