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Expatriate Role Analysis
GaryM.Wederspahn,InterculturalBusinessSolutions
Boulder,Colorado,USA
Purpose
To help prospective expatriates visualize key interpersonal roles and relationships with
key host-country counterparts
To make them aware of the specific attitudes, knowledge, and skills required to manage
these cross-cultural relationships successfully
To enable them to establish individual learning objectives for acquiring appropriate
attitudes, knowledge, and skills
Alternatively, to help designers of cross-cultural training activities to assess the learning
needs of prospective expatriates
Targetaudience
Expatriates, frequent international business travelers, and others with important cross-border
business relationships; 2 – 10 participants is ideal
Time
90 to 120 minutes for the whole activity, roughly distributed as:
20 to 30 minutes for the introduction and reading of the handout
15 to 20 minutes for the demonstration of the exercise
30 to 45 minutes for individual participant work on the exercise
20 to 30 minutes for the brainstorm, summary, and wrap-up
Materials
Four sheets of flipchart paper per participant
Broad-tip felt markers
Masking tape, push pins, or other adhesive products
Handout 1, “Tanya’s Challenge,” including charts and diagrams, for each participant
Courtesy of Gulf Publishing Company. From Intercultural Services: A Worldwide Buyer’s Guide and Sourcebook
by Gary M. Wederspahn; © 2000, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston Texas, 800-231-6275. Intercultural Business
Solutions
50ActivitiesforAchievingCulturalCompetency
332
List of culture-specific learning resources for participants that will assist them in learning
more about the new place in which they will be working, and how they will work in this
new environment. These should be prepared in advance and can include in-company
resources and contacts as well as books, videos, or online resources that provide such
information
Procedure
1. Explain the purpose and objectives of the exercise. Describe and discuss how important it
is for expatriates to understand the implications of their cross-cultural roles and
relationships. Solicit a few examples from the participants.
2. Distribute Handout 1 and instruct the participants to read it and to study the charts and
diagrams. Ask them to picture their own key roles and responsibilities as expatriates.
3. After the participants have read the handout, ask for a volunteer with whom to conduct an
actual role analysis, as a demonstration of the technique for the group.
4. Conduct the exercise by interviewing the volunteer to obtain the information needed.
Explain the instructions for the exercise while demonstrating it. (See instructions below.)
5. Distribute the flipchart paper, pens, and other materials.
6. Instruct the participants to follow the instructions and the examples of the handout and the
demonstration, while doing their own individual exercises.
7. Circulate among the participants (with training assistants, if available) to answer questions
about the process.
8. When the participants have completed the exercise, brainstorm and record on a flipchart
the cross-cultural role requirements and learning needs they have discovered.
9. Summarize what has taken place, and wrap up by:
recommending items that the participants can use to fulfill their requirements (use the
learning resources list you prepared in advance for this);
encourage the participants to save their flipchart sheets and to update them as they
learn more about their roles and relationships in-country.
Instructionsfortheexercise
1. On the first sheet of paper, the participants draw a diagram consisting of a ring of four or
five circles, with one circle in the center. Remind them of the diagram used in the case of
Tanya and Filipe. They place their own names in the central circle and label each of the
other circles with the names of those cross-cultural counterparts most important to their
success. They indicate relationships with close counterparts by positioning those circles

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