South-Western - Management  
Culture Course: 'Awareness Training' Helps U.S. Workers Better Know Their Counterparts in India
Topic Global Management
Key Words India, culture, communication
News Story

Bidhan Chandra is an international business professor at Empire State College. He is also an Indian-born consultant who advises companies on doing business in India.

Mr. Chandra's day-long courses begin with a quiz to assess how much students know about India. Then he discusses aspects of India's religious and linguistic diversity and its differences with the U.S. Case studies of working situations put it all into context. Finally, he gives communication tips, including pointers on shaking hands, business protocol, and business attire in India.

As tension over the outsourcing of jobs to India mounts, people like Mr. Chandra are teaching understanding, and business is booming. Mr. Chandra also teaches an immersion program, in which he goes to India with executives as a kind of guide.

Mr. Chandra's clients say his teachings have helped minimize some common communication problems. He also teaches U.S. business culture to Indians.

Some companies prefer to handle cross-cultural training internally. When PeopleSoft opened an operation in India, it sent an executive team to India to get to know the operation.

Questions
1.

Cultural differences often create obstacles to doing business in other countries. How could Mr. Chandra's course help minimize problems?

2.

What are some other ways companies can prepare managers to work with foreign workers?

Source "Culture Course: 'Awareness Training' Helps U.S. Workers Better Know Their Counterparts in India," The Wall Street Journal, Eastern Ed., May 25, 2004, p. B1.
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