Learning requires acquiring and using knowledge. How do individuals acquire knowledge of another culture? How do they use this knowledge in order to operate proficiently in a new cultural setting? What kinds of training would foster intercultural learning? These questions have been addressed in many literatures of applied and basic research, featuring disparate concepts, methods and measures. In this paper, we review the insights from these different literatures. We note parallels among findings of survey research on immigrants, expatriate managers, and exchange students. We also draw on experiment-based research on learning to propose the cognitive processes involved in intercultural learning. In the first section, we focus on acquiring cultural knowledge, reviewing longstanding literatures on immigrant acculturation and expatriate adjustment investigating antecedents of intercultural adjustment and performance. In the second section, we focus on displaying proficiency, examining how newcomers to a cultural setting deploy their knowledge of it in order to adjust their behavior and judgments. We draw upon findings about individual differences and situational conditions that predict performance to suggest training for optimal use of cultural knowledge by adapting behaviors and judgments according to situational factors.

Michael Morris, Shira Mor, and J. Cho
Journal Article
Publication Date
Research in Organizational Behavior

Full Citation

Morris, Michael, Shira Mor, and J. Cho
. “When in Rome: Intercultural learning and implications for training.”
Research in Organizational Behavior
, (January 01, 2014):