IAF Methods

Learnings from Working Cross Culturally

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This workshop was designed as a way of bringing together learning from working in a cross cultural situation.

This process could be used as a first workshop in a series with some minor modifications, or as a second follow up workshop.

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Additional info


To gain insights about the Cross-cultural learning we have had by working in another country

To become excited about what we have learned

To be aware of what we have not learned


You will be able to upload attachments once after you create the method.


  • The report from the first workshop if this is the second or none if it is the first.
  • Flipcharts, post its, markers, pens, pencils



Types of participants: People who have direct experience in working in the other country. Ideal  for a group freshly back from an overseas assignment.

Pre-Work Required: Make copies of the results of the first workshop for each participant

Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: The client needs to be open to changes in behaviour and the facilitator needs to assist in this process.

Facilitator personality fit: Some experience living outside their own culture is helpful.


Context setting

We want to spend the rest of the afternoon in a workshop determining the learning from our work in the country we have been working. (If applicable: I am passing out the results of this workshop.) What I hope to do is add to this and give it more depth. I think it would be good to give examples of the situations where we learned something. Take a few minutes to read through this list (if given).



1. Please take 10 minutes to write down 25 learnings from your work in the other country. These can be positive or negative. I would like these to be situational: that is "in such and such situation I learned ...."

2. Select the 3 most unique and put each on a Post-it.

Post and organize

3. We would like to organize these by situations i.e., when giving a presentation, when working with a counterpart, when talking with a Managing Director, etc. Please pass up your three post-its.

4. Organize by situations, avoid a general situation if possible.

5. Please pass up the next three most different.

6. Continue until all cards are up.


7. We want to divide into teams to write paragraphs. Each paragraph should include the kind of situation, what is appropriate in that situation and what is not appropriate. Please give examples of actual appropriate behaviour and inappropriate behaviour from the experience from this morning or from your own experience. You have 30 minutes.

8. We would like to have the paragraphs read out. Have each paragraph read. For each paragraph ask the following questions:

- What would you like to add?

- What would you like to keep the same?

- What would you like to change?

9. I would like to have an editorial team volunteer to write these up in a nice format and put in each persons mailbox. Ask for volunteers. Ask when they will have the material ready.

10. I would like you to take a sheet of paper and write down 3 practical ways you can improve your interaction with people in the other country. We will not collect these nor ask you to read them.


1. We should reflect on the day.

  • What were some of the events of the day?
  • What was helpful?
  • What was not helpful?
  • What did you learn today?
  • If we do this again what would you keep the same?
  • What would you change?

2. I am quite convinced that there is much to learn about working in cross-cultural situations. In one way this department, along with business development, is pioneering in developing the internationalization of the whole company.


Follow-Up Required: Collect the paragraphs from the editorial team and distribute them. A study might be done to further refine them.

Usual or Expected Outcomes: A set of paragraphs representing describing appropriate and inappropriate behaviour in the country being worked in.

Potential pitfalls: The group dislikes or disapproves of the other culture.

How success is evaluated: Good guidelines for effective behaviour are created and used.


Source: Maureen Jenkins

Derived from: The ICA's ToP workshop method

History of Development: This workshop was prepared for the training department of the Dutch Telephone company.

Recognizable components and reference: This application uses a standard ToP workshop method

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