The case under consideration investigates the situation in which Rick, an American corporate executive, experiences culture shock when he finds himself assigned to the company’s China branch. The problem is that Rick is unfamiliar with the country’s cultural norms and traditions. Thus, this case study aims to investigate how the initial culture shock could be mediated, referencing the concepts provided by Subba Rao (2009).
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First of all, it is essential to mention the definition of culture shock: it refers to “the frustration and confusion that result from being bombarded by uninterpretable cues” (Subba Rao, 2009, p. 201). Further, the author elaborates on the concept of the four-step “U-shaped” curve, which describes the general structure of adjustment to working in international circumstances (Subba Rao, 2009). It is argued that there for stages of the process of getting acquainted with new conditions of work: honeymoon stage, culture shock stage, adjustment stage, and mastery stage (Subba Rao, 2009). It is possible to notice that Rick had skipped the honeymoon stage as he felt frustrated and dissatisfied from the very beginning of his staying in China.
It is also essential to mention that the company could prevent Rick’s initial culture shock by improving his self-efficacy and relational skills through preliminary training before sending him to China. These training activities could possibly include the following: stress reduction, reinforcement substitution, and willingness to communicate (Subba Rao, 2009). If Rick had these skills trained before his assignment, he could handle his culture shock easier, and thus better adapt to new working environments.
Subba Rao, P. (2009). International business environment. Mumbai, India: Global Media.