Coca-Cola Company’s Expatriate Pre-Departure Training

One of the biggest challenges expatriates faces while operating in another county is cultural barriers, which may be complicated by insufficient linguistic skills. Although the company’s ultimate goal is to promote a universal organizational culture, an assigned employee should acknowledge potential differences while communicating with local staff. Another issue is individual barriers to adjustment, which involves an ethnocentric attitude and cultural intelligence (Lai, 1, p. 246). An employee might be accompanied by their family, so they will also require a preparatory course. Furthermore, potential risks in such fields as one’s financial situation, health, mental state, and others should be addressed (Downling, 2, p. 182). An expatriate is also expected to train the local staff, so they should be taught for the role (Downling, 2, p. 182). The course is aimed at those assigned on a long-term basis, although some elements may be adopted for non-traditional transfers. Thus, the training areas that will address the needs will include cultural awareness and linguistic components, an adjustment one, a family course, a security briefing, and an experience-sharing part.

The cultural awareness training will address the most important aspects of the country’s culture. First of all, the focus will be on etiquette, including non-verbal communication and local customs, laws, and taboos. They will cover the desired and shunned behaviors, helping a person navigate the working environment and the host country. Then, the training will emphasize the specifics of the national character via case studies, which can be used to understand why local employees behave in a certain way. The last section will highlight holidays, religious practices, and other important aspects of the country’s culture, which should be considered while organizing the schedule and drafting long-term plans. Each component will have four classes, including one lecture, two practical lessons using role-playing, case studies, and culture assimilator training, and a final assessment (Downling, 2, p. 179). Consequently, an employee should be able to easily overcome cultural barriers.

The linguistic training is straightforward, and in some cases, can be omitted if the host country has English as its official language. However, local language skills can assist in negotiations and positively impact family adjustment (Downling, 2, p. 180). The focus should be on business communication, as it directly impacts one’s duty. Some degree of general fluency should also be reached, as language knowledge facilitates adaptation and performance (Downling, 2, p. 181). This component will tentatively include 30 classes with a native speaker, covering routine and corporate topics. An employee will study in a group to better simulate language situations, although an individual approach is also possible. Ultimately, they should be able to communicate in the working setting without many difficulties and interact with locals on a basic level.

The adjustment training will be focused on removing bias and improving one’s cultural intelligence. It will be a short component consisting of six classes, the last of which will include a final assessment. The course will be based on sensitivity training and include employees from the host country or long-distance communication. The main goal is to recognize one’s prejudices and misconceptions regarding another culture and its representatives.

Family training is important if an employee plans to relocate with their relatives. It should cover the foreign culture’s characteristics, lifestyle differences, and language acquisition (Webber, 3, p. 2). Expatriate failure is often associated with a spouse’s inability to adjust to a host country, so this component is crucial in ensuring a family’s adjustment (Webber, 3, p. 1). The course will be shorter than an employee’s and include 20 classes overall. Family members may also participate in those linguistic lessons devoted to routine topics. The course will conclude in a preliminary visit to the host country, where an employee will be able to demonstrate the acquired skills, and their relatives will undergo initial adjustment.

A security briefing is a small component that will inform an expatriate of potential risks and how to handle them. It will include five classes covering health, travel problems, emergencies, and other safety issues through lectures and critical incidents (Downling, 2, p. 182). The course will conclude in an assessment, which may be a test or an essay describing a problem situation. Consequently, an employee should be able to predict, analyze, and address potential risks.

The final component is an experience-sharing part where an expatriate will learn how to train the local staff. This training part will include six classes, which will use low-intensity extraction tools, such as international calls, videos, and presentations (Downling, 2, p. 182). They can be employed in two ways: to teach an employee and to help them relate the knowledge to others. Ultimately, they should be able to demonstrate the tool’s usage and prepared to share the duty-related experience.

The training program with all of its components will be useful for employees. It may lead to better cultural adaptation and greater job satisfaction, and the former also applies to their family (Downling, 2, p. 185). They will be significantly prepared to tackle most issues and focus on duties rather than various conflicts that occur due to one’s inability to adjust. An expatriate will not have to worry about their family members, who will also be equipped with sufficient knowledge and skills to navigate a new environment. Thus, the two-month training program (consisting of approximately 60 classes) will positively impact an employee’s s experience while working in another country that significantly differs from the native one.


Wen-Hsiang Lai. 2017. Barriers Expatriates Encounter During Cross-Cultural Interactions. p. 246. Web.

Peter J. Dowling. 2017. International Human Resource Management. p. 179, 180, 182, 185. Web.

Emma-Louise Webber. 2019. The Preparation, Training and Support Requirements of Expatriate Trailing Spouses. p. 1, 2.

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