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Keywords:

  • Conflicting expectations;
  • double binds;
  • training implications

Abstract

This paper presents a literature review on the concept of international cross-cultural mixed messages. Although there is limited literature on this topic, the review suggests that messages from one's home culture and a second culture can result in conflicting expectations for one's own behavior and for the behavior of others. Double bind theory is utilized as a theoretical framework. Application of double bind theory to the issue of international cross-cultural mixed messages suggests potential strategies for addressing such situations. Areas for further research on international cross-cultural mixed messages are presented, including qualitative examination of the experience of such mixed messages and quantitative research into the prevalence and significance of these situations. Implications for human resource development practice are suggested in the areas of informal conversations and formal training with future expatriates, host country employees who will work with expatriates, and employees who work in culturally diverse organizations and business environments.