The management of change has long been recognised to be a complex and challenging process. The literaturehas revealed few success stories and many examples of curriculum innovations being adopted half-heartedly or not at all. Set against the increasing world globalisation of which education is a part, the cultural aspects of innovations are being increasinglydiscussedin recent years. This paper focuses on the cultural dimensions of a major curriculum reform in Hong Kong, the Target-Oriented Curriculum (TOC) initiative. The main principles of TOC and its early implementation are discussed. A number of the main features of TOC are analysed with particular reference to their cultural appropriateness for the Hong Kong context. The thesis underlying the paper is that cultural issues need to be more carefully considered in the policy and adoption stages of the innovation process. In English Language teaching, itmay be necessary to reflect more deeply on the suitability of the export of Western-based learner-centred,communicative or task-basedapproaches to other milieux where such approaches may not be commensurate with the local cultural context. Copyright © 1999 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.